Helpful hints for a Yom Kippur break-the-fast meal

November 3, 2015

On Yom Kippur, it's traditional to have a break-the-fast meal to conclude 24 hours of fasting. Here are some helpful guidelines for creating this meal, from the prayers involved to the best food and drinks to serve.

Helpful hints for a Yom Kippur break-the-fast meal

Don't set out any food until after sunset

Since you're not allowed to touch food or drinks on Yom Kippur, Jewish law states that you cannot prepare the break-the-fast meal until the sun has set and Yom Kippur is officially over. To adhere to this law, be sure to wait until the last prayers have been said before you begin setting out the food and drinks.

Start with the traditional prayers

Before diving into the meal, it's traditional to say the kiddush, the prayer over wine, and the hamotzi, the prayer over bread. After saying each prayer, everyone drinks a small sip of wine and eats a small bit of challah. Once this is done, the Yom Kippur fast is officially over and it's time to dig into the food.

Provide drinks that hydrate

After a Yom Kippur fast, you'll often find you're more thirsty than hungry. To combat this, be sure to start by drinking liquids that will re-hydrate you, like juice or water. Steer clear of pop, coffee and other drinks that will dehydrate you – at least until after the meal, when you're finished quenching your thirst.

Serve traditional Jewish foods

Most Jewish holidays have a traditional food component, but Yom Kippur is the exception to this rule. Since there's no official Yom Kippur food, people usually just serve traditional Jewish foods. Often, a break-the-fast feast will consist of breakfast foods like bagels, cream cheese, lox, tuna, blintzes and noodle kugel. If you're more interested in dinner foods, consider serving things like brisket or matzo ball soup. Usually, people are so hungry after fasting that they don't want to wait for something to cook, which is why it has become customary to eat quick and easy foods like bagels. However, in the end what you serve is up to your personal preferences.

After a day of fasting, you'll be ready to eat something that's filling and easy to make. Ultimately, what's most important is that you'll be sharing a meal with family and friends at the end of this special day.

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