A Note on the Exploring Judaism Calendar

There is a contemporary Jewish community with its own religious calendar that marks observances unique to their community, from the birthdays of their leaders to significant events in their communal history.

Having a shared calendar is a defining aspect of what makes up a society. A community with its own calendar is, by its own choice, different from the communities around it. 

By creating a calendar for Exploring Judaism, we declare some of the values of the community that we are building together. This includes honoring our collective Jewish history, our connection to Israel, and our connection to each other. With this in mind, we made some decisions about what our calendar would look like this year.

This year, 5784, our Exploring Judaism calendar primarily includes Jewish holidays, as well as a selection of holidays observed in the United States and in Israel.

As we continue to grow our Exploring Judaism community, we look forward to including dates celebrated and observed by members of our community all around the world. The holidays we included this year place us squarely in the center of the experiences of our readers. 

Our calendar this year includes ten of the eleven U.S. federal holidays. 

Veterans Day, MLK Jr.’s Birthday, and other U.S. national commemorations connect our Jewish values to national events. Juneteenth, the newest U.S. federal holiday, celebrates freedom and reminds us of our obligation to pursue justice for all. Our calendar includes Indigenous Peoples’ Day rather than Columbus Day to recognize Indigenous American histories.

Although Christmas Day is a U.S. federal holiday and many of our readers may celebrate it in some way, we did not feel that it should be included on our Jewish calendar. 

But what about these holidays from Israel and other communities that may be unknown to some of our readers, such as Yom Haaliyah and Sigd?

One of the significant challenges we face in American Judaism is a tendency to view European Jewish practice and culture as the default. By including these holidays in our calendar, we hope to spur some connection, curiosity, and a little exploration (ideally on Exploring Judaism) to learn more about these commemorations and each other. 

We encourage you to engage your curiosity. And to check out the articles that will give you more information about the history and practices that are invested in these sacred times. 



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