Observing Yom Kippur

By Lyn Bowker, Equality and Diversity Manager


At Riverside, we actively encourage the celebration of different faiths and welcome the diversity that comes from working with people of different religions.

Our BME staff group is currently working on an action plan for the coming months and will focus on many of the different religious festivals that take place throughout the year.

Today, our Jewish colleagues and customers will observe the holy day of Yom Kippur, starting at sunset tonight and ending at nightfall tomorrow.

‘Yom’ means ‘day’ in Hebrew and ‘Kippur’ comes from a root that means ‘to atone’ so Yom Kippur is known as The Day of Atonement.

Yom Kippur is the most sacred and solemn day in the Jewish calendar. It is a day to reflect on the past year and ask God’s forgiveness for any sins you have committed.

Yom Kippur is marked by Jewish people with a 25 hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, spending most of the day in synagogue services. White is often worn, as a symbol of purity.  

Even Jews who are not particularly religious usually attend synagogue on Yom Kippur. The event is unique, in that it has five services and the day is spent in continuous prayer for forgiveness. The sound of the shofar (ram’s horn) marks the end of the holy day.

So as our friends, colleagues and customers embark on this holy journey I would like to wish them ‘g’mar chatimah tovah’ – a traditional Hebrew blessing often used at this time.