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Holidays

Sukkot

Sukkot, a Hebrew word meaning “booths” or “huts,” refers to the Jewish festival of giving thanks for the fall harvest. It is one of the three pilgrimage festivals, along with Passover and Shavuot that were originally agricultural celebrations. Its significance, however, goes beyond being a holiday of thanksgiving for the harvest. It is the only festival associated with an explicit commandment to rejoice. Sukkot is celebrated five days after Yom Kippur on the 15th of the month of Tishrei, and is marked by several distinct traditions.

 

Each year we begin Sukkot with a festive service and “Pizza in the Hut.” Throughout the week, there are often other opportunities to gather in the sukkah for fellowship, learning, and fun.

 

Simchat Torah

Simchat Torah, Hebrew for “Rejoicing in the Torah”, celebrates the completion of the annual reading of the Torah.

 

On Erev Simchat Torah the Torah scrolls are taken from the ark and carried or danced around the synagogue. We unroll the entire Torah around the sanctuary then read the concluding section of Deuteronomy and immediately following, the opening section of Genesis, or B’reishit as it is called in Hebrew. On this evening, we also consecrate our new religious school students by calling them to the bimah for a special blessing.

On Simchat Torah morning, we gather again to celebrate this festival and remember our loved lost with the recitation of the Yizkor memorial prayers.

 

Chanukah

Chanukah, meaning “dedication” in Hebrew, refers to the joyous eight-day celebration during which Jews commemorate the victory of the Macabees over the armies of Syria in 165 B.C.E. and the subsequent liberation and rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. The modern home celebration of Chanukah centers around the lighting of the Chanukiyah, a special menorah for Chanukah; unique foods, latkes and jelly doughnuts; and special songs and games.

 

Each year, we celebrate Chanukah with a multi-generational Chanukah party as well as a special Chanukiyah lighting during our fabulous Musical Chanukah Shabbat service. Sisterhood, Prime Timers, and other groups celebrate the “Festival of Lights” as well with special programs and events.

 

Purim

The holiday of Purim celebrates our defeat of the evil Haman by the Jewish queen, Esther, and her uncle, Mordechai. This festival of fun and merriment of celebrated with a multi-generational Purim carnival as well as a Purim spiel and service. Everyone is encouraged to dress in the best (costumes).

 

Passover

The week-long holiday of Passover, in which we celebrate our Exodus from Egypt, gives us several opportunities to come together as a community, including our 2nd night congregational seder and our festival and Yizkor services.

 

Shavuot

Shavuot is the festival which celebrates when God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses at Mount Sinai. Shavuot is Hebrew for “weeks,” and this holiday symbolizes the seven weeks during which the Israelites traveled through the desert after their Exodus from Egypt. This holiday marks the fourth and final time during the Jewish calendar when we say Yizkor prayers.

 

On Erev Shavuot, we gather with other “Outside the Perimeter” Reform congregations for an evening of prayer and study as we celebrate receiving the Torah.

Sat, August 17 2019 16 Av 5779