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Holidays

The holidays are our opportunity, as Jews, to mark time and to infuse our lives with the potential of holiness and meaning.

Upcoming Holidays:

Sukkot Resources

Purim

Purim reminds us of the capriciousness of life, the recognition of the reality that no matter how hard we work to control our lives, no matter how diligently we plan and prepare, life is unpredictable. There is more chaos than order in this world. Amazingly, Judaism tells us to respond to this terrifying reality simultaneously with revelry and with a renewed commitment to social change. We can’t control history, but we must control how we treat humanity.

Hanukkah

The 8-day festival of lights that commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple is an affirmation that we can fix things that are broken, we can heal, and we can rebuild. The essence of the holiday though, is pirsumei nisa, publicizing the miraculous. We read that as a call to radiate light and hope – an act of holy defiance against darkness. Wherever you are in the world, when you place your candles in your Hanukkiah, pause. Take a moment to reflect on the triumph of our tradition over the forces that would seek to extinguish it. That eternal light, which has guided our people for thousands of years, will never be extinguished.

Passover/Pesah

The Passover story and the Exodus from Egypt holds the deepest truth that Judaism makes about human beings in the world:  the eternal possibility that individuals and even entire nations can move from slavery to freedom, from mourning to celebration, from degradation to dignity. It should not be possible to come out of the Passover Seder the same people we were before we went in.

Rosh Hashanah

The start of the new year brings our annual chance to step out of our daily routines and try to recapture a sense of possibility. Happy birthday, world.

Shmini Atzeret & Simhat Torah

Simhat Torah is the grand finale, the High of Highs, the culmination of this intense, challenging, inspiring season. Every prayer and prostration, moment of reflection and point of connection has led us here, to a night of few words and tremendous spirit.

Tisha B’Av

This is the darkest day in the Jewish calendar, on which we remember many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people, such as the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem. It is a day of fasting and sadness and we read the Book of Lamentations.

Tu B’Av

Coming out of the darkness of Tisha b’Av, the rabbis knew there was only one response: love. Tu b’Av, sometimes called Jewish Valentine’s Day, is a celebration of hope and possibility.

Tu BiShvat

We celebrate the New Year of the Trees by rejoicing in the beauty of nature and expressing gratitude to God for the environment. We plant trees and eat new fruit and recommit to caring for and protecting the earth so that we can continue to enjoy its gifts.

Yom Kippur

Intensive self-relection – heshbon hanefesh -- is the name of the game on Yom Kippur and the High Holy Days overall. The centerpiece is teshuvah, the idea that change is possible within all living systems. That’s true for individuals, communities and entire societies. For 25 hours we abstain from food and drink, and we wear white and take an honest look inside to reflect on who we have become and who we could be.

Yom HaAtzma’ut

A celebration of the formal establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

Yom HaShoah

Holocaust Remembrance Day - which we mark with reflection, the recounting of survivor testimonies, and, in Israel, a two-minute siren that stops commerce and conversation across the State.

Yom HaZikaron

Israel’s Memorial Day, to honor its fallen soldiers.
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