Majority of Israelis to Fast On Yom Kippur


daveningA little before 5 P.M. today silence will fall on Israel, as the Yom Kippur fast begins. Air traffic to and from Israel will halt from 1 P.M. today to 9:30 P.M. tomorrow and the border crossings to Jordan and Gaza will close down. The weather forecast bodes well for fasters, with comfortable temperatures.

Public opinion surveys over the past few years show most Jews in Israel observe Yom Kippur. A survey conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics in 2009 found 26 percent of Israeli Jews who describe themselves as “secular” or “not religious” fast on Yom Kippur and 24 percent of them have attended prayers at a synagogue.

A number of organizations will be holding mass prayers, intended for people who do not frequent synagogues on a regular basis, as part of a custom developed in the past years.

The Tzohar Rabbis’ organization is expecting about 40,000 worshippers to attend some 200 prayer sessions the group is organizing together with the Association of Community Centers for people who do not pray regularly.

The organization will also hold gatherings of religious and secular people in Petah Tikva, Bat Yam, Zichron Yaakov, Ra’anana and Haifa.

United Hatzalah of Israel, an independent non-profit fully volunteer Emergency Medical Services (EMS ) Organization, has asked shul managers to make sure a telephone is handy in case of emergency and that a rescue personnel member is close by or among the mispalelim.

Israel’s airspace will close to traffic at 1 P.M. today. Yom Kippur is the only day of the year in which air traffic to and from Israel halts completely. Ben Gurion Airport will reopen for international flights’ landings tomorrow at 9:30 P.M. and take offs at 10:30 P.M.

Some 21,900 people were expected to pass through Ben Gurion Airport by midday yesterday, the Airport Authority said. Today  only 2,830 passengers will pass through the airport on 17 flights.

The weather today and tomorrow is expected to be pleasant. This morning it may even rain lightly in the northern and central regions. Tomorrow will be slightly warmer but not more humid, so the heat stress will not rise – good news for fasters.

The weather will change on Sunday as hot air comes in from Saudi Arabia, raising the temperatures perceptibly. Sunday and Monday will be warmer than usual for the season but on Monday afternoon cold air will enter the region from Italy. Temperatures will plunge by 4-7 degrees and it may rain.

{Haaretz with Yair Israel}


  1. A totally amazing and spiritual high. Not a car, bus, train, store, music to be seen or heard. Everyone is dressed for the chag and slowly nearing their special places of tefilla.

    A beautiful silence in the air and swarms of white heading towards shuls in the city. Serenity and spirituality.