Jews observe day of atonement, fasting

With Tuesday’s setting sun came the fasting holiday of Yom Kippur, the second of two important Jewish holidays in September.
A day of atonement and reflection, Yom Kippur continues the themes of introspection and repentance begun by the observance of the Sept. 20 Rosh Hashanah holiday.
For more than 24 hours, Jews refrain from any eating or drinking; only the elders, the sick or the very young are exempt from the fast. The holiday concludes at sundown tonight with a break-fast, in which a large meal is consumed to signify the completion of the fast.
Hebrew professor Jonathan Paradise said the fast encourages Jewish people not only to reflect on their wrongdoings, but to resolve to change their ways.
“The purpose of fasting is for each person to be in a state of deprivation to encourage a sense of remorse preceding an act of repentance,” Paradise said.
Jewish student Kevin Oskow has observed the holiday fast since his bar mitzvah at age 13. He said while the fasting is not easy, the spare time gives him the opportunity to think about his deeds and search for ways to better his life.
Oskow, a General College freshman, said despite temptation, he has never cheated on his fast.
“It’s good self-discipline,” Oskow said.
For Renata Batuner, Yom Kippur celebrations typically include time with family. This year, Batuner will not be with her family, but she still plans to observe the holiday’s rituals, including the fast.
While familial togetherness is important to her, Batuner said one particular aspect of the holiday interests her most.
“The best part of Yom Kippur is the break-fast,” said Batuner, a junior in the College of Liberal Arts.
Hillel, the Jewish Student Center, will host a morning worship service and a break-fast celebration at sundown tonight.
— Stacy Jo Enge