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A Primer for Nonpractitioners

  • Principle One | The inherent worth and dignity of every person

  • Principle Six | The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all

  • Shared Values | Universal love, hope, awe

  • Winter Holidays

About This Day

A summary from

"Yom Kippur means "Day of Atonement" and refers to the annual Jewish observance of fasting, prayer, and repentance. Part of the High Holidays, which also includes Rosh HaShanah (the Jewish New Year), Yom Kippur is considered the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.


Yom Kippur is the moment in Jewish time when we dedicate our mind, body, and soul to reconciliation with our fellow human beings, ourselves, and God. As the [Jewish] New Year begins, we commit to self-reflection and inner change. As both seekers and givers of pardon, we turn first to those whom we have wronged, acknowledging our sins and the pain we have caused them.


We are also commanded to forgive, to be willing to let go of any resentment we feel towards those who have committed offenses against us. Only then can we turn to God and ask for forgiveness. As we read in the Yom Kippur liturgy, “And for all these, God of forgiveness, forgive us, pardon us, and grant us atonement."



Autumn. Indigenous Peoples Day occurs on the 2nd Monday in October in the United States. The United Nations International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is recognized every August 9th.

  • Fasting: 25-hours to focus on repentance, purification, and spiritual health

  • Praying: a focus on synagogue and prayer

  • Asking Forgiveness: in the days before Yom Kippur

Common Customs
  • No bathing, lotions, intimacy, or wearing leather

  • Wearing white 

  • Time in contemplation/synagogue

  • Breaking fast with family

  • Listening to the call of the shofur

  • Kol Nidrei is chanted three times during the services. 

Stories and Figures
  • In Christianity, Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, the son of God.

For kids and all ages:

The Christmas Story - need good video or redo Spirit play holi days?

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Applying a UU Lens

Ideas for Engagement

Key Lessons for UUs

The Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur can provide UUs with important reminders and lessons. Explore further for ways to engage in respectful ways with these lessons.

Ways to Engage

These suggestions are intended for use by non-practicioner UUs to lift up, learn from, and appreciate this day. This page is not telling active practicioners how/what to do, as they have their own spiritual and cultural resources.

UU Resources

UU Hymns / Other Songs

UU Readings

UU Articles and Books

Resonant UU Beliefs


UU Principles
  • 2) Justice, equity and compassion in human relations

  • 3) Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth

  • 5) The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process

UU Shared Values
  • transformation

  • generosity

UU Theology Statements (Stones/Rocks)
  • Salvation is in this lifetime

UU Connections

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