Yom Kippur, the conclusion of the Jewish high holy days that began with Rosh Hashanah this month, begins at sundown Sept. 15, 2021.
Meaning "day of atonement," it is often considered the holiest day of the year in Judaism, and the day is dedicated to atonement and abstinence.
Observance of Yom Kippur includes fasting from before sundown until after sunset, and the lighting of a Yahrzeit memorial candle at sundown on the night of Yom Kippur.
For those observing the holiday, no work is permitted from just before sunset on Sept. 15 through just after sunset on Sept. 16. This represents a fast with no food and no water. The University Senate Cultural Diversity Committee advises faculty and supervisors that students and employees who observe the holiday may need to leave early in order to prepare for the fast.
Instead of the typical three prayer services, Yom Kippur observes five. The number five is significant due to its correlation to the word soul, which appears five times in the Yom Kippur section of the Torah and has five separate names in Jewish tradition (soul, wind, spirit, living one, and unique one).
During the holiday, observers will abstain from food, drink, washing, applying lotions or creams, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. This is in remembrance of the day Moses came down from Mount Sinai after asking G-d to forgive the people of Israel—who’d left Egypt and sinned by worshipping a golden calf. Modern day abstaining is meant to collectively cleanse and forgive through “affliction”—the body will be uncomfortable, and therefore the soul, which will simulate the pain of others.
For a guide to Jewish holidays for the 2021-22 Academic Year, visit https://dei.gsu.edu/document/jewish-holidays-2021-22/ in the DEI website Resource Library. Further information about religious observances and policies is available at https://dei.gsu.edu/religious-observances/.
Sources: Chabad.org; University of Missouri Inclusion & Diversity; Georgia State University Senate Cultural Diversity Committee