The Mandell JCC hosts a variety of holiday events. Following are explanations of some major holidays observed by Jews:
FALL HOLIDAYS - 2013
Rosh Hashanah - September 5 & 6
The Jewish New Year, literally means the "head of the year." On this holiday, Jews are obligated to hear the sound of the shofar (ram's horn) and participate in congregational prayer.
Yom Kippur - September 14
The Day of Atonement, the holiest day in the Jewish year, the time for prayer and fasting. During the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Jews ask for forgiveness from those they may have wronged and start anew, to do better in the new year.
Sukkot - September 19 & 20
The harvest festival during which Jews eat meals outside in a sukkah (a temporary structure), symbolizing temporality and giving us a sense of the fragility of life.
As we build a sukkah, we fulfill God's commandment to remember that the Jews first lived in sukkot when they were brought out of slavery in Egypt.
Shemini Atzeret - September 26
Follows Sukkot, and is a separate festival. On this day we say a prayer for rain because this marks the beginning of the rainy season in Israel. The prayer is delayed until after Sukkot, because we would not want rain to impede our celebrations in the sukkah.
Simchat Torah - September 27
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. This joyous holiday is the finale of our fall holiday season.
Chanukah - November 28 - December 6
Chanukah, the Jewish festival of rededication, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day festival beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. A century after Alexander the Great conquered Judaea, the Jews began to be oppressed under the rule of Antiochus, the leader of the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks). He placed Hellenistic priests in the Temple, massacred Jews, prohibited the practice of the Jewish religion, and desecrated the Temple.
A nationalistic group led by Mattathias the Hasmonean and his son Judah Maccabee led a revolt against both the assimilation of the Hellenistic Jews and oppression by the Seleucid Greek government. Against all odds, his small band of faithful Jews defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and rededicated it.
When they sought to light the Temple's menorah, they found that only a single cruse of olive oil had not been defiled by the Greeks. Miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days. To commemorate these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah to celebrate the miracle of the oil. At the heart of the festival is the nightly lighting of the candelabra called the Chanukiah; a single flame on the first night, two on the second evening, and so on until the eighth night of Chanukah, when eight are kindled. Chanukah in Israel>>
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