Judaism is a religion of many festivals. The weekly celebration of Shabbat (Sabbath) is sometimes seen as the most important festival. It takes place both in the home and the synagogue and the major requirement is that no work should be undertaken from sunset on Friday until sunset on Saturday. Probably the next most important events are Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The ten days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur are known as the High Holy Days. In addition there are the three pilgrim festivals of Pesach (Passover), Sukkot (Tabernacles) and Shavuot (Weeks) and the rabbinic festivals of Chanukah and Purim.
3 – 4 October
(New Year’s Day, 5776 years from the creation of the world). Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of ten days of repentance and self examination, during which G-d sits in personal judgment on every individual. The blowing of the ram’s horn (shofar) in the synagogue is a reminder of Abraham’s sacrifice of a ram instead of his son, Isaac. Apples dipped in honey are eaten in the hope of a ‘sweet’ new year. The greeting is ‘Leshanah Tovah Tikatev’ (may you be inscribed for a good year).
Genesis 22, Leviticus 23:24-25.
This is the final day of the ten days of repentance, and is the holiest day of the year in the Jewish calendar. The Bible calls it the ‘Sabbath of Sabbaths’, and it is marked by ‘afflicting the soul’ – expressed through a total fast lasting 25 hours. Jews spend the eve and most of the day in prayer, asking for forgiveness for past wrongs and resolving to improve in the future. The Book of Jonah is read. A common greeting is ‘G’mar Chatimah Tovah’ (‘May you finally be sealed for good’).
Virtual Jerusalem: The 10 Days of Repentance This link provides information about the 10 days in the Jewish calendar beginning with Rosh Hashanah and culminating in the Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur
RE Online – Jewish Way of Life = In this video David and Sarah introduce us to their beliefs and the Jewish community, way of life etc
Spirit-Staffs.co.uk: Provides lots of information about Jewish festivals, with sections on Passover and Succoth, and links to other sites
BBC – Religion – Judaism (Click ‘Holy days’ for background on Jewish festivals and holy days)
Jewish Festival Resources