Festivals

 

Rochah shabbat-of-all-shabbatot P1100152

At Or Chalom, all the Jewish festivals are celebrated throughout the year.

  • Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. It is the first of the High Holidays or Yamim Nora’im (“Days of Awe”). Rosh Hashanah is a two day celebration which begins on the first day of Tishrei, the first month of the Jewish calendar. Rosh Hashanah customs include sounding the shofar ( and eating symbolic foods such as apples dipped in honey. The common greeting on Rosh Hashanah is “Shanah Tovah“, which, in Hebrew, means “(Have) a good year”.
  • Yom Kippur also known as Day of Atonement, and celebrated on Tishrei 10, is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish People. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jewish people traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. The evening and day of Yom Kippur are set aside for public and private petitions and confessions of guilt (Vidui). At the end of Yom Kippur, which closes the time of High Holidays (Yamim Nora’im), everyone hopes that they have been forgiven by God.
  •  Sukkot, Feast of Tabernacles,  is a biblical holiday celebrated on Tishrei 15. We build a simple hut opened to the sky – a sukkah. The sukkah is intended as a reminiscence of the type of fragile dwellings in which the Israelites lived during their 40 years of travel in the desert after the Exodus from slavery in Egypt. The holiday lasts eight days, during which meals are taken inside the sukkah (some people also sleep there). Each day of the celebration, the family members pronounce a blessing over the four plant species prescribed in the Leviticus to build the sukkah: Date Palm leaves (Loulav) tied with willow (Arava), myrtle (Hadass) and citron yellow (Etrog) branches and sprigs .
  • Hanukkah (or Chanukah, Hanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights) commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the troops of Antiochus IV, and symbolises the spiritual resistance of Judaism against forced Hellenization. Indeed, when the priests could re-enter the Holy Second Temple of Jerusalem after the victory, they could find only one flask of pure oil, that the Greeks had not defiled. A miracle occurred and this flask allowed the Temple priests to burn, during eight days, a quantity of oil barely sufficient for one day. The next year, the Sages established these days as a festival of praise and gratitude. The Hanukkah celebration starts on Kislev 25, and lasts 8 days. In remembrance of the miracle of the oil flask, the festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabrum the nine-branched menorah or hanukiah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. The ninth branch, visually distinct, is used to kindle the other ones and is called a shamash (symbol of the teacher). This hopeful and joyful festival also gives us an opportunity to eat oil-based foods such as sufganiot (doughnuts) or latkes, to give children presents, and to play with 4 faces spinning tops (dreidel), written with Hebraic letters in order to remember the times of Greek domination, when Hebrew had to be teached secretly.
  • Passover or Pesach first of the three pilgrim holidays, commemorates the story of the Exodus from Egypt, in which the Hebrews were freed from slavery in Egypt. Passover starts on Nisan 15, and is celebrated for seven or eight days ; it is one of the most widely observed célébrations among the jewish people. In the story of the Exodus, the Bible says that God brought the children of Israël out of Egypt, by inflicting ten plagues on Egypt before Pharaoh resigned himself on freeing his Hebrew slaves. When Pharaoh freed the Hebrews, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread dough to rise. In commemoration, for the duration of Passover no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason it is called “The Festival of the Unleavened Bread”. Matsah, or flat unleavened bread is one symbol of the holiday.
  • Shavuot, Jewish Pentecost and second of the pilgrim holidays (chlocha regalim), occurs on Sivan 6 (sometimes on 7, in Diaspora) i.e 49 days (7×7) afer Pesach: this period is known as the Counting of the Omer. Also called ‘hag haqatsir (harvest festival), yom habikkourim (day of the first-fruits) or z’man matan toratenou ; time of the gift of our Torah at the Sinaï, Shavuot commemorates the true freedom that the gift of the Torah to the people of Israel, chosen among the people to receive it according to the tradition. Between the Exodus from Egypt and the Sinaitic theophany, the Hebrew were physically free, but in their minds they would still bear the scars of slavery (it would actually take a whole generation and 40 years of wandering in the desert to completely free them from it: this progression periode is symbolized by the Counting of the Omer) and would not have the Law to emancipate them. To celebrate Shavuot is a solemn way of renewing, updating, reactivating the Alliance and the commitment to respect the mitsvot ; it is as important as celebrating Pesach since the true freedom, according to Judaïsm, is gained by respecting the divine will contained in the Torah. As every Jew should personally feel out of Egypt at Pesach, should every Jew feel at the foot of the Sinaï at Shavuot. This holiday brings the opportunity to read the meguila telling the story of Ruth, non-Jewish woman form the Moab people, who converted to Judaïsm and even was king David’s ancestor.
  • Other festivals and commemorations celebrated at Or Chalom: Simchat Torah on Tishrei 23 (Torah celebration),   Tou Bishvat on Shevat 15 (festival of the fruit  trees), Purim from Adar 14 evening to Adar 15 evening (Esther’s meguilah), Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Mémorial Day) on Nissan 27*, Yom Ha’atzmaut on Iyar 5* (National Day of the State of Israël). *one-day time lag if the date occurs on a Shabbat).
  • Tisha Beav, day of fast and mourning in memory of several tragic events in the history of the Jewish people, occurs during the summer break.

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Actualités

  • From October 19 to December 1st, 2018
    •  Fridays 10/26 at 7 pm, 11/02, 11/09 and 11/23 at 6:30 pm Kabalat Shabbat with Yohanan and/or our present members kiddush
    • Friday 10/19 7 pm – 11/16 and 11/30 6:30 pm Kabalat Shabbat with Yedidiahkiddush
    • Saturday 10/20, 11/17 and 11/30 9:15 am Morning service with Yedidiah
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