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Yom Kippur Tips

In anticipation of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, specialists at Schneider Children’s have issued tips for a safe and an easy Fast
Date: 16.09.18 | Update: 02.10.18

Prof. Yehezkel Waisman, Director of the Emergency Medicine Department at Schneider Children’s, notes that since many children play in the open streets on Yom Kippur, there is a great danger of injuries. Each year there are increasing numbers of youngsters injured riding bicycles, skateboards, scooters and roller-blades on Yom Kippur. Over the past year, the number of physical injuries from electric bikes rose dramatically.

  • In order to prevent injury as far as possible, protective gear such as helmets, knee and elbow pads must be worn at all times when riding bicycles, scooters, skateboards and roller blades. Helmets should fit the child’s head properly. Riding at night should be avoided.

  • Lacerations should be treated immediately to stop the bleeding and to prevent infection and scarring. If the cuts are superficial with no blood, do not involve the face or genitals, and there is no evidence of foreign bodies in the wounded area, stitches are unnecessary. Pressure should be applied to the injured area with a dressing, the area washed well with soap, antiseptic cream such as Polydine applied, and the wound covered with a bandage or gauze pad. The cut should be checked daily for signs of infection such as redness, swelling or oozing. If so, a doctor should be consulted.

  • Medical attention should be sought immediately if the cut is large, deep, continues to bleed after applying pressure for 10 minutes, or involves the face or genital area. Cuts caused by a contaminated item require the attention of a doctor, who should be consulted regarding a tetanus shot. Foreign bodies should not be removed from a wound – they can often prevent profuse bleeding – and the child should be taken to the nearest emergency room.

Dafna Ziv Busani, clinical dietician in the Nutrition and Dietary Unit at Schneider Children’s, recommends the following:

  • 3-5 small meals should be eaten during the day before the Fast from the morning until the concluding meal. Each meal should include proteins such as cheese and yoghurt, and complex carbohydrates such as bread, crackers, rice and pasta, which fill the carbohydrate pool (glycogen) that diminishes during the first hours of the Fast.

  • It is important to drink water during the day before the Fast to hydrate the body well. Sweet drinks are less quenching and accelerate the sense of thirst. Caffeinated drinks should be gradually reduced three days prior to Yom Kippur.

  • The concluding meal before the Fast should be filling but not heavy. Overeating at this meal is taxing, causes fatigue, and does not in any way affect the sense of hunger felt towards the end of the Fast. Therefore, it is better to eat a regular meal or a slightly larger meal than usual. The meal should include vegetable or chicken soup or salad with a teaspoon of oil, a serving of meat, fish or vegetable protein (legumes or soy), carbohydrates (rice, noodles etc.), cooked and fresh vegetables.

  • Snacks or foods high in salt should be avoided before the Fast. Parents who fast should prepare small and ready meals in advance for their children such as dairy products, sliced bread and so on to avoid the preparation of food during Yom Kippur.

  • In the event that a child decides to fast, small meals should be prepared from the morning until the start of the Fast. Children and adolescents who fast during Yom Kippur and do not feel well should drink something sweet and discontinue fasting.

  • The Fast should be broken with a slice of bread spread with something sweet or a slice of cake and a warm drink. The digestion of food requires effort from the body and thus it needs time to adjust to the new conditions, and only after a small snack is it recommended to eat a full meal. The meal should include protein such as chicken or fish with the addition of carbohydrates such as rice or potatoes.
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