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Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in the Jewish religion, begins at sunset tonight and continues until after nightfall tomorrow.

The “Day of Atonement” is observed by a nearly 26-hour fast, to repent for one’s sins. Observant Jews abstain from food and drink, do not wash or apply lotions or creams, do not wear leather footwear, and abstain from marital relations, according to Chabad.org. They spend the day in synagogue, praying for forgiveness during a series of five special services.

Yom Kippur is the culmination of the “10 days of repentance” that began on Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish new year. It marks the day when Moses came down from the mountain after spending 80 days asking God to forgive his people their sin of worshipping a golden calf.

It is customary to wish someone who is observing Yom Kippur “an easy fast” or “a good holy day.”

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.