When looking at the Jewish Holidays on the Jewish Calendar it can be confusing, but there is hope here you will see what each one is and when it is held in a glance. As each Hebrew month on the calendar begins, it is recalled with Rosh Chodesh “head of the month.” Often, women groups have been formed to meet once a month on Rosh Chodesh to discuss contemporary life’s issues and Torah. Jewish holidays can be observed in many ways, big or small.
What matters is acknowledging them as our secular ones, i.e. Thanksgiving, July 4th etc. Include them as part of your daily living with either its symbolic food or a gathering of family and friends with a festive meal. Discover all that is available in retail products as well.
The Jewish Calendar is provided at the bottom of this page as a guide.
When: begins on the Saturday before Rosh HaShannah, the month of Elul Description: The word S’lichot means forgiveness and refers to the time you spend preparing your thoughts and prayers before the new cycle of the Jewish year begins.
When: the first day of Tishri
Description: this is the Jewish New Year, the Jewish Holiday, and is observed as the ten days devoted to prayer, repentance and self examination. The Rosh Hashanah is another name for Yom Teruah, which means Day of Shouting. Blowing the Shofar is a big part of Rosh HasShannah. This Holy Day begins the ten Days of Awe that ends with Yom Kippur. When we greet others, we say L’Shanah Tovah (a good year)
When: follows Rosh Hashanah and ends the Days of Awe.
Description: the Day of Atonement and is observed by fasting, prayer, and repentance. It is the holiest day of the Jewish calendar and is referred to in the Torah.
When: begins 5 days after Yom Kippur on the 15th of Tishri and lasts for seven days.
Description: means free standing booth or huts (Sukkahs), as the Jewish people used free standing tents while wandering in the Desert of Sinai for 40 years. It is the Jewish Festival of giving thanks for the fall harvest.
When: follows the very next day following the 7th day of Sukkot.
Description: is the rejoicing in the Law. It is for the annual reading of the Torah, celebrated in a festival and is designed to remind us that the Torah is never ending. This is the day that the Torah scroll is rolled back to the beginning so the Torah cycle can begin again.
When: begins on the 24th Kislev after a rest from the month of Cheshvan Description: means Dedication. This is expressed in eight days of celebration for the victory over the Greek armies by the Maccabees and the rededication of the Temple. It is said that only enough consecrated oil could be found to last for one day but it burned for eight days. This is known as a Miracle happended here.
When: is on the 15th of Shevat.
Description: means New Year of the trees. As winter comes to an end, the trees thaw and begin their new cycle of growth bearing their new seed, their new fruit. Today, it also a time to plant trees in honor or in memory of a loved one.
When: the month of Adar
Description: is the celebration of the Scroll of Esther and is commemorated by reading it. This is a remembrance of when Queen Esther and her Uncle Mordechai foiled the plan to execute all Jews.
Pesach is Passover
When: the month of Nisan
Description: is celebrated to remember the Exodus from Egypt. There is a home service and meal prepared called a Seder (retelling the story of the Exodus in the Hagaddah). Matzah is eaten for seven days in memory that that there was no time for the bread to rise when leaving Egypt. For seven days, to abstain from eating yeast type or other leaving foods containing grains such as bread, pastas, beer, popcorn etc.
When: the month of Nissan
Description: which is the day of remembrance for the Jews who were killed in the Holocaust during World War II.
When: the month of Iyar
Description: is the memorial day to remember the fallen who struggled for independence and those who have fought to keep it.
When: the following day after Yom HaZikaron, the month of Iyar
Description: Israeli Independence Day, when it became its own state in 1948.
When: also in the month of Iyar
Description: often heard as the Counting of the Omer, a celebration of the seven weeks from the time of the Exodus from Egypt on Passover, up until the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Instead, it became a time of mourning when thousands of students of Rabbi Akiba, a Talmudic scholar, had died from a plague sent by God. The plague ended on the 33rd day of the Omer which is Lag Ba’Omer, making it day of special joy and festivity.
When: the month of Sivan
Description: means weeks, seven weeks to be exact after Passover and to remember when at Mount Sinai, where the Torah was received.
When: the month of Av
Description: is a day of mourning for the destruction of first and second Temple of Jerusalem on the same day 656 years apart. The destruction of the second temple is what caused the Jewish people to leave the Holy Land and spread out to other lands
That concludes Jewish Holidays at a glance. Use the calendar months below to understand which secular month each Jewish Holiday appears.
Jewish Calendar Hebrew Months for the Jewish Holidays
As our secular New Year begins in January, but we refer as the year begins in September, as in school schedules. Though the Jewish New Year begins with the Jewish Holiday, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish Calendar Cycle begins with the month of Nissan