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We sometimes hear people asking why someone might need to eat and/or drink on Yom Kippur. To raise awareness, we asked our community members why they had needed to eat and/or drink on Yom Kippur in the past. These were some of their answers.


Please note:

*This list is not a complete list of all of the reasons to need to eat/drink on Yom Kippur.

*This list was prepared for the purpose of raising awareness, and does not constitute instructions for whether you should eat or fast this year or any year.


I need to eat/drink on Yom Kippur due to…

Low blood pressure which leads to fainting.

Trauma due to hunger and food insecurity

Chronic illnesses that are worsened and/or triggered by lack of food or liquid

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Eating disorder recovery


I need to eat on Yom Kippur…

To take certain medications

To prevent acute adrenal insufficiency

To manage a disability

To support a family member with an eating disorder

To maintain blood sugar and stay hydrated to prevent severe migraines


I need to eat/drink of Yom Kippur because I have…

Type 1 diabetes

Trauma from childhood food neglect or food withholding by caregivers

POTS - Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome

OCD around food

Crohn’s disease


I need to eat/drink on Yom Kippur because…

Fasting exacerbates my mental health symptoms.

My health is fragile and I have to do all I can to preserve it.

I am Autistic and my mental health is affected by not having sensory needs met.

My heart condition does not allow me to go more than a few hours without eating/drinking


I need to eat/drink on Yom Kippur because…

I have unsteadiness after a stroke. Fasting might make me fall.

I need to stay well hydrated to avoid kidney failure.

It helps me better tolerate needed medication.

I have an eating disorder history and fasting is a trigger.


I need to eat/drink on Yom Kippur because…

Fasting makes my Gastroparesis symptoms worse.

I have Hyperemesis gravidarum.

I have a high risk pregnancy.

I’m underweight due to grief/illness, so I cannot risk skipping any meals.

I have Ulcerative colitis.


*Different people may have different experiences or needs.

If you are uncertain whether fasting is safe for you, please consult your health professional.

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