Holidays and Festivals 2013/5773
Jewish worship offers time to reflect, praise, ask and express gratitude.
Rosh HaShanah: Observed on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, Rosh HaShanah (literally, “Head of the Year”) is the celebration of the Jewish new year and marks the beginning of the Yamin Noraim—a ten day period of prayer, self-examination and repentance, which culminates with the fast day of Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur (literally, “Day of Atonement”) is observed ten days after Rosh HaShanah with fasting, prayer, repentance: the sacred act of teshuvah. Yom Kippur is the holiest of all Jewish Festivals and holidays.
Sukkot, a Hebrew word meaning “booths” or “huts,” is celebrated five days after Yom Kippur on the 15th of Tishrei and is marked by several distinct traditions as we give thanks for both the fall harvest and commemorate the 40 years of Israelite wandering in the desert after Sinai.
Simchat Torah, which literally means “rejoicing in Torah,” is exactly what Jews the world over do on this festive holiday.
Chanukah: A Celebration of Light
Tu BiSh'vat or the "New Year of the Trees" is Jewish Arbor Day.
Purim is one of the most joyous and fun holidays on the Jewish calendar. It is celebrated by the reading of the Scroll of Esther, known in Hebrew as the Megillat Esther, which commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination.
Pesach, known as Passover in English, is a major Jewish spring festival, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt over 3,000 years ago. The ritual observance of this holiday centers around a special home service called the seder (meaning "order") and a festive meal; the prohibition of chametz (leaven); and the eating of matzah (an unleavened bread). On the eve of the 15th day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, we read from a book called the Haggadah, meaning "telling," which contains the order of prayers, special symbolic foods and rituals, readings and songs for the Pesach seder. The Pesach seder is the only ritual meal in the Jewish calendar year for which such an order is prescribed, hence its name. The core ideas of Pesach are slavery and freedom. On Pesach, we are actually celebrating the transition from slavery to freedom. This is eloquently expressed in the rituals and the symbolic items of food on the table, since they have associations with both slavery and freedom.
To help you and your family better prepare for Pesach and the seder, we have a digital resource center here we're calling “The Pesach Project” which is filled with ideas, activities and recipes designed to make you celebration as memorable and meaningful as it can be!
Feel free to explore any or all of the areas of “The Pesach Project” below that interest you!
Lag Ba'Omer is the shorthand way of saying the 33rd day of the omer. It is celebrated 33 days after Pesach.
Shavuot, a Hebrew word meaning 'weeks,’ is the celebration of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, the anniversary of the beginning of the sacred relationship we have with God. Shavuot is a time to celebrate the Torah and all that it stands for, as well as the loving relationship between God and the Jewish people.
Tish B'Av is an annual fast day in Judaism, named for the ninth day (Tisha) of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar.