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Jewish Holiday Calendar

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Why the calendar?

I am Jewish in blood and heart. I am a secular Jew which means that I am not religious in a common sense of this word. I don’t keep Kosher, I don’t go to Synagogues, I don’t observe major Holidays the right way. And still, I am Jewish and always will be. I have my God in my spirit and in my prayers.

I just love Jewish Holidays and though we don’t observe them strictly, we celebrate most of them.

Important: Jewish Holidays begin at sunset on the evening preceding the holiday.

Why? Because God our Lord said so:

“And there was evening and there was morning, one day”. Genesis, Chapter 1.

Some English translations give “a first day”, but actually In Hebrew it is like this:

וַיְהִי-עֶרֶב וַיְהִי-בֹקֶר, יוֹם אֶחָד , i.t., one day.

So, Hebrew’s “tomorrow” starts at sunset of “today”.

Hebrew Calendar


Hebrew Calendar.

The Jewish calendar is a lunisolar calendar, based on twelve lunar months of twenty-nine or thirty days.

In order to synchronize the twelve lunar cycles with the slightly longer solar year, one more month, an intercalary lunar month is added once every two to three years (usually on a leap year). The twelve regular months are: Nisan (30 days), Iyar (29 days), Sivan (30 days), Tammuz (29 days), Av (30 days), Elul (29 days), Tishrei (30 days), Cheshvan (29 or 30 days), Kislev (29 or 30 days), Tevet (29 days), Shevat (30 days), and Adar (29 days). In the leap years an additional month, Adar I (30 days) is added after Shevat, and the regular Adar is referred to as "Adar II".

Each Jewish lunar month starts with the new moon. The Bible designates a spring month Nisan as the first month of the year, because life awakens in spring. The first holiday of spring Pesach (Passover), besides being the time when we celebrate Exodus of Jews from Egypt slavery, is also associated with the barley harvest, so the leap-month of Adar I, mentioned above is intercalated to keep this festival in the northern hemisphere's spring season.

Rosh Hashanah, "the head of the year", is celebrated in the month of Tishrei (seventh month of Hebrew calendar), and it would be more correct to call it "the new year for years”, as it changes the number of the year. That’s why most Jews today view Tishrei as the beginning of the year.

Jewish New Year


Rosh Hashana


It marks the beginning of the Jewish year and the period considered the High Holy Days.

The Jewish year of holidays starts with Rosh Hashanah (in Hebrew: ראש השנה. Remember, we read and write from right to left in Hebrew). The literal translation means “Head of the Year”. It is observed on the first day of Tishrei. Though Tishrei is not the first, but the seventh month of a Hebrew calendar, it is viewed nowadays as de facto beginning of the year, because this is when the numbered year changes.

Day of Atonement


Yom Kippur


Day of Atonement and the holiest day of the Jewish year. Yom Kippur completes the annual period known in Judaism as the High Holy Days.



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As a holiday Sukkot is a festival of autumn harvest and at the same time historically it commemorates the time when Bnei Israel (Sons of Israel) spent in the dessert, wondering there for forty years before they came into the Promised Land. During this time they lived in temporary shelters, booths.

Rejoicing of the Torah


Simhat Tora


("Rejoicing of the Torah,") is a celebration marking the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings and the beginning of a new cycle. Concludes the High Holy Days observance.

Festival of Lights




This eight-day holiday celebrates the restoration of the religious and political freedom as a result of the Jewish military victory over the Syrians in 165 B.C.E.

It is a Jewish festival of rededication of the Temple. Candles are lit each evening to celebrate the miracle of the lamp in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem which was burning for eight days even though it only had a supply of purified oil for one day. Candles may be lit at any time during the evening.

Though holiday of Hanukkah tells about Jewish military victory, but it mostly commemorates the miracle of the oil, not the military victory. Jews do not celebrate war victories.

Tu Bishvat


It is a minor Jewish holiday, so called "New Year of the Trees". The whole country is out planting new trees and eating dry fruits. Almond tree is blooming with the most beautiful bloom.

A Holiday of Reversals




This is the annual observance of the events recounted in the Book of Esther in the Hebrew Testament. The Jewish community of Persia was rescued from destruction due to the efforts of the Jewish Queen Esther and her uncle, Mordecai. Children often wear costumes - especially of the characters mentioned in the Purim story- when they attend the reading of the Book of Esther in their synagogue. The Megillah is usually read shortly after sunset.

The story of the Exodus




Eight day festival commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt.

It is probably the best known of the Jewish holidays, mostly because it ties in with Christian history (the Last Supper was apparently a Passover seder)



Commemorates the anniversary of the day God gave the Torah to Moses and the Israelites at Mount Sinai.

