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August 2017

Tisha B’Av

August 1

Just thought you might like to know… Tisha B’Av (literally, the 9th day of the month of Av, in Hebrew: תשעה באב) commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, and the subsequent exile of the Jews from Israel. It is seen as the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, and has also become a day of mourning for later tragic events in our history including, but not limited to, the expulsion of Jews from England, France,…

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September 2017

Rosh Hashanah

September 21 - September 22

Just thought you might like to know… Rosh Hashanah (Hebrew: ראש השנה), (literally “head of the year”), is the Jewish New Year. It is the first of the High Holidays or Yamim Noraim (“Days of Awe”), celebrated ten days before Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah is observed on the first two days of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. This year, Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Wednesday, September 20 and ends at sundown on Friday, September 22. BTW,…

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Yom Kippur

September 30

Just thought you might like to know… Yom Kippur (Hebrew: יוֹם כִּפּוּר or יום הכיפורים), Also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Some Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. Yom Kippur completes the annual period known in Judaism as the High Holy Days (or sometimes “the…

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October 2017

Sukkot

October 5 - October 11

Just thought you might like to know… Sukkot (Hebrew: סוכות or סֻכּוֹת, sukkōt, or sukkos) is the Feast of Booths. It is a celebration of the harvest and a commemoration of the temporary shelters that our ancestors lived in while they wandered in the desert for 40 years. Many Jews have the tradition of building a sukkah, a temporary hut with a roof made of natural or plant-based materials. Some have the custom of eating and even sleeping in the…

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Shemini Atzeret

October 12

Just thought you might like to know… Shemini Atzeret (שמיני עצרת – “the Eighth of Assembly”) is celebrated on the 22nd day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei. It’s sometimes thought of as the eighth day of Sukkot, even though it’s actually a separate holiday. Some consider it a way to mark the end of Sukkot. In the Diaspora, an additional day is celebrated, the second day being separately referred to as Simchat Torah. In Israel and Reform Judaism,…

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Simchat Torah

October 13

Just thought you might like to know… Simchat Torah (Hebrew: שִׂמְחַת תורָה, lit., “Rejoicing with/of the Torah,”) is a celebration marking the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings, and the beginning of a new cycle, reminding us that the Torah is a circle, and never ends. Simchat Torah is a time of great celebration and typically involves high-spirited singing and dancing with Torahs (and often drinking!). This year, the holiday begins at sundown on Thursday, October 12…

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December 2017

Chanukah

December 13 - December 20

Just thought you might like to know… Chanukah (Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה) (a.k.a. Hanukkah), is the Festival of Lights. This eight-day Jewish holiday commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century BCE. According to tradition, after the Maccabees defeated the Greeks, there was only enough oil left to light the menorah in the Temple for one day. But miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days! Though the holiday is not found in the Torah and does not…

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