When we celebrate the Jewish holidays at Sinai, our religious services connect us with the spiritual aspects, and we also have fun celebrations to connect us to their pure joy. Below is a brief definition of each holiday, and their date(s) in the Jewish year 5777 (2016-2017).
October 2-4, 2016
Rosh Hashanah celebrates the Jewish New Year, and begins the High Holy Days or Yamim Nora'im ("Days of Awe"). Rosh Hashanah is a two day holiday. We hear the shofar (ram's horn) being blown during services, and eat apples dipped in honey.
October 11-12, 2016
Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement. It ends the 10 day High Holy Day period with a day of introspection, teshuvah (asking forgiveness), and is a day of fasting for many.
Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret
October 16-23, 2016
Sukkot (Festival of Booths) is a seven day celebration to remind us of our ancestors wandering for 40 years in the desert without a fixed home, and of gratitude for the harvest time when farmers lived in temporary structures in their fields. When we eat and/or sleep in our sukkah or "booth", it also gives us empathy for the homeless in our community.
Shemini Atzeret is the eighth day of the celebration.
October 24, 2016
We parade and dance with the Torahs on Simchat Torah, the ninth day of this Sukkot period, when many of the synagogue rules are bent. It is an evening and day of fun, craziness, and pure joy.
December 24, 2016-January 1, 2017
The eight day Festival of Lights starts the night before Thanksgiving this year. We remember and give thanks for a miracle: a small group of Jewish Maccabees defeated the Syrian Greeks and reclaimed the Temple, and one vial of pure oil lit the Temple menorah for not just one day but eight days until more oil could be made. We light candles in our own menorahs each night, and eat foods made with oil, such at latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiot (filled doughnuts).
February 11, 2017
The birthday of the trees is a minor holiday to help us be grateful for nature and our world, and rededicate ourselves to its stewardship.
Mar 12, 2017
On Purim, we read the book of Esther, wear costumes and parade in them, give gifts to the poor and to our friends, and have a really wild, fun party to celebrate our deliverance from destruction.
April 10-18, 2017
This eight day holiday begins with Passover seders, the special dinners and retelling of the story of our exodus from Egypt and deliverance from slavery. We eat matzah (unleavened bread) and other special foods all week.
April 24, 2017
Holocaust Remembrance Day
May 2, 2017
Israel Independence Day
May 14, 2017
This minor holiday to commemorate the end of a plague is celebrated with "Field Day" activities and in Israel, bonfires.
May 30-June 1, 2017
We begin this two-day celebration of the giving of the Torah with an all-night study session. Eating dairy foods like blintzes and cheesecake is traditional.
August 1, 2017
This is a day of mourning for the destruction of both Temples and many other losses in Jewish history