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selichot

("pardons"), in Jewish liturgy, penitential prayers originally composed for Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and for fast days but subsequently incorporated into other services. Selihoth have become an indispensable part of the Jewish liturgical services that precede Rosh Hashana (New Year), continue through the Ten Days of Penitence ('aseret yeme teshuva), and terminate on Yom Kippur.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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