Jewish Holidays


• Origins: God rested on the 7th day of creation

• Begins at sunset on Friday and lasts until sunset on


• Jews are required to refrain from many activities: driving, answering the phone, turning on an electric light etc.

• A day of worship and celebration

• A time to study Torah and provide services

• Special foods are prepared before the onset of the Sabbath

• The traditional purpose of the

Sabbath was a compassionate one: it was to allow everyone, even slaves and animals, regular rest.

• Jewish New Year

• Is observed for two days

• A religious event involving both festivities and serious contemplation

• Reflection on the deeds of the past year and on the need for redemption

• The shofar, ram’s horn, is blown

– It produces a solemn tone of warning to remind people that they stand before God

• A time to pay off debts

Day of atonement= community ritual

To atone means to make up for one’s faults

This day has traditionally been kept by prayer and strict fasting, with no food or drink during the entire day a day deeply personal and solemn

It emphasizes repentance through confession of sin

Confessions are said as a group= Unity

• Reminder of the harvest

• Festival of Booths (shelters)

• In early days it was common for families to sleep outdoors in the fields during the autumn harvest season-

– which enabled them to begin work in the fields early, to stay late, and to protect what they have harvested

• Eating or sleeping in the shelters came to symbolize the period of wandering in the desert, before the Israelites entered the land of


• A sukkah (Hebrew for shelter) is a shelter made of light wood

– it is set up in or near the home

– It is commonly decorated with branches and fruits

• Recalls the story of Ester

– Ester becomes a queen

– She finds out that Haman is turning the king against the Jews

• Haman wants the king to kill the Jews

– Ester risks her life when she goes to the king’s court without permission

– She saves the Jewish people from the destruction

• Aka Feast of Lots

• Customary to have carnivals and masquerade parties

Aka Passover

Commemorates the Escape from Egypt

The blood of the lamb killed for the Passover meal was placed over the doors of the Hebrews keeping the angel of death from entering their homes while the power of God “passed over”


• Jewish Pentecost

• Aka feast of weeks

• Moses receives the 10


• Birthday of the Jewish religion

Shavuot = Pentecost