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Jewish Festivals, Rituals, Practices. Jewish Festivals. Nature is the key (not clocks and calendars) days begin at nightfall lunar month: 29 1/2 days solar year (365 1/4 days) festivals follow seasons. Jewish Calendar. Name Month Length Gregorian of Month Number of Month Equivalent

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jewish festivals
Jewish Festivals
  • Nature is the key (not clocks and calendars)
  • days begin at nightfall
  • lunar month:
      • 29 1/2 days
  • solar year (365 1/4 days)
  • festivals follow seasons
jewish calendar
Jewish Calendar

Name Month Length Gregorian

of Month Number of Month Equivalent

Nissan 1 30 days March-April

Iyar 2 29 days April-May

Sivan 3 30 days May-June

Tammuz 4 29 days June-July

Av 5 30 days July-August

Elul 6 29 days August-September

Tishrei 7 30 days September-October

Cheshvan 8 29 or 30 days October-November

Kislev 9 29 or 30 days November-December

Tevet 10 29 days December-January

Shevat 11 30 days January-February

Adar 12 29 or 30 days February-March

Adar II 13 29 days March-April

jewish festivals1
Jewish Festivals
  • Nature is the key (not clocks and calendars)
  • days begin at nightfall
  • lunar month:
      • 29 1/2 days
  • solar year (365 1/4 days)
  • festivals follow seasons
  • Sabbath (and New Moon)
  • Pilgrim Festivals
  • “Days of Awe”
  • Fast Days
pilgrim festivals
Pilgrim Festivals

Source: Norman Solomon, Judaism.

days of awe
“Days of Awe”
  • Rosh Hoshana (New Year)-- September 9-10, 2010/5771
    • New Year’s Eve: food symbolizing sweetness (e.g., bread dipped in honey); pray: “May it be Your will to renew for us a good and sweet year.”
    • Morning Service: four to six hours; focus on God as creator, king and judge; sounding of the shofar (ram’s horn) periodically.
  • Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)—September 18, 2010/5771
    • high attendance (strong cultural celebration)
    • various forms of fasting and restraint are practiced
    • emphasizes Teshuva (repentance)
    • Kol Nidrei (opens synagogue service Yom Kippur eve)
    • Ne’ilah (“closing of the gates”); chanting “Avinu Malkenu” (“Our Father, Our King”)
other festivals
Other Festivals
  • Chanukah (rededication of Temple by Hasmoneans in 165 BCE, [also the miracle of the oil, and thus victory of light over darkness])
  • Purim (rescue of Jews from extermination under Ahasuerus, Esther, carnival atmosphere, distributing alms to the needy, merriment)
  • The New Year for Trees (mentioned in the Talmud but only popular after the “return to the land,” school holiday in Israel, tree planting)
  • Yom Ha-Atzma (Israel Independence Day, somewhat controversial)
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