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Yom Kippur celebrated in Arkansas and around the globe

The holiest Jewish holiday begins at sunset Tuesday, Oct. 4. For 24 hours, prayer and fasting will take place.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — At 6:38 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4, Yom Kippur begins. Known as the holiest day of the Jewish year, those celebrating the holiday will gather at the Chabad of Northwest Arkansas in Bentonville and synagogues all across the globe.

On the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur signals the end of the 10 Days of Awe that began with the Rosh Hashanah - or Jewish New Year - celebration.

While the holidays are important in the Jewish faith, they are different in the ways they are celebrated.

"Rosh Hashanah, we pray and eat," said Rabbi Mendel Griesman of Chabad Northwest Arkansas. "Yom Kippur is a 24-hour fast day. We completely disconnect from any material pleasure and focus the day completely on God."

Yom Kippur is also known as the Day of Atonement. Leading up to the holiday, Jews from all over the globe pray and reflect on any possible misdeeds from the year prior and ask for forgiveness.

"Deep inside, the essence of the soul that you have doesn't get touched by your deeds, it's pure and holy," explained Rabbi Griesman. "If you're able to remember that, for a moment, even for just one day a year, it helps you realize, 'okay, I, internally, essentially, am good."

There are less than 3,000 Jews who call Arkansas home. Former 5NEWS sports reporter Tyler Cass is one of them who recognizes it can be difficult to celebrate the High Holidays of Judaism, but it has not stopped him from getting closer to his faith.

"It's actually something I've done more since I moved to Arkansas," Cass said. "For the last six years, I've fully fasted every year for Yom Kippur just because I think in Arkansas it's definitely been a bit more separate and I've never lived in a place where there aren't as many Jews."

Cass and Rabbi Griesman are just two of many who will partake in fasting and prayer this Yom Kippur. However, this year in particular will bring about a larger crowd to synagogues than usual.

Every seven years, Hakhel is observed. In Hebrew "Hakhel" means to gather or assemble. In a display of the meaning, this year is the "year of gathering" and Rabbi Griesman is eager to welcome those of Jewish faith to his synagogue.

"I find it to be the most joyous thing in the world, more than almost anything else I can think of," Rabbi Griesman said.

RELATED: What is Yom Kippur? What you need to know about Judaism's holiest day of the year

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