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    When are the Jewish Holidays in 5778?

    When are the Jewish holidays in 2108?Jewish Holidays 5778
    It's a little tricky to remember when the Jewish holidays are since the Hebrew calendar does not line up with the secular calendar we use. So here is a handy chart you can reference to remember the major holidays. Each holiday starts and ends at sundown.

    Rosh Hashanah: 9/20/17- 9/22/17
    The Jewish New Year

    Yom Kippur: 9/29/17- 9/30/17
    Day of Atonement

    Sukkot: 10/4/17- 10/11/17
    Feast of the Tabernacles

    Simchat Torah: 10/11/17- 10/13/17
    A new cycle of Torah readings begins

    Hanukkah: 12/12/17- 12/20/17
    The Festival of Lights

    Tu B'shvat: 1/30/18- 1/31/18
    The Festival of Trees

    Purim: 2/28/18-3/1/18
    A Super Fun Holiday!

    Passover: 3/30/18- 4/7/18
    The Exodus from Israel

    Yom Ha'atzmaut: 4/18/18- 4/19/18
    Israel Independence Day

    Shavuot: 5/19/18- 5/21/18
    The giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai

    Tisha B'av: 7/21/18- 7/22/18
    Commemorates the Destruction of the Temples
     
    Tu B'Av: 7/26/18- 7/27/18
    Jewish Valentine's Day

    The Chicken Who Paid the Price

    My mind was racing. How could it not? I was swinging a live chicken over my head while saying,

    “This is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my atonement. This hen will go to its death, while I will enter and proceed to a good long life and to peace.” 
     

    I don’t normally sacrifice chickens, but this year on Yom Kippur I answered yes to my friend Joel’s Kapparot invitation on Facebook. In fact, I'm an atheist, a realist, a scientist: I don't believe in mystical transference, or divine redemption, none of it! So why was I about to go all ancient Jew on this hen from Joel’s backyard chicken coop in Atlanta? The simple answer is that I love new experiences and am always up for an adventure, but of course there was more. As I reflected over the past year I found myself struggling with atonement. My biggest sin was against myself: I hadn’t taken good care of my body and health and it affects me more and more, especially with my 40th birthday looming. I've made promises to myself to do better, but each year I failed miserably. This year, I was hoping that the Kapparot ritual would help me really feel the sadness and harm I have been inflicting on myself (and potentially my family) by not taking care of my health.

    Earlier, as the three of us prepared the ritual space in Joel's backyard, we'd chatted nervously about what we were about to do. I'd never come close to experiencing animal slaughter; Joel had slayed an injured chicken once; Webb, my husband, had hunted doves as a teenager. Mostly, we'd remained happily unaware that animals die every day to feed our meat-eating habits. Books and movies such as Food, Inc. were making us face the truth: not only are most factory animal's deaths inhumane, but their lives are too. We knew one thing for sure: this hen had a good life.

    “Cluck!” went the hen as I passed her to Webb and held the iPhone so he could recite the prayer and swing the bird simultaneously. Suddenly, I felt panicked. "Wait!" I said, "I want to say something else, give me the bird." I felt sad, my chest tightening, I wanted to cry. The traditional ritual wasn't enough. This bird was going to die for MY sins. I had to do more than just confess that I didn’t go to the gym. I needed to say more, at least acknowledge that I intended to change and not repeat the same damn mistakes over and over. I held the hen and looked into its eyes: "Hen, you are going to die today for my sins. I promise that your death will not be in vain. I promise to be better this year and take better care of my health. I promise to you, I will do better." She blinked, looking up at me blankly. I held this thought and feeling in my heart. "I will do better. Thank you, hen!"

    Taking my cue, the guys followed my lead and made their own promises to the hen. Then it was time for slaughter. My heart was pounding. I turned away. When I looked again, the head was sliced completely off and lay on the ground. Joel continued to hold the headless body upside down, head-less wings flapping and clucking -- clucking! We all breathed deeply, somewhat in shock at what we'd just done and Webb handed each of us a feather. I kept repeating to myself: "I will not forget this hen, I will not forget this hen."

    It’s been one week since we performed the Kapparot ritual on Yom Kippur and I’ve gone running twice. I also actually called the doctor about my lab results instead of just settling for the nurse's call last week. Now that we've experienced the death of our food, up close and personal, my husband and I are considering how we eat meat and how often we eat meat. While this isn’t exactly a transformation of reality television proportions, I am changing. It’s not easy, but I will keep the commitment I made to that bird.

    Rosh Hashanah High Holiday FAQ 5770

    The High Holidays are coming up soon! Here's a quick FAQ on what the Days of Awe are all about:

    When are the High Holidays in 2009 (5770)?

    Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Friday, September 18 and ends at nightfall on Sunday, September 20. The Jewish New Year is celebrated on September 19 and, for Conservative and Orthodox Jews, also on September 20.

    Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins at sundown on Sunday, September 27 and ends at nightfall on Monday, September 28 and is observed for one day by all Jewish denominations.

    The Jewish holidays are based on a lunar calendar, so their dates vary each year on the Gregorian calendar.

