Jewish Holidays

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Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and begins a 10-day period of atonement where we focus on prayer, self-introspection and repentance.

Customs associated with the holiday include sounding the shofar, eating a round challah, and tasting apples and honey to represent a sweet New Year.

Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement” and refers to the annual Jewish observance of fasting, prayer and repentance. It is considered the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.
Sukkot
Sukkot, a Hebrew word meaning “huts,” refers to the Jewish festival of giving thanks for the fall harvest. It also commemorates the 40 years of Jewish wandering in the desert after the giving of the Torah atop Mount Sinai. Sukkot is celebrated five days after Yom Kippur and is marked by several distinct traditions. We build a Sukkah where we eat, entertain and some sleep during the seven-day festival.
Shemini Atzeret - Simchat Torah
Immediately following Sukkot, we celebrate Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, where we complete the annual reading of the Torah. As part of the celebration, the Torah scrolls are taken from the ark and carried or danced around the synagogue seven times.
Chanukah
Chanukah is a joyous eight-day celebration where we celebrate the victory of the Maccabees.

During the holiday, we eat foods prepared in oil including latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) to remember how there was only enough oil for one day but it lasted eight days.

Tu B'Shevat
Tu B’Shevat or the “New Year of the Trees” is Jewish Arbor Day.
Purim
Under the rule of King Ahashverosh, Haman, the king’s prime minister, plotted to kill the local Jewish community. The heroine of the story, Queen Esther, thwarts his plan and saves the Jews.

We read the megillah – the Book of Esther – twice during the holiday, which tells the story of the holiday. We exchange gifts of food and drink (mishloach manot), donate to charity (mattanot l’evyonim), and have a celebratory meal (seudat Purim).

Passover
Passover commemorates the Jewish exodus from Egypt. 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).
Shavuot
Shavuot is the Jewish festival marking the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, which occurs seven weeks after Passover. Shavuot, like many other Jewish holidays, began as an ancient agricultural festival that marked the end of the spring barley harvest and the beginning of the summer wheat harvest. In ancient times, Shavuot was a pilgrimage festival during which Jews brought crop offerings to the Temple. Today, it is a celebration of Torah, education, and actively choosing to participate in Jewish life.
Tish'a B'av

Tish’a B’Ab is not mentioned explicitly in the Torah, as it mostly commemorates events that occurred centuries and millennia after the Torah was written.

The Talmud mentions that Five Tragedies occurred to our ancestors on the 9th day of Ab throughout the ages.

Please click here to download our Tish’a B’av information pack.