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Jewish festivals: Sacred Days built into Creation Itself

GO TO: The JEWISH FESTIVALS | ROSH HASHANAH | The DAYS of AWE | YOM KIPPUR | SUKKOT | HANUKKAH | PASSOVER | The COUNTING of the OMER | SHAVUOT | CHRISTIAN PENTECOST
JEWISH FESTIVALS downloads ~ A5 PARISH NEWSLETTER INSERTS | A4 GROUP STUDY SHEETS
These links will navigate to resources on the Jewish festivals including downloadable materials
for parish newsletters, study groups, schools and educational purposes.

Jewish Festivals

Jewish Festivals: Sacred Days in Time

Built into creation itself are fixed times, sacred markers that point beyond the physical creation.

The Jewish Festivals are sacred days;
markers in time for the days and for the years (Gen. 1:14).

God said, “Let them, the lights, be signs and witnesses to fixed times (mo’adim/festivals) in the days and the years…” (cf. Gen. 1:14).

Sacred Days Sanctify both Time and Humanity

Within the days, months and years lies the invitation to transcend the ordinary; to experience the Divine.
These “built-in” sacred times are the Sabbath and the Jewish Festivals.

The Major Jewish Festivals are

ROSH HASHANAH THE DAYS OF AWE YOM KIPPUR
SUKKOT PESACH/PASSOVER SHAVUOT
SHABBAT/SABBATH PURIM HANUKKAH

The Pilgrim Festivals—The Regalim

The festivals of Passover, Shavuot*, and Sukkot (Tabernacles or Booths) are pilgrim festivals, regalim, (from the Hebrew word regel, ‘foot’). In Temple times all males were expected to journey to Jerusalem for the pilgrim festivals if possible. The gospels show Jesus in Jerusalem on the festivals of Passover and Tabernacles, and the Book of Acts has the disciples gathered in Jerusalem at Shavuot/Pentecost.
*The Festival of Weeks—Christians celebrate Pentecost at this time.

While Sabbath is a festival which is fixed within the cycle of the days, occurring as it does every seventh day, the other festivals are marked by the cycle of the moon.

Keep track of the Jewish festivals and readings with the Jewish and Christian Liturgical CalendarKeep track of the Jewish festivals
and readings with the Jewish and
Christian Liturgical Calendar

Rosh Hodesh

Each month in the religious calendar begins on the sighting of the new moon. Therefore the ‘head of the month’ (Rosh Hodesh) is celebrated each month. Rosh Hodesh is a time to celebrate spiritual renewal. Many festivals occur on the 14/15th of the month—the eve of the full moon e.g. Passover, Sukkot, Purim. The festival of Hanukkah, on the other hand, celebrating the re-dedication of the Temple after the Maccabean victory over the Greeks, is celebrated during the darkest period of the month, from the last quarter of the old moon to the first quarter of the new. Hanukkah remembers the miracles God has wrought through history which are symbolized in the tradition of the ‘miracle’ of the oil which, sufficient to supply the Temple menorah for one day, continued to illuminate it for eight days during the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem under Judah Maccabee. The Hanukkah festival celebrates the ‘miracle’ of God’s intervention in our lives."

The following pages explore the spirituality and traditions of the Jewish Festivals. Begin HERE

Resources for Jewish Festivals

Entering the High Holy Days
~Reuven Hammer
The Jewish Holidays:
A Guide and Commentary

~Michael Strassfeld
The Jewish Holidays: A Guide and Commentary ~Michael Strassfeld
Jewish Traditions: A JPS Guide
~Ronald L. Eisenberg
The Splendor of the High Holydays
Audio CD

 

Etz Hayim—“Tree of Life” welcomes the use of these study materials for education purposes in parishes, study groups, universities and schools. All materials are copyright to Etz Hayim—“Tree of Life”. Reuse permissions require that materials are unedited, presented in original formats, and include acknowledgement and copyright information.

Etz Hayim—“Tree of Life” © 2009
Resources for Christian-Jewish relations and dialogue, and a joint biblical, spiritual
and liturgical self-consciousness and cooperation.

www.etz-hayim.com

Editorial material prepared by Elizabeth Young 2009

   
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