Israelis urged to brace for blistering Yom Kippur

Fasters told to drink plenty of water all day Friday ahead of the hottest Day of Atonement in over a decade

The night before Yom Kippur at the Western Wall, 2012 (photo credit: Oren Nahshon/Flash90)
The night before Yom Kippur at the Western Wall, 2012 (photo credit: Oren Nahshon/Flash90)

Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, which will commence at sundown on Friday and continue until nightfall Saturday, is expected to be particularly hot in Israel this year.

The solemn day falls earlier in the Gregorian calendar than usual — the Hebrew calendar is a hybrid of solar and lunar cycles — and temperatures across Israel are expected to be higher than usual, even for mid-September.

According to the Israel Meteorological Service, in Tel Aviv temperatures are expected to reach 34°C (93°F) on Friday and 32°C (90°F) on Saturday.

Jerusalem is expected to be even hotter, with temperatures hitting 36°C (97°F) on Friday and 34°C (93°F) on Saturday.

The highest temperatures in Israel on Saturday are expected in Tiberias, by the Sea of Galilee, where it will hit 39°C (102°F) and in the southern port city of Eilat, where meteorologists expect a high of 41°C (106°F).

Magen David Adom officials have asked that anybody fasting — polls over the years have shown that most Israelis do — make sure to begin drinking a lot of water Friday morning, and to continue doing so until the beginning of the fast (6:12 p.m. in Jerusalem and 6:29 p.m. in Tel Aviv). Over the course of the day, fasters are urged to spend as much time as possible in the shade or in air-conditioned buildings.

If the weather forecast turns out to have been accurate, this will be the hottest Yom Kippur in Israel in 11 years. In the past 50 years higher temperatures than those predicted for this year have been recorded only twice.

The fast will end on Saturday evening at 7:26 in Tel Aviv and 7:24 in Jerusalem.

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