Israelis Ready for Yom Kippur 2012 at Western Wall in Jerusalem: Selichot Prayer, Kapparot Ritual
Jews across Israel are preparing for the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement. Several thousand Jewish worshippers flocked to Jerusalem's Western Wall to hold a mass "selichot", or "forgiveness" prayer, ahead of Yom Kippur when Jews traditionally fast for a 25-hour period, often spending most of the day praying in synagogue. In Tel Aviv, worshippers gathered to conduct "Tashlich", where Jewish believers throw bread into a river to symbolically "cast off" their sins from the previous year. Jews in Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods held the ritual of "Kapparot" which sees men swinging live chickens over their heads to symbolically transfer any sins from the previous year to the chicken. The chicken is then slaughtered and donated to the poor. Yom Kippur is a legal holiday in the state of Israel with mass media, public transportation and commerce all grinding to a halt.