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[[Image:Gottlieb-Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur.jpg|right|thumb|''Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur'' (1878), by [[Maurycy Gottlieb]], depicts Ashkenazi Jews of late 19th-century Eastern Europe.]]
'''Yom Kippur''' is the most solemn holy day in [[Judaism]]. It is a day of [[atonement]] (prayer, repentance and fasting) observed in some way by nearly all Jewish people. Observant Jews refrain completely from all food and drink on Yom Kippur. Most of the day is spent in the [[synagogue]].
:"Before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, there was an elaborate ceremony of confession and repentance led by the high priest and including the sacrifice of a goat, the scapegoat." (Leviticus 16.)
Just prior to the beginning of services on the eve of Yom Kippur, the congregation recites [[Kol Nidre]], or "all vows". This [[Aramaic]] prayer is an appeal to God to forgive vows unfulfilled that do not affect any other person. Vows affected include only those made to oneself, or between oneself and [[God]]. [[Anti-semites]] have tried to use the prayer to malign [[Jews]] as untrustworthy.
''Honest self-examination, communication with one's Maker, commitment to become a better person — all these are encouraged throughout the year in various religious systems, but there is one day on the Jewish calendar that is tailor-made for such activities: Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement... Yom Kippur is celebrated on the tenth day of Tishri, i.e., ten days after [[Rosh Hashana]], the Jewish new year.'' <ref> [http://www.answers.com/Yom%20Kippur Yom Kippur]
</ref> The holiday is instituted at [[Leviticus]] 23:26 et seq.
[[Image:Yom Kippur by Isidor Kaufman.jpg|thumb|left|Yom Kippur by Isidor Kaufman.]]