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		                                    Purim		                                </span>
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		                                    Decorating the Sukkah		                                </span>
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		                                    Hanukah		                                </span>

Jewish Holidays 

Jewish holidays and festivals allow us to step out of the daily flow of time and celebrate the sacred moments of the Jewish people as a community. Each holiday offers a unique opportunity to experience the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the season, either with our Temple B'rith Shalom community or at home.. When we pause from our daily routines to mark Jewish time, we join with the generations before us and keep Jewish traditions alive. 

Please check back before the holiday for information on how it will be observed at Temple B'rith Shalom.

On the Saturday evening prior to Rosh Hashanah (unless Erev Rosh Hashanah falls on a Sunday), we gather for a late afternoon of learning, prayer, reflection, and return. We prepare ourselves for the serious work of the High Holy Days.

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish new year. The shofar, the ram's horn, wakes us from our stupor and demands that we face ourselves and our wrongdoings. The liturgy of the holiday stresses that life is short, our days are numbered, and our chance to change, do good, repent, accomplish the things we dream of, and treat the people we love as they deserve to be treated, is now.

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, falls ten days after Rosh Hashanah. When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, the High Priest affected atonement for the entire people through an elaborate ritual. Today, in the absence of the Temple, each of us stands, alone, together, naked as it were, before God.

Sukkot: October
A seven-day holiday commemorating the fulfillment of God's promise to bring the Israelites to the Promised Land after forty years of wandering. Many people build a sukkah (booth), a temporary structure with a roof made of branches, modeled after the huts constructed in the desert. We also give thanks to God for the bounty of the Earth with prayers and a symbolic shaking of the lulav (an assemblage of palm, willow and myrtle branches) and etrog (a lemon-like fruit).

Simchat Torah: October
Celebrates the completion of the annual Torah-reading cycle. After finishing the last sentence of the book of D'varim (Deuteronomy), the Torah is joyously paraded around the synagogue.The new cycle begins immediately with a reading from Bereshit (Genesis).

Chanukah: November/December
An eight-day holiday commemorating the ancient Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks and the miracle of the rededication of the Temple, when oil meant to last for one day burned for eight. Celebrated by lighting candles in a chanukiah (a nine-branched candelabrum), eating latkes (potato pancakes), playing with dreidels (spinning tops) and giving money or gifts. This holiday celebrates the importance of religious freedom.

Tu B'Shevat:  January/February
Biblical in origin, a holiday that celebrates springtime renewal and growth. Traditions include eating fruit and planting trees. This is a celebration of the gifts of nature, our responsibility to the earth, and to sustainability.

Purim: March  
A joyous holiday commemorating the rescue of the Jews of Persia by Queen Esther and her uncle Mordecai from the evil Haman. The story is read aloud and when Haman is mentioned in the Megillah (scroll) of Esther, people scream and turn noisemakers called “groggers” to drown out his name. Traditions include parties, dances, putting on plays (shpiels), mishloach manot (gift-giving), and eating hamentashen (three-cornered, fruit-filled pastries).

Pesach (Passover):  April
Celebrates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. At the seder (service and festive meal), the Haggadah (collection of texts and commentaries on the Exodus) is read and symbolic foods are eaten. In remembrance of the departure of the Israelites, who could not wait for their bread to rise before fleeing, matzah (unleavened bread) is eaten for the eight days of Passover. This holiday stresses the value of moving from slavery to freedom for all who are oppressed or enslaved.

Yom HaShoah:  April
Day chosen by the Israeli Knesset in 1951 to mourn the millions killed in the Holocaust. Commemorated in Israel with a moment of silence and with speeches by survivors and the reading of names.

Yom HaZikaron:  April
The Israeli Knesset established the day before Yom HaAtzmaut as Yom HaZikaron, a Memorial Day for soldiers who lost their lives fighting in the War of Independence and in other subsequent battles.

Yom HaAtzmaut:  April
Yom HaAtzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, marks the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948. It is observed on or near the 5th of Iyar in the Hebrew calendar.

Lag BaOmer:  April/May
Lag BaOmer is a festive minor holiday that falls during the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot. This period of time is known as the Omer, and Lag BaOmer falls on the 33rd day (lamed-gimel, "lag").

Shavuot:  May/June
Celebrates the giving of the Torah at Sinai and the spring harvest. Traditionally, Jews read the Ten Commandments and the Book of Ruth and eat dairy products.

Tishah B'Av:  July/August
Tishah B'Av, observed on the 9th (tishah) of the Hebrew month of Av, is a day of mourning the destruction of both ancient Temples in Jerusalem.

Sat, May 25 2024 17 Iyar 5784