    What is Rosh Hashanah?

    Rosh Hashanah (literally, head of the year) is the Jewish New Year. It is one of the Days of Awe, during which Jews go to synagogue to reflect on the past year and think about how they would like to improve themselves the next year. Part of this process is apologizing to the people you have wronged last year--this is the origin of Stephen Colbert's OOPS-JEW hotline!




    During the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah, Jews often perform the ceremony of Tashlikh (Hebrew for "casting off"): they throw bits of bread into a flowing body of water to symbolize casting off last year's sins.

    Jews often send Rosh Hashanah cards with the Hebrew greeting L'Shanah Tovah (literally, "for a good year") to wish family and friends a good year.

    Because the Days of Awe span 10 days, there is always at least one Shabbat (from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday) between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This is called Shabbat Shuvah, or the Sabbath of Return, meaning that Jews should return to G-d and the principles of the Torah (the Hebrew Bible).

    What is the shofar?

    The shofar is a ram's horn that is played as a musical instrument to awaken people to the new year. In fact, the Hebrew Bible calls the holiday not Rosh Hashanah, but Yom Teruah, the day for sounding the shofar.

    What do Jews eat on Rosh Hashanah?

    Apples, challah bread, and honey are traditional Rosh Hashanah foods. Jews often dip apple or challah slices in honey to symbolize a wish for a sweet new year. Special round challah is often made for the new year, symbolizing the circle or cycle of the year.

    What is Yom Kippur?

    Yom Kippur is the Jewish Day of Atonement, one of the High Holy Days. It is traditional to pray in a synagogue to atone for last year's sins. Typically services start in the morning and last until the early afternoon. Jews may then take a nap or participate in discussions about Jewish teachings, then evening services conclude the day. Jews often fast as a sacrifice symbolizing their atonement and attempts at self-improvement, but because Judaism values health above all else, fasting is not encouraged if medically inadvisable. Some Jewish people also refrain from wearing leather shoes on Yom Kippur, so as not to tread on the cow from which the leather came.

    When does Yom Kippur end?

    Yom Kippur ends at nightfall on Monday, September 28. At this time, hungry Jews have a break-the-fast gathering with their family and friends!

    High Holidays FAQ: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur 2008

    The High Holidays are coming up soon! Here's a quick FAQ from Jeremy on what the Days of Awe are all about:

    When are the High Holidays in 2008 (5769)?

    Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Monday, September 29, 2008. The Jewish New Year is celebrated on September 30 and, for Conservative and Orthodox Jews, also on October 1.

    Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins at sundown on Wednesday, October 8, 2008 and is observed for one day by all Jewish denominations.

    The Jewish holidays are based on a lunar calendar, so their dates vary each year on the Gregorian calendar.

    What is Rosh Hashanah?

    Rosh Hashanah (literally, head of the year) is the Jewish New Year. It is one of the Days of Awe, during which Jews go to synagogue to reflect on the past year and think about how they would like to improve themselves the next year. Part of this process is apologizing to the people you have wronged last year--this is the origin of Stephen Colbert's OOPS-JEW hotline!




    During the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah, Jews often perform the ceremony of Tashlikh (Hebrew for "casting off"): they throw bits of bread into a flowing body of water to symbolize casting off last year's sins.

    Jews often send Rosh Hashanah cards with the Hebrew greeting L'Shanah Tovah (literally, "for a good year") to wish family and friends a good year.

    Because the Days of Awe span 10 days, there is always at least one Shabbat (from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday) between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This is called Shabbat Shuvah, or the Sabbath of Return, meaning that Jews should return to G-d and the principles of the Torah (the Hebrew Bible).

    What is the shofar?

    The shofar is a ram's horn that is played as a musical instrument to awaken people to the new year. In fact, the Hebrew Bible calls the holiday not Rosh Hashanah, but Yom Teruah, the day for sounding the shofar.

    What do Jews eat on Rosh Hashanah?

    Apples, challah bread, and honey are traditional Rosh Hashanah foods. Jews often dip apple or challah slices in honey to symbolize a wish for a sweet new year. Special round challah is often made for the new year, symbolizing the circle or cycle of the year.

    What is Yom Kippur?

    Yom Kippur is the Jewish Day of Atonement, one of the High Holy Days. It is traditional to pray in a synagogue to atone for last year's sins. Typically services start in the morning and last until the early afternoon. Jews may then take a nap or participate in discussions about Jewish teachings, then evening services conclude the day. Jews often fast as a sacrifice symbolizing their atonement and attempts at self-improvement, but because Judaism values health above all else, fasting is not encouraged if medically inadvisable. Some Jewish people also refrain from wearing leather shoes on Yom Kippur, so as not to tread on the cow from which the leather came.

    When does Yom Kippur end?

    Yom Kippur ends at sundown on Thursday, October 9, 2008. At this time, hungry Jews have a break-the-fast gathering with their family and friends! You'll be glad to finally be able to use your Modern Twist Star of David Placemats & Coasters or other Jewish tabletop decor.