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Jewish Feasts & Festivals. SCTR 19 – “Religions of the Book” Prepared by Felix Just, S.J. Hebrew Calendar: “Lunisolar”. Twelve “months/moons” (alternating 30 or 29 days) Total 353, 354 or 355 days (cf. 365 ¼ solar days) or 383, 384, or 385 days in “Leap Years”

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Jewish Feasts & Festivals


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    1. Jewish Feasts & Festivals SCTR 19 – “Religions of the Book” Prepared by Felix Just, S.J.

    2. Hebrew Calendar: “Lunisolar” • Twelve “months/moons” (alternating 30 or 29 days) • Total 353, 354 or 355 days (cf. 365¼ solar days) • or 383, 384, or 385 days in “Leap Years” • Extra month (Adar II) added in Leap Years • Years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17 & 19 of each 19-year cycle • So months remain in the same solar seasons: • Tishri in Fall (Sept/Oct); Nissan in Spring (Mar/Apr), etc. • Rosh Codesh(1st day each month) • Specials Psalms; Women free from work

    3. Months and Festivals/Holy Days

    4. Shabbat (Sabbath) • Weekly Day of Rest (“Observe” & “Remember”) • Fri. before sunset to Sat. nightfall (ca. 25 hours) • God "ceased work" on 7th day of creation (Gen 2:1-3) • No work allowed (39 types of “work”; how strict?) • Home/Family: 2 candles; 3 festive meals; wine/bread • Shabbat Services • Several different synagogue services (min. 10 men) • Readings from Torah & Prophets (annual cycle) • Prayers, Blessings, Sermon, etc. • Lots of Psalms prayed/chanted

    5. Major Jewish Feasts(Overview): • Rosh Hashanah / Jewish New Year • Yom Kippur / Day of Atonement • Sukkot / Tabernacles/Booths • Pesach / Passover • Shavu'ot / Weeks/Pentecost • Hanukkah / Feast of Lights • Purim / Feast of Lots • Simchat Torah / Rejoicing in the Torah • Tisha B’Av / 9th of Av: Destruction of Two Temples

    6. Pesach / Passover

    7. Sukkoth / Tabernacles/Booths

    8. Shavu'ot / Weeks/Pentecost

    9. Interim Review:Three Ancient Pilgrimage Feasts • Multiple Backgrounds for Each: • Agricultural; Historical; Biblical events • Passover (Pesach) • Spring; Song of Songs • Weeks/Pentecost (Shavu’ot) • Summer; Book of Ruth • Tabernacles/Booths (Sukkoth) • Fall; Book of Ecclesiastes/Qoheleth

    10. Rosh Hashanah / New Year

    11. Yom Kippur / Day of Atonement

    12. Feasts of the First Month (Tishri) High Holy Days / Sukkot / Simchat Torah

    13. Hanukkah / Feast of Lights

    14. Purim / Feast of Lots

    15. Simchat Torah / Rejoicing Torah

    16. Other Jewish Feasts • Tisha B’Av – “Ninth (Day) of (Month of) Av” • Destruction of First & Second Temples of Jerusalemin 586 BCE (by Babylonians) and 70 CE (by Roman), respectively • Synagogue Reading: Book of Lamentations • Five Minor Fasts (1/2-day fasts) • Fast of Gedalia (Tishri 3) - during High Holy Days • Fast of Tevet(Tevet 10) - Siege of Jerusalem Began • Fast of Esther(Adar 13) - day before Purim • Fast of the Firstborn(Nisan 14) - day before Passover • Fast of Tammuz(Tammuz 17) - Walls of Jerusalem Breached

    17. National Holidays of State of Israel • Yom HaShoah / "Day of the Shoah" (Nisan 27) • Six million Jews killed in Holocaust & Resistance Heros • Yom HaZikaron / "Memorial Day" (Iyar 4 or 3) • Fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism • Yom HaAtzma’ut / "Independence Day" (Iyar 5 or 4) • Declaration of Independence in 1948(moved up a day if Iyar 5 is a sabbath) • Yom Yerushalayim / "Jerusalem Day" (Iyar 28) • Capture/unification of all Jerusalem in 1967

    18. Conclusion / Commonalities? • Most Jewish Feasts Commemorate Major Historical Events: • Most in Hebrew Bible; some post-biblical • Some disasters/defeats; some victories/joys! • Most Jewish Feasts are closely connected with the Hebrew Bible • Biblical injunctions to celebrate a feast • Biblical readings in synagogue services

    19. Hebrew Calendar: Review