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Jewish Holidays

The Jewish calender is filled with holidays. Learn more about their spiritual significance and historical origins in this section.

High Holiday Superstitions
In ancient times and during the Middle Ages some Jews held superstitious beliefs about the High Holidays of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.

When Is Yom Kippur in 2012?
In 2012 Yom Kippur begins at sundown on September 25th and ends at sundown on September 26th.

What is Kol Nidre?
Kol Nidre is the name of the evening service on Yom Kippur. It is also the name of a recitation sung to a beautiful melody. For many Jews hearing Kol Nidre is an important part of the Yom Kippur experience.

Rosh HaShanah Recipes
Rosh HaShanah is the Jewish New Year and like many holidays it has food customs that go with it. Here is a roundup of new ways to enjoy traditional Rosh HaShanah foods.

Jewish Holiday Calendar 5773
This calendar contains the 2012-2013 Gregorian calendar dates for all Jewish and Israeli holidays, festivals and days of mourning.

Jewish Holiday Calendar 5773
This calendar contains the 2012-2013 Gregorian calendar dates for all Jewish and Israeli holidays, festivals and days of mourning.

When Is Rosh HaShanah in 2012?
In 2012 the Jewish High Holiday of Rosh HaShanah begins at sundown on September 16th.

What Is Rosh Chodesh?
Rosh Chodesh literally means "head of the month" and is the Hebrew term for the beginning of a new month on the Jewish calendar.

Who Was Miriam?
In the Bible Miriam is the older sister of Moses. She is also a prophetess who plays an important role in the Israelite exodus from Egypt.

Elijah's Cup and Miriam's Cup
The Passover seder incorporates a variety of symbolic items, among them, Elijah's Cup and Miriam's Cup. Learn more about these two vessels, each of which is based upon a biblical character.

Men of the Purim Story
King Ahasuerus, Mordecai and Haman all play significant roles in the Purim story. Learn more about each of these characters in this article.

How to Make Mishloach Manot for Purim
Mishloach manot are gifts of food that Jews send to one another during the holiday of Purim. Learn more about what goes in these gift baskets and how to make your own mishloach manot in this article.

Women of the Purim Story
Two women play an important role in the story of Purim, a holiday that celebrates how Jews narrowly escaped tragedy in the biblical book of Esther. Learn more about Vashti and Esther in this article.

Purim Food Customs
From observing the Fast of Esther to eating hamantaschen cookies, food plays an important role in the Jewish holiday of Purim. Learn more about Purim food customs in this article.

Hanukkah Traditions for Kids
Holidays give us a wonderful opportunity share Jewish traditions and stories with our children. Here are some ideas for ways you can celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah with your family.

Hanukkah Books for Toddlers and Young Children
With adorable illustrations and inviting text, these four Hanukkah books are great picks for toddlers and young children alike.

How to Light the Hanukkah Menorah
Instructions for lighting the menorah during the holiday of Hanukkah including blessings and a list of materials you will need.

Hanukkah Candle Lighting Blessings
One of the most important Hanukkah rituals involves lighting the Hanukkah menorah. Learn more about this practice and about the blessings that are said in this article.

Hanukkah Songs: Maoz Tzur (Rock of Ages)
Maoz Tzur is a traditional Hanukkah song that is usually sung to the tune of an old German folk melody.

Hanukkah Songs
Singing is a wonderful way to celebrate any holiday and Hanukkah is no exception. Here are eight popular Hanukkah songs with lyrics, translations and even the melodies.

The Hanukkah Song
Lyrics to all three versions of Adam Sandler's Hanukkah song, which was first performed on Saturday Night Live in 1994.

When Is Hanukkah in 2011?
In 2011 Hanukkah begins on December 20th and ends on December 28th.

Sukkot 2011
In 2011 Sukkot begins at Sundown on October 12th(Wednesday) and ends at sundown on October 19th (Wednesday).

Apple and Honey on Rosh HaShanah
One of the most popular and well-known food customs on Rosh HaShanah has to do with dipping apple slices into honey. This sweet combination stems from an age-old Jewish tradition of eating sweet foods to express our hope for a sweet new year.


Jewish Holidays
There are many holidays that make up the Jewish calendar. Learn more about these special days by exploring the articles on this page.

Why Do Jews Eat Dairy on Shavuot?
A popular Jewish custom on Shavuot is to eat dairy products. Where did this tradition come from?

