Yom Kippur 2012 Begins at Sundown, Tuesday September 25
Yom Kippur Begins on September 25
Yom Kippur begins at sundown on September 25, 2012. At this point, the fast begins for observant Jews, lasting until sundown on September 26. Yom Kippur is the Jewish Day of Atonement, after which the book of life is closed for the year. So, if you've hurt anyone this year and have not yet apologized or made it right, now's the time.
For the less observant, this is probably one of the only holidays you observe throughout the year: the Kol Nidre service begins the observance of Yom Kippur.
The history of Yom Kippur says that God seals a person's fate on Yom Kippur. So, the day becomes the last day to try to amend one's fate. It is common to seek forgiveness and confess sins publicly during the day (a special ritual called Vidui is dedicated to that).
On the eve before Yom Kippur, a traditional dinner is shared, followed by a visit to the synagogue for prayer. The next day, more prayer is said and fasting commences. The usual Yom Kippur greeting during the fast is "G'mar Chatimah Tovah." Many ask what time Yom Kippur ends -- Yom Kippur ends with recitation of Shema Yisrael and the blowing of a traditional horn called shofar. The ceremony this year ends at nightfall on Monday, September 28.
In 2010, Yom Kippur will take place September 25-26.
You can learn more about Yom Kippur at the Jewish Virtual Library; the observance has changed quite a bit over the centuries.