Jewish Festivals

By: Brooke Hoople & Joe Thibeault

Yom Kipper-September 14th

Yom Kippur also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year for the jewish people. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jewish people traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. Yom Kippur completes the annual period known in judaism as the high holy day or Yamim Nora'im ("Days of Awe"). They are not permitted to wear leather shoes, make-up or perfume, have sex, or bath. They also must wear white as a symbol of purity.

Hanukkah-25th day of the Jewish calendar

Hanukkah, the "Festival of Lights," starts on the 25th day of the jewish calendar month of Kislev and lasts for eight days and nights. In 2012, Hanukkah begins at sundown on December 8. With blessings, games, and festive foods, Hanukkah celebrates the triumphs--both religious and military--of ancient Jewish heroes.

Hanukkah is a relatively minor holiday in the Jewish year. In the United States, however, its closeness to christmas has brought greater attention to Hanukkah and its gift-giving tradition. Amid the ever-growing flood of Christmas advertising, it may seem especially fitting that the Hanukkah story tells of Jewish culture surviving in a non-Jewish world

Bat Mitzvah

Bar Mitzvah is the jewish coming of age rituals. According to jewish law, when jewish boys become 13, they become accountable for their actions and become a Bar Mitzvah. Traditionally, a Bat Mitzvah occurs when Jewish girls become 12, and it means the same as it does for boys. In addition to being considered accountable for their actions from a religious perspective, B'nai mitzvah may be counted towards a minyan (prayer quorum) and may lead prayer and other religious services in the family and the community. The age of B'nai Mitzvah was selected because it roughly coincides with physical puberty Prior to a child reaching Bar or Bat Mitzvah, the child's parents hold the responsibility for the child's actions. After this age, children bear their own responsibility for Jewish ritual law, tradition, and ethics and are able to participate in all areas of Jewish community life