Yom Kippur, the "Day of Atonement," is the highest of all Jewish holidays. It is celebrated nine days after Rosh ha-Shanah, and brings to an end the period of self-reflection and repentance, which the Jewish New Year initiated. On this day, God inscribes his judgments of his followers in the "book of life,"
which is then closed and sealed.
Yom Kippur is a day of earnest contemplation. Religious, and often secular Jews as well, spend the day in synagogue. Many fast and refrain from work. The Day of Atonement ends with the blowing of a shofar, an ancient instrument.