Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, is much more than the celebration of another year’s passing. Rosh Hashana is, after all, a celebration of the very creation of the world and a recognition of humankind’s relationship to the Creator. Fundamental to Judaism is the belief in an active G-d who is involved in our lives like a caring parent.

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Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins at sunset. There is something mystical about Yom Kippur in that almost all Jews recognize the holiness of the day: On Yom Kippur, God graces the world with amnesty — all one needs to do is to come and ask for it. When we spend the day talking with God, we are discussing, privately, all the things for which we need such amnesty, thereby cleansing ourselves and helping us recognize how we can improve our lives…

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Each holiday also has its own unique mitzvot. The mitzvot of Sukkot are: Rejoice On Your Holiday; “You shall keep the feast of tabernacles seven days… And you shall rejoice in your feast… and you shall be altogether joyful” (Deuteronomy 16:13-15). To Wave The Four Species; “And you shall take for yourselves on the first day, the fruit of a beautiful tree, the branch of a palm tree, a bough from the myrtle tree, and willows of the stream, and you shall rejoice before your G-d for seven days” (Leviticus 23:40)…

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One small jar of oil… It would take another week for a fresh jar of pure olive oil to be made.  Not wanting to put off the mitzvah, they decided to light the Menorah – and the miracle of Chanukah occurred. Despite the small quantity of oil, THE MENORAH REMAINED LIT FOR THE ENTIRE EIGHT DAYS…

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Unlike the festive meals of Shabbat, Rosh Hashana, Passover, Sukkot or Shavuot, the Purim seuda (as a feast is called in Hebrew) is in commemoration of an actual feast that took place in the time of Esther. In fact, the Purim story contains numerous important feasts…

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Passover celebrates G-d’s taking the Israelites out of slavery from Egypt and bringing them to the Promised Land.  The children of Israel’s trek down to Egypt actually begins with their forefather, Abraham. Abraham was the first person to acknowledge a purely monotheistic G-d. As a consequence, G-d promises to make his descendants into a great nation…

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Shavuot, Festival of Weeks – Shavuot is the only holiday not listed in the Torah by the day and month on which it is to be observed. Rather, the Torah instructed that this festival take place the 49th day after the second day of Passover, the day on which the Omer Sacrifice was offered. The name, therefore, reflects the fact that this holiday occurs seven complete weeks (Shavuot) after Passover.

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The Seventeenth of Tammuz marks the beginning of a period known as the “Three Weeks.” Exactly 21 days (3 weeks) after the fast day is Tisha b’Av, a full day of mourning over the destruction of both Temples and the other great tragedies throughout history that correspond with the date. More than just a “bridge between two fast days,” the Three Weeks are, historically, a time of continuing tragedy…

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Other Holidays

Learn more about other Jewish holidays, modern holidays, minor fasts and what they mean to our history and our culture.

The dates listed here are the day of the holiday, however, Jewish holidays begin at sunset on the evening before the holiday (Erev, or “eve of”).