Yom Kippur, Fasting, T1D and UNLIMITED repentance

I saw an interesting post in another Facebook group about how to fast for Yom Kippur (one of the Jewish high holy days) when you have T1D.

I had sort of assumed that this would be a no-go, but someone said it’s a perfect, once-yearly basal test if you’re on a pump :grinning:. Basically, if your basals are all tuned correctly then theoretically you should not go low or high during the holiday if you just don’t eat or bolus for any food. Samson is way, way too young to fast but it certainly might be a useful way to think about things for adults out there.

Of course, odds are that as the fast goes on your underlying basal need will decrease, and you should definitely treat a low if it occurs.

Obviously, fasting isn’t exactly wildly fun, but it made me realize that even when it comes to things like that, T1D doesn’t have to limit us as much as we think it does.


Just for one day? Wouldn’t be a problem for me… would seem pretty simple if using a pump, just turn down the basal if blood sugar starts drifting lower… on tresiba I wouldn’t have any trouble either… sounds like a lot of people with D do 24 hour fasting prettt regularly I guess they think it has some health benefits

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I actually had this discussion with my rabbi years ago. He emphatically stated that it would be a sin for me to fast!

Of course that was in the days of R and NPH and no glucose meters.


I guess technically it’s 27 or 28 hours — from before sunset to after sunset. But yes, just a one-day fast. My guess is that all rabbis would still say it’s totally permissible for T1Ds to skip the fast.

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I think I may fast this year (haven’t in a long time—I’m Jewish, but not particularly observant), but I definitely will still drink water throughout, probably with some electrolyte supplements, to prevent dehydration. It’s my understanding that it’s very clear in Jewish law that religious practice is not intended to endanger health in any way, so if it might for someone, they are exempt from the requirement.

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@cardamom, i feel like the rabbis are also masters of coming up with technicalities or workarounds for people who can’t fast. For instance, when I was pregnant I Googled and apparently Orthodox rabbis have defined some small portion of food that doesn’t count as eating – so apparently you can do a “peanut butter fast” where you eat smaller than that portion of peanut butter every, say, 30 minutes or so. And then that somehow still counts as fasting. In the end fasting was not that critical for me so I never tried it, but presumably even people with T1D who are not on pumps could do that.


I’m not on a pump (Tresiba and Humalog MDI), but honestly, fasting would not be a particularly big deal for me most likely as long as I would still treat a low if it happened (but odds are it would not). I can see why it would have been in the NPH days, when long acting insulin also covered food, but seems like it shouldn’t be with modern basals, unless someone is doing a lot of activity (which presumably not on Yom Kippur). Even if low, a person could eat some glucose tabs and consider those medication probably, and still avoid other food.

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Agreed, I wouldn’t be the slightest bit intimidated by the prospect of fasting for a day. I didn’t realize how many Jewish members we have.



Diabetes has long been thought to be more prevalent in the Jewish community.

Interesting. We have Jewish ancestry although we are not of the Jewish faith.

I’ve never quite understood in which contexts being Jewish meant race/ heredity/ genetic and which it meant religious. If anyone wants to educate me on that I’d welcome the opportunity.

My grandfather traces his lineage through Jews as far as we have paper records and oral history. Therefore, we consider him to be 100% Jewish by ancestry which is entirely separate from the question as to what his practicing religion was. That then makes me 25% Jewish by ancestry.

That’s what I don’t really understand… how are people genetically Jewish? What does that mean?

I only skimmed the article but this appears to address the question from a genetics point of view?

@Sam - Potentially your question is broader in what does it mean for anybody to claim any sort of ancestry? What does it mean to say you have German ancestry? Or Russian? In this context, I would claim Jewish ancestry is no different from those - particularly if not mixing the religious aspect into the discussion.

Perhaps it’s easier for me to understand what German ancestry entails, because Germany is a specific country, a specific part of the world…

Jewish people are all over the world… so they trace their heritage back to a specific region of the world historically? It’s not hard for me to conceptualize where asians come from-- Asia… etc but Jewish has always meant a culture and or religion rather than a location in my mind, clearly I’m missing something

Do you have time to read something as long as all the books of the bible?? Otherwise it’s not worth wading into that mess :slight_smile:

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Yeah, it appears to be complicated

Jewish Diaspora

So start with the concept the Jewish people existed in the terms you now consider similar to the Germans and the Russians. Followed with the concept of these Jewish people being scattered into many different countries but still keeping to themselves for the most part.

A village of Jews living in Russia does not make these Jews Russians until such point as significant mixing of Russians into the Jewish population. These are Jews who happen to be living in Russia. Well - until the border moves under their feet and they are now Jews living in Poland. Same group of people who are neither Russian nor Polish but continue to be Jewish. The border moves under their feet again. Now they live in Russia. Next they live in the Soviet Union.
They continue to be Jews.

Does that make some sense?


okay, so here goes… Basically Jewish people are, to a large extent, people who at some point originated from the Middle East somewhere near what is now modern-day ISrael (at least through the male lineage). They then entered diaspora starting at least about 2,600 years ago and yet kept a connection to their original homeland. Those people who entered diaspora (in places as far-flung as Babylon and Italy) did intermarry to some extent with local populations (well, mostly the men). But since then Jewish communities have been highly endogamous, meaning they married only within their specific in group for many many generations.

Almost every Ashkenazi Jew (meaning from Eastern Europe) is about as closely related to any other one as typical fourth- or fifth-cousins, if I remember correctly. That’s why certain heritable recessive diseases are more common amongst Jews, such as Taysachs, Canavan, Bloom’s Disease, etc…

In modern-day, as people become more and more secular, I would say many Jews identify as such mainly as a cultural marker or shorthand for being of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and cultural heritage. Some fraction ascribe to the religious teachings but it’s a shrinking number. And some small fraction basically see it as a kind of ethnic or genetic marker, similar to being from the Tyrolean Alps or Sardinian or something.


Thank all @thomas and @TiaG that makes much more sense of it than I had this morning

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