To focus more completely on prayer, Jews take part in a 24-hour fast so their minds, bodies, and souls may be free from the distraction of physical desires. This fast begins at sunset the day before Yom Kippur and ends at the next sunset.
Before the Fast
Well before sunset on the day before Yom Kippur, families gather around a sustaining meal to prepare their bodies for the coming fast. Generally, salty or spicy foods, caffeine, and alcoholic drinks are avoided because they can make fasting more difficult.
Breaking the Fast
Before the fast begins, make appetizers and other items that will keep well in the refrigerator. Commonly, the Yom Kippur meal is a light one. Because there isn't time to cook before the feast, many families will serve a deli-style buffet.