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Jewish Holidays


Jewish Holidays

By Chaviva Gordon-Bennett, About.com Guide to Judaism

"The holidays are the jewels on the crown of Judaism." (Karp, The Jewish Way of Life). Find basic, comprehensive and helpful information about the Jewish festivals and holidays. Jewish holiday calendars for upcoming years are also provided.

  1. Jewish High Holidays
  2. Sukkot
  3. Hanukkah
  4. Tu B'Shvat
  5. Purim
  6. Passover
  1. The Omer
  2. Holocaust Remembrance Day
  3. Israeli Holidays
  4. Shavuot
  5. Tisha B'Av
  6. Jewish Holiday Calendars

Jewish High Holidays

Learn about the Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. Find information about the month of Elul, Selichot Penitential Prayers and the Ten Days of Awe as well.


Learn about the Jewish festival of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. Read about Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah celebrations as well.


Read about Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. Review the Hanukkah story, including the Maccabees' victory and the rededication of the holy temple in Jerusalem. Learn how to light the Hanukkah menorah (chanukiya), play dreidel (sivivon), and make potato pancakes (latkas).

Tu B'Shvat

Tu B'Shvat is the Jewish New Year for trees. In Israel, Jews plant trees on Tu B'Shvat. Outside of Israel, many Jews collect money for planting trees in Israel. The holiday is also celebrated by eating special fruits or having a Tu B'Shvat Seder.


On Purim Jews celebrate how Queen Esther saved the Jews of Persia from annihilation. With costumes (tachbosot), noisemakers (raashanim), food baskets (mishloach manot), hamantashen cookies (oznay haman), a festive meal (seudat purim), and carnivals, Purim is a favorite Jewish holiday for children and adults.


Passover (Pesach) celebrates the birth of the Jewish nation. Read the Passover story, learn about the Passover seder, refer to the Passover glossary, discover new Passover recipes, link to the best Passover Web sites.

The Omer

What is an Omer? Why do we count the Omer? What is Lag B'Omer? Find simple explanations of this confusing holiday.

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Holocaust Day (Yom HaShoah in Hebrew) commemorates the martyrs and heroes who died under the Nazis. There is a special ceremony at Yad VaShem, the Jerusalem Holocaust Museum. A siren is sounded in Israel and everyone stands for two minutes of silence in memory of those murdered. All Jewish places of entertainment are closed in Israel.

Israeli Holidays

Israel's Memorial Day (Yom HaZikaron), celebrated the day before Israel's Independence Day, is devoted to the memory of those who have given their lives so the State of Israel can exist today. Israel's Independence Day (Yom HaAtzmaut) is celebrated each year on 5 Iyar, which corresponds to May 14, 1948, the day that the State of Israel was proclaimed. Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim) commemorates the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967. This day celebrates the continued historical connection of the Jewish People to Jerusalem and the freedom of faith of Judaism, Christianity and Islam in Jerusalem.


Shavuot celebrates the harvest and commemorates the giving of the Ten Commandments to the Jewish People on Mount Sinai. On Shavuot, Jews light candles, decorate with greenery, eat dairy food, study Torah, attend prayer services, and read the Book of Ruth.

Tisha B'Av

Tisha B'Av (the ninth day of the Jewish calendar month of Av) is a day of mourning and fasting in Judaism. On this days Jews remember the destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem as well as other tragedies Jews experienced in their history.

Jewish Holiday Calendars

Get the Gregorian dates for each Jewish holiday, festival and day of mourning for upcoming years. Learn about the difference between the Gregorian (secular) calendar and the Hebrew calendar.

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