Yom Kippur’s strangest trend: The caffeine suppository

by Rajesh Kaur

Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, is a time for reflection, atonement, and repentance. It is a day when Jews around the world fast for 25 hours, abstaining from food and drink. While this tradition is an important part of the religious observance, it can pose a unique challenge for coffee aficionados.

Coffee, with its high caffeine content, has become a staple for many people to start their day and keep them energized. However, abstaining from coffee during Yom Kippur can lead to withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and dizziness, especially for those who are accustomed to several cups a day.

To address this challenge, some people have turned to caffeine suppositories. These suppositories, available in various pharmacies across Israel and the United States, are primarily used by orthodox Jewish communities where full-day fasting is more common.

In the past, these caffeine suppositories were custom-made by Israeli pharmacies upon request. However, recent legal changes now require them to be purchased from authorized pharmaceutical companies. While some pharmacies may require a prescription, others, especially those in ultra-orthodox areas, sell them over the counter.

Caffeine suppositories provide an unconventional method of drug administration. These compact, typically round or cone-shaped inserts, are placed in the body through the rectum. Once inserted, they gradually dissolve or melt, releasing the caffeine.

While this method may not offer the most comfortable user experience, it has gained popularity due to its effectiveness. The suppositories are reasonably priced, typically costing around NIS 15-20 for a supply that lasts throughout the fast.

This phenomenon has even caught the attention of comedian Talia Reese, who humorously remarked, “Leave it to the Jews to come up with a backdoor plan.” Reese has addressed this unique solution in one of her performances, shedding light on the creativity and resourcefulness of the Jewish community.

It is important to note that caffeine suppositories should be used responsibly and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. While they can help alleviate withdrawal symptoms during fasting, it is crucial to prioritize one’s health and consult with a medical expert if necessary.

Yom Kippur is a time of spiritual reflection and self-improvement. While abstaining from coffee may pose a challenge for coffee lovers, it is an opportunity to focus on the introspective nature of the holiday and connect with one’s faith on a deeper level.

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