Yom Kippur in and around Jerusalem

This week I had my Christian friend John come to visit, John is an older gent also from Portsmouth UK, but originally from Malta.  He has Jewish roots, and his family came from Armenia.

He is here to see the Feast of Tabernacles which is coming up soon which is hosted by the ICEJ, International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem.

So I got to show him a lot of sites around here, a few days ago it was Yom Kippur, a holiday, in which Jews fast for a day.

We went around the UN headquarters at the end of my street and around the forest overlooking the city, then made our way into town.

There are no cars around the centre of town.   None at all.   I might see a police car once an hour or so.  This is normally a busy street.

This was unusual.   There were a lot of Arab families in the park picking some of the wild olives.   This man and his son was smarter than the others, as a large tarrapaulin was laid out to catch the dropped ones.  Funny as in the year I have been here, I have never seen anyone pick fruit from trees in public places here.


The world famous King David hotel.   Top right. This nice wooden counter just had one Arab chap manning the desk, as everyone is observing Yom Kippur.  As well as the beautiful decor here, there is a Sukkot (tent/shed type structure.  Bottom right. Some of the staff from the kitchen are taking a break chatting on the tables as no-one will be eating until about 6.30pm.

John got chatting to a elderly Canadian couple there, who have lived in Jerusalem for 30 years now.  This chap was talking about a nearby building called ‘Yimcer’   then I realised he meant the YMCA, which is opposite the King David 🙂    He told me off as I was drinking some water from a bottle, I didn’t realise the fast included water from then!   oops.   For me as a foreigner I think its unwise to fast from water, as the extreme heat can make you feel very unwell if you do.   But I did use this day to do some praying and abstain from food from darkness Wednesday till Thursday.  I had a whole chicken in a slow cooker for when we came back home to my flat.   I am a recent convert to slow cookers, just the thing when you want to come home and have dinner more or less ready. 🙂

Leviticus 23 : 27 says more about this event.

The outside of the YMCA.   Although the ‘Y’ is a Christian organisation and originally a Youth Hostel.  Its now a proper hotel and owned by Muslim, but still known as the Jerusalem YMCA.  Sadly I didn’t see anyone do any comedy dancing either.  Not that it would be a appropriate with most people fasting that day. 🙂

Walking along the walls with Dutch Christian couple who mentioned on earlier post ‘never be silent’.

The really interesting thing about John’s Armenian Jewish and Maltese background is the Maltese language is a mixture of mostly Arabic and some Hebrew and Italian, so this meant he could converse with the Arab taxi driver who took us home later. 🙂

The Jews have a generous amount of feasts and holidays in their calenders, next one is Sukkot, a kind of religious campsite outside your house, more soon….

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