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Top 5 Things To Do On Yom Kippur (If You’re Not Religious)

When I first moved to Israel in 2010 I experienced my first Yom Kippur in this country feeling the same way I did when I discovered shkedei marak. As though I’ve missed a whole other dimension of childhood. As the adult veterans of the great State of Israel observed me as though I was a new exhibit at the zoo I watched in bewilderment as the streets went bare of motorized traffic and filled up with a carnival of anything goes.

Growing up in North America or in any of those other non-Jewish states, there is one thing that’s pretty standard among Jews on Yom Kippur. At synagogue, the men wear fine suits and pay $1000 to sit in a pew while the ladies put on their finest dresses and claim they are not breaking that humble dress code.

peacock
Oh, you mean this old rag?

So my first Yom Kippur was a bit of a shocker. As the sun went down, suddenly the noise of the cars stopped. The surprising much LOUDER noise of the plastic wheels of children’s trikes and bikes soon replaced it, and the streets filled up.  Ever since, Yom Kippur for me was a day to atone for the fact that I’m wasting my time indoors while I could be out there, man!

I’m totally cool with everyone’s individual spiritual preference, but if you are not the type to go to synagogue and pray such as I, here are some only-in-Israel ways to pass your Yom Kippur.

#5. Spit In The Face Of Highway Danger

On my first Yom Kippur I lived in Holon. I fasted. Then I forced my then girlfriend to get on a bike, while I took my rollerblades and we made our way to Allenby in Tel Aviv. Backwards in the middle of the highway.  Sure there was a more conventional path to take on our journey. But we went the wrong way down the middle of the highway. Why? Because &$#% you highway. Want to really feel like a rebel? Bike clockwise around a roundabout. I impressed my then GF with my rebelliousness so much she’s now totally my wife.

And Waze STILL says there will be a delay
And Waze STILL says there will be a delay (Picture Credit: Gadi Migdal)

#4. Just Breathe

Breathe
Ahhh! The sweet smell of not people on the bus.

The Israeli Environmental Protection Agency proves one thing over and over again every single year. Stopping an entire country’s motorized traffic for one day is damned good for the planet.  Last year, nitrogen oxides in the air plummeted from 116 PPB to 9 PPB in just one day in the Gush Dan region and 195 PPB to 9 PPB in Jerusalem.  This is air quality no city slicker will ever experience. So get out there and breathe.

Yom Kippur in Israel is the day people take advantage of the fresh air and do plenty of activities outdoors. But be careful, there is another sort of macabre bet that goes on within peoples’ homes on this holiday. It’s the annual “How many people were hospitalized due to fainting this year” pool. Don’t become a statistic.

#3. TV Series Marathon

If you turn on your TV during Yom Kippur, most of the lower channels will greet you with a message saying, “There’s no TV today, you non-atoning hellbound sinner.” or something along those lines.

sb10065235m-001
No Diff’rent Strokes for you today pal.

Well good thing we live in the age of the Internet. Your one way ticket to gehenom. If you didn’t manage to get Netflix setup in Israel, head over to http://www.sdarot.wf/ or http://www.mako.co.il/mako-vod?partner=NavBarHP and start watching Israeli and popular TV shows from around the world. I suggest watching as many episodes of Ramzor as possible.

#2. Put Down Your Phone, Finish That Book

Giant-Book
“Shimon Peres, The Early Years”

I’m not a religious person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get spiritual enlightenment. And it can come from something as simple as putting down your phone for one day in the year and getting lost in a book the old fashioned way.  It’s a good way to let go of the stress of the news and the blues.

#1. Sleep

sleeping-cat

This one is especially good if you’re fasting. We as a society do not sleep the recommended daily amount. This is your day to catch up. Also if you manage to sleep until noon, you have already slept away 3/4 of your fast.

 

So I hope the more observant of our readers will forgive me for this article but it’s all part of living in a country with religious freedom right?

Gmar Hatimah Tovah!

About the author

Picture of Deebo

Deebo

I'm a Canadian Israeli, Aliyah Class of '10. You may know me as tweeter @notantisemitic but here I'll tickle your Zionist bone in other ways.
Picture of Deebo

Deebo

I'm a Canadian Israeli, Aliyah Class of '10. You may know me as tweeter @notantisemitic but here I'll tickle your Zionist bone in other ways.
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