Ganzeh Galus Guide: Jewish Revival in the Deep Diaspora

Jewish Learning
Shabbat & Holidays
Jewish Arts, Politics & Culture
Jewish Directory

lehem oniJewish Holidays lehem oni

  • Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippor, the anniversary of the Creation of the World, and the day of atonement for our sins.
  • succah
  • Succot (Succus, Succos, Sukkot, Succoth, Festival of Tabernacles, Feast of Booths). The Sinai or fall harvest pilgrimage festival. Live or at least eat in a booth (succah), wave your lulav, smell an etrog, parade a Hoshana, read Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) and remember the fragility of human institutions, the vanity of vanities and the need for openness.
  • Hoshana Rabba, Simhat Torah. Shake your lulav, dance all night: A people is founded on law with aspirations to justice. The Torah is given on Sinai and we begin reading it in shul. Guaranteed aliyahs for all who stay to finish the reading of the Torah and begin it again.
  • Chappy Chanukah.

  • Christmas. Huh?! Christmas isn't a Jewish holiday, but it is a holiday for most everyone else around here, so in many places the Jewish community staffs Christmas Dinner at the Homeless Shelter. Call your local synagogue or JCC to volunteer.
  • Tu B'Shvat. New Year of the trees. Eat the fruits of the Land, plant a tree, have a campfire, roast potatoes, sing songs, buy a tree in Israel, write a letter to the President or your congressperson on an environmental issue. Or, for the kabbalists among you, have a full Tu B'Shvat seder. This new/old holiday is in a state of creative ferment. Read a Jerusalem Report article on the rise of modern Tu B'Shvat celebrations. Download Tu B'Shvat seder texts prepared by the Berkeley Reform chavura or COEJL: the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life. Download jbop, a terrific game (designed for elementary schoolers by JeMM) to learn about Tu B'Shevat and have fun at the same time.
  • Purim. The Festival of Lots. Read the Book of Esther and celebrate victory over injustice and oppression, survival against the odds, a God who doesn't guarantee the victory of good over evil.
  • Passover (Pesah, Pesach), our time of Freedom. You were strangers in Egypt and must, therefore, free the oppressed. Our Passover page includes Passover shopping, Pesah recipes, Passover bibliography, web links, etc.
  • Holocaust Week, Mideast Week, Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel Independence Day).
  • Lag B'Omer. Hide in caves, shoot bows and arrows, flee Romans, secretly study Torah, get a haircut, pray at a mystic's grave. Calling for freedom to learn!
  • Shavuot (Shavuos, Shavuoth, The Feast of Weeks). Read the Book of Ruth, defend the poor, foreigners and the oppressed. Make blintzes or Hungarian Cheese Latkes and study the law of the corners of the field -- the obligation to support the poor. Many congregations meet for a late night study & blintz session (tikkun) on Erev Shavuot.
  • Tisha B'Av. Read Eicha (Lamentations). Fast for the destruction of the First and Second Temple, the expulsion from Spain and other disasters.
  • Roshei Hodesh: The new moon. Join a Women's Group. Or organize a group to say Birkat HaLevana.

Holiday Bibliography

You are visitor number [counter broken] since December 28, 1998.