I fast on Yom Kippur. My parents didn’t fast and my wife doesn’t. Most American Jews don’t fast. Forty percent of American Jews fast the whole day, according to a 2016 Pew study.
On Yom Kippur morning, my wife, Alice, eats cereal for breakfast, and I put away the dishes from last night’s big meal. For lunch Alice has a peanut butter and honey sandwich. Does the honey have any religious significance? I doubt it. In the afternoon, Alice makes a dish for the evening’s hearty meal, simply known as “break fast.” She typically prepares a mushroom and spinach frittata that smells up the house. She is torturing me. Fine. Yom Kippur is not supposed to be a picnic. It’s the Day of Atonement.