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Jewish Holiday Yom Kippur Begins at Sundown on Friday

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year in Judaism.

Congregant blows a shofar. Courtesy Congregation Beth Israel San Diego.
Congregant blows a shofar. Courtesy Congregation Beth Israel San Diego.

The Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur begins at sundown on Friday with the traditional Kol Nidre service at local congregations.

Yom Kippur means "Day of Atonement" and refers to the annual observance of fasting, prayer and repentance. It marks the end of the annual high holy days period beginning with Rosh Hashanah.


Kol Nidre is the name of the opening prayer. In many congregations, the prayer is accompanied by performance of a plaintive melody, often played on a cello.

Yom Kippur ends with a single, long blast of the shofar, an ancient musical instrument made from a ram's horn.

Many Jews fast over the 24-hour period of Yom Kippur and then attend a celebratory feast.

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