Yom Kippur Festival Will Be Celebrated With Vibrancy In UAE This Year

by Ishita Agarwal
Yom Kippur Festival Will Be Celebrated With Vibrancy In UAE This Year

The Jewish community in the United Arab Emirates celebrates the most solemn festival, Yom Kippur (Hebrew: Yom Ha-Kippurim). It commemorates the completion of the 10 Days of Awe, a time of reflection and repentance that follows Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It occurs in the month of Tishrei (September or October in the Gregorian calendar). Let’s find out how this festival is being celebrated in the UAE. 

The Significance Of Yom Kippur Festival In The Bible 

According to the Bible, the Jewish people are God’s chosen people 40 days after receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai. However, they had engaged in the sin of idolatry by praying to a golden calf during those 40 days. Yom Kippur recalls the day God pardoned the Jews for their golden calf trespass. On the tenth day of Tishrei, when Moses pleaded with God to spare them, God pardoned them.

Tradition is so that on the day of atonement, people sent a male goat into the desert bearing the sins of the Jewish people. The practice gave birth to the English word “scapegoat,” which now refers to someone who accepts responsibility for something when they are innocent or wrongfully held responsible.

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The Fasting And Repentance During The Festival 

Jews fast for 25 hours during Yom Kippur, from the night before till sundown. Additionally, Yom Kippur is the only day of fasting that is entirely observed on the Sabbath, a day on which fasting is often prohibited.

The aim is to elevate spiritual matters above earthly concerns. Other restrictions could apply to things like washing, having sex, wearing cosmetics, and other luxuries. Jews who practice strict observance also avoid wearing anything made of leather, instead, they dress in white. 

After the ceremony to signal the end of the holiday the shofar, a ram’s horn blasts. Then, families get together for breakfast, a leisurely meal that is well-appreciated. 

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How UAE Is Celebrating Yom Kippur Festival? 

Three minyanim are there during Yom Kippur by Chabad-Lubavitch, which has had a presence in the UAE since 2014. These locations include the Sheraton and Address Hotels in Dubai as well as the capital of Abu Dhabi. When it came time for Kol Nidrei, Chabad organised an auction to choose who would handle the Torah. A gift to Chabad of the UAE was made with a winning bid of $500.

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We hope the Jews come together and observe Yom Kippur with their family and friends. 

Cover Image Courtesy: Twitter/Rabbi Levi Duchman