Purim celebrates unexpected heroes as role models. Those heroes, Esther and Mordechai encourage us to be our full selves.
Rosh Hodesh is less hierarchical and more open to creative interpretation than most Jewish occasions/events. The possibilities are endless.
A series of special Shabbatot with special Torah readings precede Purim and Passover.
Tradition dictates that Purim be observed on the fourteenth day of Adar, and begins with the recitation of the regular evening service.
Purim is celebrated with days of feasting and merrymaking, and occasion for sending gifts to one another and gifts for the poor.
Purim is about the struggle of identity against assimilation, the value of tolerance, and to live proudly as Jews in an ocean of non-Jews.
Liturgy on Hanukkah includes Hallel and additions to the Amidah. There are also special Torah readings, maftirs, and haftarot.
Hanukkah songs include those that follow candle lighting, as well as S’vivon sov sov sov, Hanukkah O’Hanukkah, and Neir Li.
The central mitzvah of Ḥanukkah is the lighting of the menorah at home and in the synagogue. This brings light to the darker winter months.
Besides dwelling in a sukkah, the other significant mitzvah of Sukkot is the taking up of the arba·ah minim, literally “the four species.”
While celebrating Sukkot at home, rituals include lighting candles, sitting in the sukkah, and customs related to the sukkah.
The intermediate days of Sukkot, the weekdays, combine some features of festival days and normal weekdays to create wholly unique day.
Although the fifth intermediate day of Sukkot is known as Hoshana Rabbah, it is technically just the last day of ḥol ha-mo·eid.
The final two days of Sukkot are a totally separate holiday called Sh’mini Atzeret. Liturgy includes Yizkor and the prayer for rain.
Simḥat Torah means “the joy of Torah” and is the name for the day on which the annual cycle of Torah readings begins and ends.
The laws for lighting candles on Sh’mini Atzeret are similar to those for Shabbat. These laws also apply to Simḥat Torah.
Sukkot, one of the shalosh r’galim, the three pilgrimage festivals is celebrated five days after Yom Kippur.
The sukkah for Sukkot has some very basic requirements, but beyond these rules its construction is left to one’s imagination and creativity.
The laws for lighting candles on Sukkot are almost identical to the laws for Shabbat candle lighting, with the exception of covering eyes.
Ne’ilah is an additional service, recited only at the conclusion of Yom Kippur. It signifies the sealing of the Book of Life.
Minhah, the Afternoon Service, begins with the Torah service, including selections from Leviticus and the haftarah on the Book of Jonah.
The Yom Kippur Musaf Service includes two services: the Avodah service and the Martyrology service. Musaf follows Yizkor and Torah reading.
Following the Yom Kippur meal, candles are lit in a similar fashion to those lit on Rosh Hashanah. A Yizkor candle is also lit.
Maariv, the evening service, following Kol Nidrei on Erev Yom Kippur, is similar in many ways to daily Maariv but has notable differences.
The Yom Kippur morning service is similar to Rosh Hashanah, with the exception of the Amidah and the selections for the Torah service.
Preparations on Erev Yom Kippur are intrinsic to the awe-inspiring observance of the day: a special meal, candle lighting, and charity.
Yom Kippur begins with the dramatic Kol Nidrei service, intended to annul vows made between yourself and God.
The Memorial Service, Yizkor, is recited on Yom Kippur, one of four times throughout the year, to remember loved ones and Jewish martyrs.
The Musaf Service for Rosh Hashanah contains familiar opening and closing blessings of the Amidah with the usual High Holiday interpolations.
Sounding of the shofar is a characteristic mitzvah of Rosh Hashanah. The holiday is alternatively called the Day of Sounding the Shofar.
Rabbi Tova Leibovic-Douglas offers us 10 great reasons why Shavuot might be your new favorite Jewish holiday.