When Is Shavuot 2010?
Shavuot begins at sundown on May 19th, 2010 (Wed). It ends at sundown on May 20th, 2010 (Thursday).

When is Lag Ba'Omer 2010?
Lag Ba'Omer begins at sundown on May 1st, 2010 (Saturday). It ends at sundown on May 2nd, 2010 (Sunday).

What Is Lag Ba'Omer
Lag Ba'Omer is a minor Jewish holiday that falls between Passover and Shavuot.

What Are the Symbols of the Seder Plate?
Passover is a holiday full of ritual symbols that retell the Exodus story. Many of these symbols are displayed on the seder plate, which is the centerpiece of the seder table.

How to Make Sephardic Charoset for Passover (Pesach)
Learn how to make a Sephardic version of charoset, made with dried fruits and wine.

What Are Hamantaschen?
Hamentaschen are triangular-shaped pastries that are traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim.

Passover Observance in Israel and the Diaspora
An explanation as to why Passover is observed for different numbers of days in Israel and in the Diaspora.

Mishloach Manot - Definition of Mishloach Manot
Mishloach manot are gifts of food that Jews send to each other during the holiday of Purim.

When Is Pesach (Passover) 2010?
Pesach begins at sundown on March 29th, 2010 (Monday). It ends at sundown on April 6th, 2010 (Tuesday).

When Is Purim 2010?
Purim begins at sundown on February, 27th 2010 (Saturday). It ends at sundown on February, 28th 2010 (Sunday).

When Is Tu B'Shvat 2010?
Tu B'Shvat begins at sundown on January 29th, 2010 (Friday). It ends at sundown on January 30th, 2010 (Saturday).

What Is Hanukkah?
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights. It starts on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev, which coincides with late November-late December on the secular calendar. In Hebrew, the word “hanukkah” means “dedication.”

When Is Yom Kippur 2010?
Yom Kippur begins at sundown on September 17th, 2010 (Friday). It ends at sundown on September 18th, 2010 (Saturday).

When Is Rosh HaShanah 2010?
Rosh HaShanah begins at sundown on September 8th, 2010 (Wednesday). It ends at sundown on September 10th, 2010 (Friday).

What Is a Dreidel?
A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side. It is used during Chanukkah to play a popular children’s game.

What Is Sukkot?
Sukkot, also known as the Festival of Booths, is a Jewish harvest holiday that falls five days after Yom Kippur.

What is Simchat Torah?
Simchat Torah marks the completion of the annual Torah reading cycle and is one of the most joyous holidays on the Jewish calendar.

What Is Rosh HaShanah?
Rosh HaShanah is the Jewish New Year. It falls once a year during the month of Tishrei and occurs ten days before Yom Kippur. Together, Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur are known as Yamim Nora’im, which means the Days of Awe in Hebrew. In English they are often referred to as the High Holy Days.

What Is a Chanukkiyah?
A chanukkiyah is a candelabrum with eight candleholders (branches) in a row and a ninth candleholder set a little above the others. It is different from a menorah, which has seven branches and was used in the Temple before it was destroyed in 70 C.E.

What Is a Shofar?
The shofar is a Jewish instrument most often made from a ram’s horn, though it can also be made from the horn of a sheep or goat. It makes a trumpet-like sound and is traditionally blown on Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year.

How to Wave the Lulav and Etrog on Sukkot
One of Sukkot's special mitzvot is to recite blessings over the Four Kinds. Learn how to wave a lulav and etrog in order to fulfill this mitzvah.

What Is Shavuot?
Learn about the origins of Shavuot as well as modern day customs for celebrating this holiday.

What Is Yom Kippur?
Yom Kippur is one of the most important Jewish holidays and is one of two High Holidays. Yom Kippur falls ten days after Rosh HaShanah and is the day when God decides the fate of each person.

Purim
Purim is a festive Jewish holiday that celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from their enemies in the biblical Book of Esther. Purim is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month of Adar, which usually falls sometime in February or March.

What Is Tashlich?
Tashlich is a ritual that traditionally takes place on the first day of Rosh HaShanah.

What Is Counting the Omer?
Learn what it means to count the Omer and how this tradition is based on an ancient Jewish custom.

What Is Tu B’Shvat?
An introduction to the ancient holiday of Tu B'Shvat, which is the Jewish New Year for the Trees.

