Why is it traditional for Jews to fast on Yom Kippur? Fasting, along with wearing white and avoiding sensual pleasures, is meant to purify our bodies, minds, and spirits for Divine judgment. 

While many Jews fast from sundown to sundown on Yom Kippur, fasting isn’t for everyone. Health issues may prevent some people from being able to safely fast, and others may not find spiritual resonance and significance in the practice. With intentional adaptation, however, it’s possible to find a fasting alternative that works for your specific needs. 

You might first ask yourself whether there’s anything that would feel personally meaningful to give up for the duration of Yom Kippur. What are you particularly attached to? Many of us can’t go a day without checking our social media, or without eating sugar, for example. Start with your attachments, and see where that leads you. Hint: you should feel a little uncomfortable—this is your growth edge!—but not totally destabilizing. 

Stay with the discomfort. See if anything shifts in your experience of the day, and know that it’s okay even if nothing does. This is energetic attunement to the spirit of fasting. 

Booklet Section: Seeking Forgiveness
Source: Turn & Return Holiday Booklet