Begins at sunset on April 18, 2011
Tonight Jews around the world celebrate Passover. The origin and the name of Passover goes back to the Egyptian days, when the Jews were slaves in Egypt.
According to the second book of the Torah, Exodus, God unleashed ten plagues upon Pharaoh and his people in an attempt to convince Pharaoh to emancipate the Hebrews. Or as the late great Charlton Heston said, to “let my people go.”
The last …Read more
February 7-8, 2012 January 25-26, 2013 15th day of the month Shevat
The evolution of this holiday is a bit unusual. In ancient times Tu B’Shevat wasn’t really a “holy day” at all, but more of a tax day. Fruit-bearing trees were taxed differently depending on their age. And fruit could not be taken until after the tree’s third year. The fifteenth day of the month of Shevat was chosen as the “birthday” for all trees in the …Read more
January 5, 2012
December 17, 2010
Wailing Wall, Jerusalem, early 20th century
The Big Guy of the three consecutive Jewish holy days is the last, the Tenth of Tevet. It is a day of fasting.
The Tenth of Tevet marks the first day of the siege of Jerusalem in 589 BC by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar (630-562 BC). The city would fall thirty months later in 587. It was actually the …Read more
December 20, 2011 December 8, 2012 November 27, 2013
Hanukkah, or “Chanukkah” as those in the know call it, is one of the most misunderstood Jewish holidays. In fact, we don’t even know what “Hanukkah” means. Many believe it means “dedication”; others say it’s an acronym for “They rested on the 25th”. (Hanukkah starts on the 25th of Kislev.)
Hanukkah is a minor holiday in Judaism–in theory if not in practice–and isn’t …Read more
15th of Tishri (October 12-19, 2011)
In the month of Tishri, Jewish holidays go from one extreme to the other. The month begins with the spirited Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) to Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), the most solemn fasting day in the Hebrew calendar. But on the 15th of the Tishri, celebrants are encouraged to eat, drink and be merry for Sukkot, the Feast of the Tabernacles.
Sukkah means ‘booth’ or ‘hut’. It …Read more
September 29, 2011 September 17, 2012 September 5, 2013
Happy New Year!
It’s New Year’s in the Jewish calendar, but you won’t hear Jews counting down to midnight, or dropping a big sparkly ball from the Western Wall.
For one, the Jewish day—and thus all Jewish holidays—begin at sundown the night before. Second, Rosh Hashanah is not so much a time of celebration as a time of reflection and repentance.
Despite its name, “Head of …Read more
9th of Av (August 8-9, 2011; July 28-29, 2012)
One of the most tragic dates in the Hebrew calendar, the ninth day of the month of Av commemorates not just one but several tragedies that befell the Jewish people on that date, from the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BC to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.
According to the Bible, the First Temple was built by King David’s son and heir Solomon …Read more
May 9, 2011
And the Lord said to him: this is the land that I promised to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob in these words: I will give it to your descendants.I have allowed you with your own eyes to see it, but you will not pass into it.
Today marks the 60th anniversary (in the Jewish calendar) of the signing of Israel’s Declaration of …Read more