Jewish Feasts & Festivals

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Jewish Feasts & FestivalsSCTR 19 – “Religions of the Book” Prepared by Felix Just, S.J.

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Hebrew Calendar: “Lunisolar”Twelve “months/moons” (alternating 30 or 29 days) Total 353, 354 or 355 days (cf. 365¼ solar days) or 383, 384, or 385 days in “Leap Years” Extra month (Adar II) added in Leap Years Years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17 & 19 of each 19-year cycle So months remain in the same solar seasons: Tishri in Fall (Sept/Oct); Nissan in Spring (Mar/Apr), etc. Rosh Codesh (1st day each month) Specials Psalms; Women free from work

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Months and Festivals/Holy Days

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Shabbat (Sabbath)Weekly Day of Rest (“Observe” & “Remember”) Fri. before sunset to Sat. nightfall (ca. 25 hours) God "ceased work" on 7th day of creation (Gen 2:1-3) No work allowed (39 types of “work”; how strict?) Home/Family: 2 candles; 3 festive meals; wine/bread Shabbat Services Several different synagogue services (min. 10 men) Readings from Torah & Prophets (annual cycle) Prayers, Blessings, Sermon, etc. Lots of Psalms prayed/chanted

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Major Jewish Feasts (Overview):Rosh Hashanah / Jewish New Year Yom Kippur / Day of Atonement Sukkot / Tabernacles/Booths Pesach / Passover Shavu'ot / Weeks/Pentecost Hanukkah / Feast of Lights Purim / Feast of Lots Simchat Torah / Rejoicing in the Torah Tisha B’Av / 9th of Av: Destruction of Two Temples

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Pesach / Passover

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Sukkoth / Tabernacles/Booths

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Shavu'ot / Weeks/Pentecost

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Interim Review: Three Ancient Pilgrimage FeastsMultiple Backgrounds for Each: Agricultural; Historical; Biblical events Passover (Pesach) Spring; Song of Songs Weeks/Pentecost (Shavu’ot) Summer; Book of Ruth Tabernacles/Booths (Sukkoth) Fall; Book of Ecclesiastes/Qoheleth

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Rosh Hashanah / New Year

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Yom Kippur / Day of Atonement

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Feasts of the First Month (Tishri)High Holy Days / Sukkot / Simchat Torah

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Hanukkah / Feast of Lights

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Purim / Feast of Lots

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Simchat Torah / Rejoicing Torah

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Other Jewish FeastsTisha B’Av – “Ninth (Day) of (Month of) Av” Destruction of First & Second Temples of Jerusalem in 586 BCE (by Babylonians) and 70 CE (by Roman), respectively Synagogue Reading: Book of Lamentations Five Minor Fasts (1/2-day fasts) Fast of Gedalia (Tishri 3) - during High Holy Days Fast of Tevet (Tevet 10) - Siege of Jerusalem Began Fast of Esther (Adar 13) - day before Purim Fast of the Firstborn (Nisan 14) - day before Passover Fast of Tammuz (Tammuz 17) - Walls of Jerusalem Breached

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National Holidays of State of IsraelYom HaShoah / "Day of the Shoah" (Nisan 27) Six million Jews killed in Holocaust & Resistance Heros Yom HaZikaron / "Memorial Day" (Iyar 4 or 3) Fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism Yom HaAtzma’ut / "Independence Day" (Iyar 5 or 4) Declaration of Independence in 1948 (moved up a day if Iyar 5 is a sabbath) Yom Yerushalayim / "Jerusalem Day" (Iyar 28) Capture/unification of all Jerusalem in 1967

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Conclusion / Commonalities?Most Jewish Feasts Commemorate Major Historical Events: Most in Hebrew Bible; some post-biblical Some disasters/defeats; some victories/joys! Most Jewish Feasts are closely connected with the Hebrew Bible Biblical injunctions to celebrate a feast Biblical readings in synagogue services

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Hebrew Calendar: Review

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Last Updated: 8th March 2018

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