Friday, November 23, 2007

Iom Kipur in Israel, one of the Holiest Days for Jewish

By Sabrina Lenoir (Argentina)

Imagine that a bomb drops… and all of a sudden all motor vehicles stop working…cars, buses, motorcycles….all of them remain parked and people start owning the streets, by foot or on bikes…the sound of horns, traffic is transformed into tons of people in the street, avenues and even highways…although stoplights continue to work ignoring that today is a special day, they no longer have any meaning. It does matter what way traffic is supposed to travel, no policeman is going to write a fine for walking on the wrong side of the street; no matter how old you are, everyone is free to walk around and enjoy the show… that was Iom Kipur for me.

Yet, it is clear that not everyone lives the celebration the same way….

Iom Kipur is one of the holiest days for the Jewish religion. It marks the times for penance that begins in Rosh Hashana and continues for ten days until the last day: Iom Kipur.

It is a day to ask for forgiveness and atonement from sins between humans and God, humans and humans. During Rosh Hashana human beings are judged for their acts, and the final verdict is given at Iom Kipur.

The most religious people abstain themselves from basic needs: they cannot eat, or drink, they cannot wash, cannot use leather shoes (that’s why people walk using shoes made of cloth), cannot have sexual relations, and people must remove themselves from their daily routine to have strength to get purified at the end of the day and receive atonement from the sins incurred throughout the year, so they can return to God.

My experience began the previous day, Thursday…

One of my friend’s sisters invited me to Jerusalem, where people go to the Wailing Wall between 11p.m. and 6 a.m. to pray and ask God for forgiveness…

Since traffic is chaotic, we decided to walk for about an hour to reach the Wailing Wall, where half of Israel awaited for us…people, people and more people crammed together as I had never seen before around this place… very intense and very interesting.

The next day, families get together for a big lunch before they begin to fast at around 6 p.m. and those less religious are lucky to be able to go out in the street, ride their bikes and go around the car-less city… fasting lasts until about 6 p.m. of the following day.

All the pictures I took of Iom Kipur were taken at night, consequently, it was hard to capture the atmosphere and avoid the flash. Enjoy!

No comments: