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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)