All About Passover
Every year, on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nissan, Jews worldwide commemorate the birth of the Jewish nation by celebrating Passover.

Tisha B'Av Calamities
Tisha B’Av, also known as "The Ninth of Av," is a fast day that commemorates the destruction of the two Temples. It also happens to be the day that many other calamities have befallen the Jewish people, some of which are listed in this article.

Best Ways to Prepare for the Yom Kippur (or any) Fast
Tips on how to prepare for the Yom Kippur (or any) fast.

The High Holidays
What are the Jewish High Holidays, or Judaism's High Holy Days? Are the Days of Awe and Ten Days of Repentance the same? Are Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur part of Yamim Noraim?

Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur Greetings
What are the correct ways for a non-Jewish (or Jewish) person to respectfully convey warm wishes to Jewish friends on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur?

Rosh HaShanah Food Customs
Rosh HaShanah is the Jewish New Year. Over the centuries it has become associated with many food customs. Learn more about them in this article.

The 8 Most Important Things to Know About Rosh HaShanah
There's a lot to know about Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year. But if a crash course is what you're after, here are the 8 most important things you should know about Rosh HaShanah.

Rosh HaShanah Glossary
The most important Rosh HaShanah words and terms for you to know.

What Is Kol Nidre?
Kol Nidrei is both the opening prayer and the name for the evening service that begins Yom Kippur.

Why Is An Etrog Held in the Left Hand When Performing the Sukkot Blessings?
Have you ever wondered why the etrog is always held in the left hand when performing the Sukkot blessings?

How Do You Celebrate Hanukkah?
How does your family celebrate Hanukkah? Share your Hanukkah traditions here.See submissions

2010-2011
This calendar contains the 2010-2011 Gregorian calendar dates for all Jewish and Israeli holidays, festivals and days of mourning.

What Is Hanukkah Gelt?
Hanukkah gelt refers to either money given as a gift on Hanukkah, or more commonly today, to a coin shaped piece of chocolate.

The Story of Purim
Purim is a festive Jewish holiday that celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from their enemies in the biblical Book of Esther. Purim is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month of Adar. Purim is so-called because the villain of the story, Haman, cast the "pur" (the lot) against the Jews yet failed to destroy them.

Who Was Vashti?
In the biblical Book of Esther, Vashti is the wife of King Ahasuerus, the ruler of Persia.

Hanukkah Food Traditions
Like many Jewish holidays, Hanukkah has accompanying food traditions. Fried foods such as "sufganiyot" (jelly-filled doughnuts) and "latkes" (potato pancakes) are especially popular, as are dairy foods.

The Passover (Pesach) Story
The Passover story is recounted in the biblical book of Exodus. It begins with the enslavement of the Hebrews and ends with their freedom from bondage.

What Is Kosher for Passover?
Observing Passover requires a certain amount of knowledge when it comes to kosher do's and don'ts. In addition to eating matzah during your seder, Jews are prohibited from eating leavened bread during the entire week of Passover. A number of specific foods are also off limits.

When is Hanukkah in 2010?
When is Hanukkah in 2010?

The Seven Species
The Seven Species are the seven agricultural products associated with the ancient land of Israel as mentioned in the Torah.

What Is a Seder?
A Passover seder is a service held at home as part of the Passover celebration. It is always observed on the first night of Passover, and in some homes on the second night as well. On both nights, the seder concludes with a dinner.

When Is Purim 2011?
Purim begins at sundown on March 19th, 2011 (Saturday). It ends at sundown on March 20th, 2011 (Sunday).

When is Passover in 2011?
In 2011 Passover begins in the diaspora at sundown on April 18, 2011 (Monday). It ends at sundown on April 26, 2011 (Tuesday). In Israel, Passover begins at sundown on April 18, 2011 (Monday) and ends at sundown on April 25, 2011 (Monday).

Shavuot 2011
In 2011 Shavuot begins at sundown on June 7, 2011 (Tuesday). It ends at sundown on June 9, 2011 (Thursday).

Jewish Holiday Calendar 5772
This calendar contains the 2011-2012 Gregorian calendar dates for all Jewish and Israeli holidays, festivals and days of mourning.

Tisha B'Av 2011
Tisha B'Av begins at sundown on August 8, 2011 (Monday). It ends at sundown on August 9, 2011 (Tuesday).

