Find out how Yom Kippur affects grassroots Jewish club, Maccabi London Lions FC

With the Jewish day of atonement, Yom Kippur, taking place across 8 and 9 October 2019, we hear from Lee Glassar, head of operations at Jewish grassroots club Maccabi London Lions, on how one of Judaism’s holiest days affects the club.

Tuesday 08 Oct 2019
Maccabi London Lions FC run 41 different teams across all of their age groups from their base in Barnet

This year, Yom Kippur falls on a week day, and as one of the most important days in the Jewish Calendar the club will respect the day by not training and all of our club facilities will be closed.

As one of the most respected of Jewish festivals, large numbers of our community will visit Synagogue where the service carries on for the whole day. It is a fast day and this is upheld by the vast majority of our community, even those that see themselves as less observant tend to uphold the fast and the day of reflection.

Yom Kippur
  • Religion: Judaism
  • AKA: Jewish Day of Atonement
  • Date: Sunset, Tuesday 8 October - Nightfall, Wednesday 9 October 2019
  • Events: Fasting and prayer

The fast is for 25-hours, it starts just before 7pm and runs until just before 8pm the following day, and as a day of reflection it would not be appropriate to take part in anything pleasurable and of course that includes sport.

Yom Kippur has impacted the Jewish professionals in the game from time to time when match night or day has clashed with Yom Kippur.

Maccabi London Lions don’t play matches on a Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, but when Yom Kippur falls on a Sunday, it has a massive impact on us as we have over 700 players all who would not be able to play.

As a result, all our teams ask for and are given dispensation by the Leagues they play in not to play fixtures on Yom Kippur.

We have 41 teams at London Lions, covering ages from six to 76-years-old, with kids, parents, grandparents and even three great-grandparents involved, so there’s a real family buzz and environment around the club.

Yom Kippur can affect Jewish players, supporters and volunteers at all levels of the game


That’s something we want to harness for the next generation. For example, one of our U7 teams is managed by a father and a son, with the grandchild playing in the team. That’s three generations in one team and the parent has made around 470 appearances for the first team, so there’s a big history here.

We go very much on Jewish family values and we’re an extension of that as we try to ensure we’re moulding these children, in the short time we have them, into young, confident people and we do that through football.

Find out more about Maccabi London Lions FC and their teams.

By Lee Glassar Head of operations, Maccabi London Lions FC