- History & Culture
Why Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the Jewish year
This day of atonement marks the end of the Jewish high holy days—and offers a chance for people to change their fate through prayer, repentance, and charity.
From guilt to mourning and self-abnegation to resolve, Yom Kippur is the emotional climax of the Jewish faith’s high holy days—a holiday period that kicks off with Rosh Hashanah, the observance of the Jewish New Year.
The holiest day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur means “day of atonement.” It takes place on the tenth day of Tishri, the first month of the civil year and the seventh month of the religious year in the lunisolar Hebrew calendar. This year, Yom Kippur will be celebrated on 10 Tishri, 5783—October 4 and 5, 2022, on the Gregorian calendar.
Tradition has it that the holiday originated with the prophet Moses. After God gave Moses the Ten Commandments atop Mount Sinai,