I don’t remember who said this: “Oppressed people have great sense of humor”. This way they survive. Jewish Humor is a special science. Just look on these pict

This would be Passover

This would be Passover

This is Purim

This is Purim


msorensson on February 26, 2012:

Wow, thanks!!!

ReuVera (author) from USA on June 22, 2011:

Thanks, Israel!

Israel on June 22, 2011:

Thank you for the holidays details and dates. very useful.

I also liked your story Reuvera - Cheers from Israel!

ReuVera (author) from USA on January 13, 2011:

Shari, thank you for your visit. Words like these from you mean a lot!

I love TuBishvat too, it's a very sweet holiday, awakening type of. Little kids are planting flowers, bigger kids and adults are planting trees. Almond tree is blooming, giving heavenly aroma and sight to the life.

Thanks for reminding ME about it!

P.S. Your hubs about Jewish Holidays are great! I try to interlink them with my Jewish hubs when I can.

Shari from New York, NY on January 12, 2011:

ReuVera- I just love this Hub, and I must say I come back to it often - yes bookmarked so that when I need to know when a holiday is upon us I have one place to come to! Thumbs up my friend!!! With the cold days of winter, I just needed to see when TuB'ISHVAT was.. . for when that one is upon us I know the cold days are almost over . . .Thanks for giving me the place to come home to :)

ReuVera (author) from USA on April 06, 2010:

I agree, Deborah! God's law is eternal.

Deborah Sexton on April 06, 2010:

Thank you for this hub. It is very important in our worship of God to keep these days. Many think God's law has been done away with. God's law will stand forever.

Diane on April 06, 2010:

what a great idea!! just like eating the cookies we leave out for Santa.. haha

ReuVera (author) from USA on April 06, 2010:

Diane, thank you for sharing. With this glass for Eliyahu (Elijah) we have the most fun. I always manage to cheat my son (even that now he is grown up :), I catch a moment when my son is distracted and switch the glasses, substitute a full glass for Elijah with my empty one and then we just wait when my son pays attention. "He was here!!!!! He got his glass!!!!!" LOL.

Diane on April 06, 2010:

I love how our Seders become a drinking game.. four glasses of wine (kosher for passover) and one for Elijah.. this year it was just two of us and it was like a tennis match, reading the story then - DRINK!... I kept telling him - you don't have to fill the glass ALL the way.. he just looked at the table and said, "no one is here, drink..." oy! Being Jewish is fun! (he is - I'm Christian)... Cheers!

ReuVera (author) from USA on March 16, 2010:

electricsky, Passover is coming soon..... :-)

Thank you for visiting. You are right, Jewish Holidays have lot of meaning...

electricsky from North Georgia on March 15, 2010:

I like the passover dinners at winter holidays better than traditional christian celebrations as a church my husband and I attended used to do this at Christmastime. It makes so much more sense and is more meaningful.

Thank you.

ReuVera (author) from USA on February 19, 2010:

Thanks, sheila!

sheila b. on February 19, 2010:

Beautifully done. I like the way you used the pictures and print, in the order you chose. All very nice.

ReuVera (author) from USA on February 19, 2010:

Thank you for visiting, Vladimir!

Vladimir Uhri from HubPages, FB on February 18, 2010:

I love this hub.

ReuVera (author) from USA on February 18, 2010:

Thank you, Angeline, for visiting and commenting. I am so involved with my real life, that I have not enough time for the virtual one :-)

anglnwu on February 18, 2010:

Thanks for taking us through the Jewish celebrations. I'm glad to report that I'm familiar with most of them, thanks in part to my Jewish husband, also a secular Jew. I love the pictures and yes, Jewish humor is the best. I really enjoy their sense of humor--so poignantly funny.

Vera, good to see u again and thanks for the lovely hub.

ReuVera (author) from USA on February 18, 2010:

Lily Rose, I am happy to be helpful for you. I should edit the hub yet, adding some more general information. I plan to treat each holiday separately. I did it for Purim already....

ReuVera (author) from USA on February 18, 2010:

breakfastpop, I am honored by your comment. I am thinking of describing each holiday separately (I did a couple of them already) with special holiday recipes. Ohhhh, Jewish tradition can share wonderful recipes!

Lily Rose from A Coast on February 18, 2010:

You've described me to a "T"! I'm sometimes ashamed that I can't even explain the significance of some the major Jewish holidays - now I have your hub to refer to! Thanks for the very useful information!

breakfastpop on February 18, 2010:

Terrific and very useful hub. I need to print this so I know what's what and when!

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