Rosh HaShanah 2011
Rosh HaShanah begins at sundown on September 28, 2011 (Wednesday). It ends at sundown on September 30, 2011 (Friday).

How to Say Happy New Year in Hebrew
Learn how to say "Happy New Year" to your Jewish friends during Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year.

What Are the Four Questions on Passover?
The Four Questions are an important part of the that highlight the ways in which Passover customs and foods distinguish the holiday from other times of the year. Although they are called "The Four Questions," really this part of the seder is one question with four answers.

The Sounds of the Shofar on Rosh HaShanah
The shofar is blown one hundred times on each of the two days of Rosh HaShanah. There are four specific shofar blasts associated with this holiday.

Yom Kippur 2011
Yom Kippur begins at sundown on October 7th (Friday) and ends at Sundown on October 8th (Saturday).

Kaparot (Kaparos)
Kaparot (also known as Kaparos) is an ancient Jewish folk custom that is still performed by some (though not most) Jews today. The tradition is connected to the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, and involves whirling a chicken above one's head while reciting a prayer. The folk belief is that an individual's sins will be transferred to the...

How to Build a Sukkah
One of the most important commandments associated with the celebration of Sukkot involves dwelling and eating in a sukkah. This article gives a brief overview of the requirements a structure must meet in order to be considered a sukkah according to Jewish law.

The Four Mitzvot of Purim

Asara b'Tevet
Commemorating the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia and his subsequent conquest of Judah, this fast day falls near Chanukah on the tenth of the month of Tevet and is considered a minor fast day on the Jewish calendar.

The Fast of Gedaliah
Tzom Gedaliah is a minor fast day that highlights the fact that the murder of a righteous individual is as tragic as the destruction of the Temple.

Passover Fun for Kids
Don't slave away looking for fun Passover activities for your kids, because we've got tons of fun and educational ideas right here!

Yom Yerushalayim

Passover: The Forbidden Foods
For many, Passover means one thing: no bread. However, with words like kitniyot and gebrokts, confusion abounds. Get to know Passover prohibitions!

The Difference: Menorah versus Chanukiyah
Many know the chanukiyah as a menorah, but there's actually a large difference in the two pieces of Judaica.

Passover: The Four Cups of Wine
The reasons for drinking four cups of wine as the Passover seder are many, and here are just a few of them!

Passover: The Three Matzot
During the Passover seder, Jews have on the table a seder plate with three matzot placed one on top of the other. But why?

Passover: Picking the Right Haggadah
The Passover seder can be a lengthy and daunting experience, so having the right haggadah can make or break the holiday. Having a haggadah chock full of fascinating facts, insights, and graphics can provide you, your guests, and your children with endless possibilities.

Passover: Matzah 101

What is Shlissel Challah?
There is a tradition of baking the unique "shlissel challah" for the first Shabbat after Passover as a good omen for livelihood throughout the year.

Tikkun Leil Shavuot
On Shavuot, many Jews participate in all-night Torah study as part of their celebration of the holiday that God gave the Five Books of Moses to the Jews.

The Shalosh Regalim
Known as the shalosh regalim, the three pilgrimage festivals include Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot.

The Best of Basic Judaism Books
There are dozens of "how to" and "about guides" to Judaism out there, so how do you know which one is right for you? Check out these Judaism 101 books!

What is a shtreimel?
If you've seen a religious Jewish man walking around with a relic of furry, colder days in Russia, you might be curious about the shtreimel!

The Shmita Year
Every seven years, farmers who own land in Israel fulfill the mitzvah of shmita by taking a year off from working their land. What is this ancient and rare mitzvah (commandment)?

What is Tzom Tammuz?
Tzom Tammuz is probably one of the lesser known of Judaism's many fast days. Occuring in the summer, it kicks off the "three weeks" in Judaism.

What Makes Wine Mevushal?
Wine might seem an unlikely candidate for concern about kosher ingredients, but a past of use in pagan ritual means kosher wine has its own rules.

How To: The Three Weeks
The Three Weeks in Judaism, which start on the 17th of Tammuz with a fast and culminate with the fast of Tisha b'Av. Do you know the laws?

Falling in Love on Tu b'Av
Often called the Jewish Valentine’s Day, Tu b’Av is not a very well known holiday in the Jewish calendar but it has a very rich history.

Traditions for the Month of Elul
The Hebrew month of Elul is chock full of holiness and activities that prepare for Jews for judgment on the High Holidays. Are you preparing?

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