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HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS

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These special holidays are open to non-members as well as members. However, the purchase of tickets in advance is required. Please click here for our ticket application. A Junior Congregation service is offered.

Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we make our way to neighboring Goose Pond in Captain Tilly Park for Tashlich, a ritual where we symbolically cast our sins upon the waters using bread crumbs.

History and Background

Rosh Hashanah (literally “head of the year”), is the Jewish New Year. It is the first of the High Holidays or Yamim Noraim (“Days of Awe”), celebrated ten days before Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah is observed on the first two days of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. It is described in the Torah as Yom Teru’ah, a day of sounding the Shofar.

How We Celebrate at ICCJ

These two days of services are characterized by an evocative body of celebratory musical themes and melodies, punctuated by period blast of the shofar during the late morning. Youth services and babysitting are provided during the morning.

yom-kippur

History and Background

Yom Kippur, also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year for Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. Yom Kippur completes the annual period known in Judaism as the High Holy Days (or sometimes “the Days of Awe”).

How We Observe at ICCJ

This holy day begins promptly with the chanting of  Kol Nidre. All of our Torahs are removed from the Holy Ark and walked around the room. Three quarters of the way through the service, the rabbi delivers a formal sermon.  The service the next day is in two parts, including Yizkor service in the morning that is open to the community. The afternoon service includes the recitation of the Book of Jonah. Yom Kippur concludes with nightfall, and the blasting of the shofar. Youth services and babysitting are provided during the morning.

Every year we publish the Golden Book in which those who have passed are remembered.
golden-book

sukkot

Sukkot (Feast of Booths, Feast of Tabernacles) is a Biblical holiday celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei (late September to late October). It is one of the three biblically mandated festivals Shalosh regalim on which Jews were commanded to make a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.

How We Observe at ICCJ

Before Sukkot, we sell lulav and etrog sets. Make sure to place your order in by the deadline. During Sukkot, we engage in festive morning services. Various program are held in the synagogue during the holiday. There is an annual Sukkah congregational meal hosted by Sisterhood. Golden Age always has lunch in the Sukkah as well. 

shemini

History and Background

Shemini Atzeret is celebrated on the 22nd day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei (first month of calendar). In the Diaspora, an additional day is celebrated, the second day being separately referred to as Simchat Torah. In Israel and Reform Judaism, the holidays of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are combined into a single day and the names are used interchangeably.

simchat

History and Background

Simchat Torah or Simchath Torah (“Rejoicing with/of the Torah,”) is a celebration marking the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings, and the beginning of a new cycle. Simchat Torah is a component of the Biblical Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret (“Eighth Day of Assembly”), which follows immediately after the festival of Sukkot in the month of Tishrei (mid-September to early October on the Gregorian calendar).

How We Observe at ICCJ

This is a very energetic celebration with people taking turns marching around the ballroom and sanctuary with Torahs in their arms. All Jewish women and men over the age of Bar or Bat Mitzvah are afforded the opportunity for an aliyah. A festive lunch follows.

chanukah

History and Background

Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Chanukah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.

How We Observe at ICCJ

At this festival we have a variety of activities for adults and children. There are crafts and games, a demonstation of candle lighting, and (of course) plenty of latkes to eat.

tub

History and Background

Tu BiShvat or Tu B’Shevat or Tu B’Shvat is a minor Jewish holiday, occurring on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. It is also called “The New Year of the Trees.” Tu BiShvat is one of four “New Years” mentioned in the Mishnah.

 

purim

History and Background

Purim (“lots”, from the word pur, related to Akkadian pūru) is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire from destruction in the wake of a plot by Haman, a story recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther (Megillat Esther).

How We Observe at ICCJ

The celebration of Purim is very exciting and colorful, and noisy as well. We have two readings of the Megillah —one is the traditional reading and the other is especially for the children. During the reading of the Megillah, congregants use homemade or manufactured noisemakers (groggers) to drown out the name of Haman whenever his name is mentioned.

pesach

History and Background

Passover (Pesach) commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan in the Jewish calendar, which is in spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and is celebrated for seven or eight days. It is one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays.

How We Observe at ICCJ

This holiday is celebrated in the home. Rabbi Fryer Bodzin is always available to answer questions in advance and sell your chametz. The ICCJ kitchen is closed for the holiday, but our rabbi hosts BYOK (Bring Your Own Kiddush) in her office when we join together in the morning for prayer.

yom-hashoah

History and Background

Yom HaZikaron laShoah ve-laG’vurah (“Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day”), known colloquially in Israel and abroad as Yom HaShoah and in English as Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Holocaust Day, is observed as Israel’s day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews and five million others who perished in the Holocaust as a result of the actions carried out by Nazi Germany and its allies, and for the Jewish resistance in that period. In Israel, it is a national memorial day and public holiday. It was inaugurated in 1953, anchored by a law signed by the Prime Minister of Israel David Ben-Gurion and the President of Israel Yitzhak Ben-Zvi. It is held on the 27th of Nisan (April/May), unless the 27th would be adjacent to Shabbat, in which case the date is shifted by a day.

How We Observe at ICCJ

At this time, members of the community join at a local synagogue to remember the Holocaust. Special recognition is given to survivors and their families.

yom-hazikaron

History and Background

Israeli Memorial Day. Although Yom Hazikaron is normally observed on the 4th of Iyyar, it may be moved earlier or postponed if observance of the holiday (or Yom HaAtzma’ut, which always follows it) would conflict with Shabbat.

haatz

History and Background

Israeli Independence Day. Commemorates the declaration of independence of Israel in 1948. Note that Hebcal displays modern holidays like Yom HaAtzma’ut according to the Israeli schedule. Although Yom HaAtzma’ut is normally observed on the 5th of Iyar, it may be moved earlier or postponed if observance of the holiday (or Yom HaZikaron, which always preceeds it) would conflict with Shabbat.

How We Observe at ICCJ

Those members who are able, march in the Israel Day parade carrying our synagogue banner. Others go as spectators.

lag

History and Background

Lag Ba’Omer, also known as Lag LaOmer amongst Sephardi Jews, is a Jewish holiday celebrated on the thirty-third day of the Counting of the Omer, which occurs on the 18th day of Iyar. One reason given for the holiday is as the day of passing of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Modern Jewish tradition links the holiday to the Bar Kokhba Revolt against the Roman Empire (132-135 CE). In Israel, it is celebrated as a symbol for the fighting Jewish spirit.

shavuot

History and Background

The festival of Shavuot is a Jewish holiday that occurs on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan (late May or early June). Shavuot commemorates the anniversary of the day God gave the Torah to the entire Israelite nation assembled at Mount Sinai, although the association between the giving of the Torah (Matan Torah) and Shavuot is not explicit in the Biblical text. The holiday is one of the Shalosh Regalim, the three Biblical pilgrimage festivals. It marks the conclusion of the Counting of the Omer.

How We Observe at ICCJ

Shavuot is a special time at ICCJ. After a festive dairy meal, we stay up all night learning Jewish texts. We meet the sunrise with the chanting of the Ten Commandments from the Torah. Snacks are provided all night. 

tisha

History and Background

Tisha B’Av (“the Ninth of Av,”) is an annual fast day in Judaism, named for the ninth day (Tisha) of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar. The fast commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem, which occurred about 655 years apart, but on the same Hebrew calendar date.

How We Observe at ICCJ

On this sad day, we fast and chant the Megilah of Lamentations.