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Culture Faith

A Crash Course in Yom Kippur…for my Gentile Buddies

Jeff Dunetz
Written by Jeff Dunetz

To My Friends in the Gentile community (we call you Goyim, which is not derogatory – it means ‘nations’), I’m sure you have heard of Yom Kippur. The below tries to explain the holiday to you in a way you might enjoy…at least it won’t be too Jewish.
Tuesday night (10/11/16) at sundown begins the holy fast day of Yom Kippur, it is one of only two 25-hour fasts on the Jewish calendar (the other is Tisha B’av).

Yom Kippur is thought of as a “happy fast.” Jews give up food or drink, sex, and some other things (but let’s face it, after those two, who really cares). While the media stories of the holiday call it the day of atonement, that is not the reason for the fast.. we’re not fasting for atonement. We’re denying ourselves ice cream and connubial relations as some sort of sacrifice to God. The Rabbis say we are fasting, because we are concentrating so hard on getting as close as possible to the Lord that we don’t have time for the other stuff. That’s why it is a happy fast, because there is no greater joy than getting closer to God.

If you happen to see one of your Jewish friends walking to shul (synagogue) on Yom Kippur there is no need to hide. Thankfully the caffeine withdrawal headaches we get on Yom Kippur are not contagious.

Should you want to know what to say to your Jewish friends, allow me to suggest that you avoid, “hey…

Read the rest of the story at Jeff Dunetz’s blog The Lid

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

About the author

Jeff Dunetz

Jeff Dunetz

Jeff is a Journalist, Blogger and one of the rare Jewish conservatives in a sea of north east liberal Jews (Thanksgiving dinner is a real pip). Jeff was honored with the 2014 Not For Profit Blogger of the Year award by the National Blogger's Club, is editor/publisher of The Lid (, contributing reporter at and Political Columnist for the newspaper, The Jewish Star.

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