The awe-inspiring silence on the streets of Israel before Yom Kippur

by Leah Rosenberg

There is something so unbelievably unique about the way that Jewish people all over the world value Yom Kippur. And it is especially apparent in Israel.

Jews in Israel

Jewish people live all over the world. Some are connected to their religion, and sadly, some are less connected.

But in Israel, it is hard not to have a strong connection to religion. Every step a Jew takes in Israel is filled with rich history and culture. It is nearly impossible to avoid Judaism. Israel is a Jewish country – life is often times infused with Judaism. Streets even reflect the Jewish connection with names of great Rabbis, biblical figures, and more. And that is something so unique.

Yom Kippur in Israel

There are definitely many non-religious Jews in Israel. Some do not celebrate any holidays. Some celebrate few holidays. But the vast majority observe some part of the Yom Kippur holiday. Jews in Israel feel the seriousness of the day. The yearning for God and asking for life from the Creator of the world is almost obvious – even for those who usually have little to do with their religion.

And that is why you can feel the silence in the streets of Israel leading up to the start of the 25 hour Jewish holiday. Yes, there is fasting. Yes, there are different laws that a Jew must abide by on the day. But there is something so beautiful about taking the time to connect with God. The prayers on Yom Kippur are unique. Somehow, non-religious Jews understand that. It is so special to see how many connect to such an important day.

So, if you walk the streets of Israel right before sunset on the eve of Yom Kipper, you will hear nothing. And that silence is truly golden.


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