Yom Kippur–The Day of Atonement. Today is the culmination of the 10 Days of Awe stretching between Rosh Hashanah and the beginning of Sukkot. Today is the day that Jews believe their name is written in the Book of Life for the coming year.
Last night at sunset began the fast which will last until sunset tonight. In Leviticus 16 it says “And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country or a stranger who sojourneth among you.”
Because of this verse, there are certain prohibitions that are commanded. Today is a fast day, and you are also prohibited from “anointing” yourself–so no lotions or perfumes. One is only allowed to wash to remove dirt–not for “pleasure,” and you cannot wear leather.
Interesting fact/word: Kapparot
This is a practice in which roosters are thought to be used as a susbstitute for the sin of the individual. A rooster or hen is swung over the head before being killed. Here is an interesting video and article about the practice.