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The Jewish High Holy Days

The Jewish High Holy Days

The Jewish holidays, also known as Jewish festivals, or Yom Tovim (literally “good days” in Hebrew) throughout the year, are owed to three principal origins: Biblical commandments, those laid down by the rabbis (or “teachers”), and the modern history of Israel. The most notable and common feature of holy days is that Jewish people refrain from work, although “work” is generally classified as that being of purely a "creative-constructive” nature. The Jewish year begins in Autumn with the celebration of the High Holy Days of New Year and Day of Atonement.

Jewish holy days are very much ....
limited to ‘life-cycle’ events
not based on the earth’s revolution around the sun but on the moon’s circulation around the earth
about bringing family and friends together
celebrated almost exclusively in the synagogue
The Jewish calendar is based on moon cycles, so while Jewish holy days fall on the same day of the Jewish calendar each year, they fall on a different day each year according to the secular calendar. This is very much like the Christian festival of Easter or the Muslim festival of Eid which never fall on the same date during the secular year
The festival of Chanukah (or Hannukah), also known as the Festival of Lights, which is typified by the special 8-branched candelabra that is successively lit light-by-light each night for the duration of the festival, and which falls around December, is ....
to commemorate the re-dedication of the Holy Second Temple in Jerusalem
all about how biblical Jews were so reliant on oil and wax for light
the Jewish equivalent of Christmas
celebrated only every second year
It is observed for eight nights and days, but is not a restrictive “Sabbath-like” Jewish festival in as much as Jews can go about their daily lives without the restrictions on work normally placed upon them by other major Jewish festivals. There are no religious reasons, for example, for schools to close. Celebrates the use of candles for festivals throughout the Jewish year
When did Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim) first come into existence?
After Israel won the War of Independence
When the British ended their Mandate in Palestine
After the Six-Day War
After the First Arab Intifada
The Chief Rabbi’s Office in Israel declared Jerusalem Day should be a minor religious holiday to thank God for victory in the Six-Day War and for answering the 2,000-year-old prayer, recited at the end of most Jewish religious services, of, "Next Year in Jerusalem". The day includes state ceremonies, parades, singing and dancing, memorial services for soldiers who died in the battle as well as the reciting of special prayers and blessings in synagogues. There are also academic lectures on Jerusalem-related topics as well as special programmes on television
The days of the season surrounding the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) are often called the ....
High Holy Days
Very Serious Holidays
Pilgrimage Holidays
Jewish Christmas
The Jewish High Holy Days, called the Yamim Noraim, are strictly the holidays connected with Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the former, a family and friend time for celebrating and welcoming in the Jewish new year, the latter, being a day purely for abstinence and repentance. Activities in synagogue during this period all emphasise the ‘personal, reflective and introspective’ aspects of this period
The festival of Passover, which occurs around Easter-time, is traditionally ....
the equivalent of a Jewish Easter
to celebrate the arrival of the new Spring and to signify that winter has been successfully “passed over”
to remember the Exodus from Egypt in biblical times
to celebrate the receipt of the Ten Commandments
Passover is an eight-day festival that recognises the freeing of the Israelites, the ancient Jewish people, from slavery in Egypt. It is dated biblically at about 1,446 BC (some 3,500 years ago)
The festival, or more correctly, the 'feast' of Tabernacles (“Sukkot”), referred to in the Bible as the Feast of Ingathering, which occurs after the days of Atonement (from Jewish New Year to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement) in late Autumn is associated with ....
celebration and the ending of the Days of Atonement
the Harvest and a turning point in the year as the synagogue restarts readings from the Book of the Law
preparing Jews for the Jewish New Year they have just entered
remembering those who over the generations are now deceased and no longer with their families
It is without doubt one of the oldest and most joyous of all the Jewish holidays and in days gone by, marked the conclusion of the harvest season for ancient Jews. Religious Jews will take their meals during the eight days in a lightly-constructed roofed booths (a ‘Sukkah’) to recall the flimsy shelters their ancient forefathers had to use when wandering in the wilderness. The final days of Sukkoth celebrates the annual conclusion of readings from the Torah in synagogue, when they again return to the start of Genesis
There are five minor day fasts in the Jewish calendar. Which one below is not one of those?
The Fast of Gedaliah commemorating the assassination of Gedaliah Ben Achikam, the Governor of Israel during the days of Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylonia
The Fast of Tammuz remembering the fall of Jerusalem in 586BC
Tu B'Shevat the “New Year for Trees”
The Fast of Esther commemorating her own three days of fasting before approaching King Ahasuerus on behalf of the Jewish people
The new year for trees is not a fast and celebrates the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in Israel emerge from their winter ‘slumbers’ and begin a new fruit-bearing season
Jews see out the ending of the Shabbat (the Sabbath) day ....
in a similar but somewhat less formal manner than they welcome it in
without much ceremony or formality, seeing as the Sabbath has just ended
by enjoying a celebratory main evening meal with family
with a party for family and friends
Observant Jewish people hold a very short ceremony called Havdalah, ("Separation") which is held as the first three evening stars appear on Saturday evening at dusk. This “closing” ceremony is to separate the spiritual time of Sabbath from the routine week of workdays that follow. This small ceremony involves lighting a special candle with several wicks, blessing a cup of wine and smelling sweet spices
Most Jewish minor fasts are connected with ....
the Sabbath, the weekly day of rest
the Jewish New Year
the Sages and their instructions for remembrance
the Holocaust
With only one exception, these minor fasts were all inaugurated by the Sages. While one fast is coincident with remembering victims of the Holocaust, these minor fasts are all to commemorate some major national tragedy as outlined in biblical times
The Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) holiday celebration begins with ....
the lighting of the ceremonial candles
blowing the ram’s horn in celebration
the blessing over bread
the appearance of the first evening star in the sky
The Jewish New year is also called the ‘Feast of the Trumpets’. The blowing of this ram's horn, called a ‘shofar’, announces the arrival of the New Year and originally summoned Jewish people to religious services in the synagogue. However, in practical terms, this call to prayer does not happen nowadays, except in the most religiously observant communities. However, the ram’s horn will indeed be blown at some stage during the actual synagogue service


Author:  Ed Moss

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