The most important of all Jewish holidays — the central observance of Jewish life — is Shabbat (the Jewish sabbath). Shabbat is the once-a-week day of physical rest and spiritual rejuvenation on which the Jewish people remember that God rested on the seventh day after the six days of creation. Beginning on Friday evening at sundown and continuing until sundown on Saturday, Shabbat is celebrated at home and in the synagogue with worship, ritual, and relaxation.
In addition to Shabbat, the Torah describes five major holidays:
- Rosh HaShanah – the Jewish new year
- Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement
- Sukkot – the Festival of Booths, this fall harvest festival is observed for 8 days shortly after the High Holidays.
- Pesach (Passover) – the commemoration of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. For eight days, we refrain from eating anything containing leavening. The primary celebration of Pesach is the Seder, a festive meal with prayers, readings, and songs.
- Shavuot – the celebration of the giving of the Torah at Sinai
Brith Sholem also observes “minor” holidays such as:
- Hanukkah – the observance of the Maccabees’ victory and the rededication of the Temple
- Purim – the celebration of the story of Esther and the Jews’ victory over the wicked Haman
- Tu B’Shevat – the “New Year of Trees”
Brith Sholem observes these holidays throughout the year with services and programs of various types. See the calendar for details.