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Click here for a 5 year Jewish Calendar

Please note: This following includes explanations of how some of the most popular and well known Jewish holidays are traditionally
observed.  However, many people create their own unique customs and celebrations:

Shabbat (Sabbath):

Shabbat is considered to be the most holy of Jewish holidays. Celebrated each week from Friday night at sunset, until Saturday night at sundown, Shabbat is a day of rest and a separation from the rest of the week.  
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Havdalah:
Havdalah (haav-dah-lah) is Hebrew for the word "separation" and is a short, simple yet spiritual ceremony that takes place in the home directly after Shabbat, when three stars are visible in the sky.  It marks a separation between Shabbat and the rest of the week, or, a separation from the "holy to the ordinary." 
   

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Rosh Hashanah (New Year)

Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of the Jewish New Year and is one of the holiest days of the year. It is a time for reflection and includes the tradition of eating apples dipped in honey to symbolize the wish for a “sweet” new year. (Begins at sunset of the preceding evening)
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Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)

One of the holiest days of the year, Yom Kippur is the most solemn of Jewish holidays in which Jewish people typically devote to prayer, fasting and repentance. (Begins at sunset of the preceding evening)
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Sukkot

This seven day festival celebrates the 40 years in which the Jewish people wandered in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt. Many people build sukkahs (sukkot) in their backyards during this holiday and decorate them with fruits and gourds, children’s artwork, lights and other ornamentation, and then eat in them as a reminder of the temporary shelters in which the Jewish people lived in the desert. (Begins at sunset of the preceding evening)


Simchat Torah (Rejoicing in the Law)

Simchat Torah marks the completion, and the beginning anew, of the reading of the Torah (Five Books of Moses). It is a festive holiday that typically includes dancing, drinking and celebration. (Begins at sunset of the preceding evening)


Hanukkah (Festival of Lights)

Hanukkah is an eight day festival commemorating the re-dedication of the second Temple in Jerusalem by the Maccabees, and celebrates their victory over the Syrians in 165 B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) also known as the festival of lights, this holiday celebrates the miracle of a tiny ration of oil that lasted eight days and includes the lighting of additional candle each night on a special nine-branched Chanukah menorah (candelabra).
  
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TuB'Shvat

The New Year for the Trees, Tu B'Shevat is marked by eating fruits, particularly from the those indigenous to the Land of Israel and referred to in the Torah, including grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.


Purim

Purim commemorates a time when the Jewish people were saved from extermination by the Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai. The holiday is marked by the reading of the Book of Esther as well as by festivals and carnivals in which participants dress in costume, play games and celebrate. (Begins at sunset of the preceding evening)


P
assover

Passover marks the delivery of the Jews from 400 years of slavery in Egypt and is a celebration of freedom and redemption. Passover is celebrated in the home and is marked by a retelling of the Passover story at a special meal called a Seder. Matzo (unleavened bread) is eaten to commemorate the Jewish people’s hasty departure from Egypt.


H
olocaust Remembrance Day

This holiday honors the memory of the Six Million Jews and others who were killed in the Holocaust.


I
srael Memorial Day

This holiday honors the memory of those who gave their lives in defense of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.


I
srael Independence Day

This holiday marks the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.


Shavuot

Shavuot commemorates the day the Torah was given to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. (Begins at sunset of the preceding evening)


Tisha B’ Av

Tisha B’ Av is a day of fasting in remembrance of the two times in which the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed.