Jewish Holidays

Following are explanations of some major holidays observed by Jews.

Tu B'Shevat – January 21, 2019
New Year of the Trees rejoices in the fruit of the tree and the fruit of the vine. Tu B'Shevat marks the beginning of spring in Israel. Tu B'Shevat in Israel>>

Purim – March 21, 2019
The Feast of Esther, Jewish day of merrymaking marking the defeat of Persian tyrant Haman.  

Passover – April 20–27, 2019

Passover recalls the deliverance of Jews from Egyptian slavery. The intricate Seder (ritual dinner) is explained in the Haggadah. Matzoh and other special foods are eaten at the meal.  Passover in Israel>>

Yom Hashoah – May 2, 2019

Holocaust Memorial Day includes rituals, liturgy, and customs that commemorate the tragedy that befell the Jewish people during World War II.

Yom Hazikaron – May 8, 2019
Israel Memorial Day remembers the soldiers who gave their lives for Israel's independence.

Yom Ha'atzmaut – May 9, 2019

Israel Independence Day celebrates the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.  It is celebrated with military parades, concerts, speeches, and outdoor festivities.

Shavuot – June 9-10, 2019
Shavuot means "weeks," signifying that this festival is celebrated seven weeks after Passover. This major holiday celebrates the sacred moment on Mount Sinai when Moses received the Torah with the Commandments from G-d. Shavuot in Israel>>

Tisha B'Av – August 11, 2019

Tisha B'Av is an annual fast day which commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem and the subsequent exile of the Jews from Israel. 

Rosh Hashanah
 - September 30–October 1, 2019
The Jewish New Year is the first of the High Holy Days.  

Yom Kippur - October 9, 2019
The Day of Atonement, the holiest day in the Jewish year, is a time for reflection, prayer, repentance, and fasting.

Sukkot - October 14–20, 2019
The harvest festival, during which Jews eat meals outside in a sukkah (a temporary structure that symbolizes temporality and gives a sense of the fragility of life).

Shemini Atzeret - October 21, 2019
Follows Sukkot and is a separate festival. On this day Jews pray for rain because this marks the beginning of the rainy season in Israel. 

Simchat Torah - October 22, 2019
The day following Shemini Atzeret, this holiday celebrates the completion of the yearly cycle of reading the Torah. On Simchat Torah adults and children parade around and dance in the sanctuary. 

Chanukah - December 23–30, 2019
The Jewish festival of rededication, also known as the Festival of Lights, lasts for eight days and celebrates the reclaiming and rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem from the Syrian Greeks. When the Temple's menorah was lit, the one-day supply of oil miraculously burned for eight days.  Thus on Chanukah, candles are lit for eight nights. Chanukah in Israel>>

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