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Israel, Shabbat & Holidays

Connected with Israel

Our Center has a unique ability and responsibility to create real and meaningful connections to Israel for our members and for the larger community. Israel is an integral part of the Jewish identity, and as such, is part of the J in JCC. We celebrate Israel through culture, music, film, dance and conversation.

Our Summer Shlichim (emissaries) Program is made possible by a partnership between the JCC Association and the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI). The Shlichim Programs brings Israeli young adults as counselors and specialists at our summer camps. They enrich the Jewish ambiance at our camps and strengthen the relationship between Israel and our Community.  

The Weinstein JCC is committed to being a primary destination for all aspects of Jewish engagement and convening important conversations. 

 

A Year's Worth of Celebrations

Jewish life is punctuated by the significant days on our calendar. Shabbat reminds us to pause, unplug, connect and experience gratitude for what we have. Holidays are moments to celebrate marking not only the passing of time, but our connection to the natural world, our global Jewish community and our place in Jewish history. At the Weinstein JCC we celebrate Shabbat and holidays, honoring the diverse Jewish practice of our community and celebrating with joy, creativity and connection.

Additional resources for Jewish Practice
We’ve collected some of our favorite “everything you need to know about Judaism” websites, just for you!

kveller.com – Resources for families
challahcrumbs.com – Resources for families
akhlah.com – Fun stuff for kids
jcca.org/jcc-association-israel-office – A view from Israel
forward.com – Get the latest Jewish News
myjewishlearning.com  – A great resource for basic information
aish.com/jewish-calendar/Jewish_Calendar.html – A full Jewish Calendar

Jewish Holidays - Fall 2021

Rosh Hashanah

September 7 - 8

Rosh Hashanah (literally, “Head of the Year”) is the Jewish New Year, which marks the beginning of a 10-day period of prayer, self-examination and repentance. This period, known as the Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe or High Holy Days), is widely observed by Jews throughout the world, many with prayer and reflection in a synagogue. There also are several holiday rituals observed at home. 

Rosh Hashanah is celebrated on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, which— because of differences in the solar and lunar calendar—corresponds to September or October on the secular calendar. Customs associated with the holiday include sounding the shofar, eating a round challah, and tasting apples and honey to represent a sweet New Year.

 

Yom Kippur

September 16

Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement” and refers to the annual Jewish observance of fasting, prayer and repentance. Part of the High Holidays, which also includes Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur is considered the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. In three separate passages in the Torah, the Jewish people are told, “the tenth day of the seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be a sacred occasion for you: You shall practice self-denial.”(Leviticus 23:27). Fasting is seen as fulfilling this biblical commandment. The Yom Kippur fast also enables us to put aside our physical desires to concentrate on our spiritual needs through prayer, repentance and self-improvement.

Yom Kippur is the moment in Jewish time when we dedicate our mind, body, and soul to reconciliation with God, our fellow human beings, and ourselves. We are commanded to turn to those whom we have wronged first, acknowledging our sins and the pain we might have caused. At the same time, we must be willing to forgive and to let go of certain offenses and the feelings of resentment they provoked in us. On this journey we are both seekers and givers of pardon. Only then can we turn to God and ask for forgiveness: “And for all these, God of forgiveness, forgive us, pardon us, and grant us atonement.”

 

Sukkot

September 21 - 22
Sukkot, a Hebrew word meaning “booths” or “huts,” refers to the Jewish festival of giving thanks for the fall harvest. It also commemorates the 40 years of Jewish wandering in the desert after the giving of the Torah atop Mt. Sinai. Sukkot is celebrated five days after Yom Kippur on the 15th of the month of Tishrei and is marked by several distinct traditions. One, which takes the commandment to dwell in booths literally, is to erect a sukkah, a small, temporary booth or hut. Sukkot (in this case, the plural of sukkah) are commonly used during the seven-day festival for eating, entertaining, and even for sleeping. Sukkot also called Z’man Simchateinu (Season of Our Rejoicing), is the only festival associated with an explicit commandment to rejoice. A final name for Sukkot is Chag HaAsif, (Festival of the Ingathering), representing a time to give thanks for the bounty of the earth during the fall harvest.

 

Shemini Atzeret - Simchat Torah

September 28 - 29

Immediately following Sukkot, we celebrate Sh’mini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, a fun-filled day during which we celebrate the completion of the annual reading of the Torah and affirm the Torah as one of the pillars on which we build our lives. As part of the celebration, the Torah scrolls are taken from the ark and carried or danced around the synagogue seven times. During the Torah service, the concluding section of the fifth book of the Torah, D’varim (Deuteronomy), is read, and immediately following, the opening section of Genesis, or B’reishit as it is called in Hebrew, is read. This practice represents the cyclical nature of the relationship between the Jewish people and the reading of the Torah.

 

Chanukah

November 29 - 6
Chanukah (alternately spelled Hanukkah), meaning “dedication” in Hebrew, refers to the joyous eight-day celebration during which Jews commemorate the victory of the Maccabees over the armies of Syria in 165 B.C.E. and the subsequent liberation and “rededication” of the Temple in Jerusalem. The modern home celebration of Hanukkah centers around the lighting of the hanukkiyah, a special menorah for Hanukkah, preparing foods in oil including latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts), singing special songs, and playing games.

For more information about Jewish Life at the Weinstein JCC, including holidays observed by the Center, contact Leslie McGuigan at (804) 545-8644 or lmcguigan@weinsteinjcc.org.