Yom Kippur in Jerusalem

On the most important Jewish holiday, the holy city stands still

On the most important Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur, the whole country stands still. While the Sabbath is only observed by religious Jews, today only pedestrians are on the road, even on motorways. Restaurants and cafés are closed, people fast (and don’t even drink water). Even the television channels are switched off. People flock to the synagogues, the Orthodox dressed all in white. A crowd also gathers at the Wailing Wall, murmuring and shouting. It is the day to reflect on one’s life, on the past year, what good one has done and what bad, what one would like to change. That religious feelings can run high on this day is shown by the news from Akko. There, an Arab who was driving his car through the empty streets was attacked with words and stones. This developed into street fights between religious Jews, Arabs and the police that lasted for days.

But that’s not enough with holidays, a week later, huts made of palm branches and cloth are built everywhere, in gardens, on balconies, on the terraces of restaurants. Camping is the order of the day for a week, in memory of the migration from Egypt.

For travellers, the many holidays are rather inconvenient, as no buses run on them, just like at the weekends.

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