Jewish Festivals & Days of Remembrance
The seventh day of the week is the Sabbath, a biblically ordained day of rest. No work is permitted, except that connected with worship or the preservation of life and health. Central to the observance of the Sabbath is the morning reading in synagogue of the week’s portion of the Torah. The High Holy Days (observed in September - October) are a time of prayer and solemn introspection. The two days of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, mark the beginning of the Ten Days of Awe that end with the fast of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
The three major festivals of the Jewish religious year are also biblically ordained. Pesach (Passover) commemorates the biblical Passover and Exodus from Egypt: Shavuot (Pentecost, the “Festival of Weeks”) commemorates the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai; and Sukkot (Tabernacles) commemorates the Sojourn in the Wilderness.
Other Jewish holidays include Hanukkah, commemorating the victory of the Maccabees and the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem; Purim, commemorating the rescue of the Jewish people in the days of Queen Esther; Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, honoring the memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis; and Israel Independence Day, on which the restoration of Israel to national sovereignty is celebrated.