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The Jewish Calendar

Holy Land Revealed

The Jewish calendar has a vibrant tapestry of holidays and festivals celebrating history, spirituality, and community. These sacred occasions, each with unique customs and significance, offer a window into the Jewish people’s rich cultural and religious heritage. Let’s journey through the Jewish calendar to explore some of the most prominent Jewish holidays.

Jewish Heritage Four Dat Tour

The Jewish Calendar – Rosh Hashanah – The Jewish New Year

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is a time of reflection, repentance, and renewal. It marks the beginning of the Ten Days of Awe, a period of introspection and prayer. Traditional foods like apples and honey symbolize the hope for a sweet year ahead.

Seven Species of Israel

Yom Kippur – The Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is a day of fasting and intense prayer. It’s an opportunity to seek forgiveness for sins and commit to a better path in the coming year. Synagogues are filled with worshippers during this solemn day.

Jewish Quarter Jerusalem Tour

The Jewish Calendar – Sukkot – The Feast of Tabernacles

Sukkot is a joyous festival commemorating the Israelites’ journey through the desert. Families build and dwell in temporary booths called sukkahs, and the “Four Species” (a lulav, etrog, myrtle, and willow) are held and waved as part of the celebration.

Hanukkah – The Festival of Lights

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. The lighting of the menorah, adding a candle each night for eight nights, is a central tradition. It’s a time for family, gifts, and delicious foods fried in oil, like latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly-filled donuts).

The Jewish Calendar – Purim – The Feast of Lots

Purim is a lively holiday celebrating the Jewish people’s deliverance from a plot to destroy them in ancient Persia. People dress up in costumes, read the Book of Esther, give gifts to the needy, and enjoy triangular pastries called hamantaschen.

Passover – The Festival of Freedom

Passover, or Pesach, commemorates the Israelites’ liberation from slavery in Egypt. The Seder meal, retelling the Exodus story, is central to the celebration. During the holiday, leavened bread (chametz) is replaced with matzah, unleavened bread.

The Jewish Calendar – Shavuot – The Festival of Weeks

Shavuot marks the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. It’s a time of studying, prayer and reading the Book of Ruth. Dairy foods like cheesecake and blintzes are traditional treats during this holiday.

Rosh Chodesh – The New Moon Celebration

The beginning of each Jewish month, known as Rosh Chodesh, is a day to celebrate the new moon and its symbolic significance. It’s a day when special prayers and readings are added to the synagogue service.

Tisha B’Av – The Day of Mourning

Tisha B’Av is a day of mourning and fasting, commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. Lamentations are read, a day of reflection on historical Jewish tragedies.

The Jewish Calendar – High Holidays – A Time of Repentance

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, collectively known as the High Holidays, are a time of reflection, prayer, and repentance. These days are considered the most sacred in the Jewish calendar.


The Jewish holidays, with their deep spiritual and historical significance, offer a sense of continuity and connection to the past. They serve as a reminder of the enduring faith and traditions of the Jewish people, emphasizing the importance of family, community, and a strong bond with the Divine. These celebrations contribute to the rich mosaic of Jewish culture and inspire unity, reflection, and renewal.


Hi! My name is Arik, an Israeli native who dedicated his life to sharing my passion for the Holy Land with those interested in knowing more about this incredible piece of land. I’m the Chief Guide at ‘APT Private Tours in Israel’.

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