Israel is spending Friday preparing for Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. The holiday will begin at 4:41 p.m. in Jerusalem.
Police have upped their alert across the country, particularly near synagogues, which are expected to be crowded beginning on Friday evening. Paramedics are on alert as well, and are prepared to deal with any emergencies that may come up during the day.
The IDF has imposed a closure on Judea and Samaria, due to PA terrorists’ tendency to time their attacks to coincide with holidays. During the closure PA Arabs will be able to travel freely within PA-controlled areas, but will be able to enter Israeli areas only in cases of humanitarian necessity.
The entire Cave of the Patriarchs is open only for Jewish worshipers over the fast and tents have been set up for the hundreds expected to arrive there on Friday afternoon after registering for the pre and post fast meal and a place to sleep.
Rabbis and volunteers from the Tzohar organization are preparing to conduct user-friendly prayer services across the country, which had over 50,000 participants last year.
The Chabad-Lubavitch movement, Bnei Akiva, the Jerusalem-based Aish HaTorah and others will be holding special services designed for all segments of the Jewish population as well. Hesder and yeshiva high school students will be going to secular neighborhoods and kibbutzim to conduct and participate in the prayers.
Ordinary Israelis are preparing as well, by hydrating and eating well in preparation for the 25-hour Yom Kippur fast.
Tips to prepare for the fast include: drinking at least two liters of water a day (10 cups) on the days before the fast, and eating whole grains and vegetables on the day before, while avoiding sugar,spicy, fried and salty foods that cause thirst. .
Those who drink significant amounts of beverages containing caffeine daily (coffee, non-herb teas, colas) are advised to reduce the amount gradually, starting several days before the fast to prevent caffeine addiction symptoms which can include headaches and nausea.
The last meal before the fast, known as the seudah hamafseket, should not include unfamiliar, spicy, or fried foods, and should omit vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli.
After the fast, those who have abstained from drinking and eating are advised to rehydrate slowly, with a sweet drink, and begin eating with a snack, followed approximately one hour later by a light meal.