JERUSALEM (AP) – Israel has ground almost to a halt for Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest day of the year.
Yom Kippur is Judaism’s day of atonement, when devout Jews ask God to forgive them for their transgressions. They refrain from eating and drinking and attend intense prayer services in synagogues. The day caps a traditional 10-day period of soul-searching that began with the holiday of Rosh Hashana, the start of the Jewish new year.
The country has completely closed its airspace to airplanes, shut down its buses and trains, and locked its border crossings for the holy day, which began Tuesday at sundown and ends this evening.
This year, the day of introspection comes amid heightened speculation that an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities could be near.
Israeli Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar told Israel Radio that Israelis should pray this Yom Kippur that Israel’s enemies be kept at bay.