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Jews Around The World Celebrate Yom Kippur

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Tuesday night, observant Jews around the world attended Kol Nidrei, the evening service which marked the start of Yom Kippur.  Yom Kippur, the holiest of Jewish holidays, is the Day of Atonement.

Yom Kippur is the last of the 10-day period when Jews pray that they will be written into the Book of Life for another year. They also ask for forgiveness from family and friends. 

Yom Kippur is a solemn holiday, unlike Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year which was 10 days ago. For Yom Kippur, Jews who are able, fast from sundown to sundown.   This evening they will have a Break Fast, a dairy meal. They'll feast on bagels, cream cheese and lox, smoked fish, deviled eggs, cheeses, black bottoms and other desserts. 

The most important mitzvot, or commandment, a Jew must fulfill is to hear the shofar, or ram's horn, blowing on the holiday. It signifies that Jews are now freed from their sins.  It’s also is a symbol of the ascent of God. 

A core Jewish belief is that one must ask questions, so the holiday means different things to different people and families have their own customs. 

Throughout more than 5,000 years of asking questions, more than 100 branches and sects of Judaism have arisen. Each has its own variation of beliefs and traditions and this holds true on Yom Kippur as well.