Holidays Andregular Observances

Are any other regular observances significant in the Jewish ritual year?

Three days of fasting and mourning, two in summer and one in winter, are connected to remembrance of the First and Second Temples. Tisha b’Av (the Ninth of Av) is a day of lamentation for the destruction of Solomon’s Temple in 586 B.C.E. Israeli Jews and pilgrims gather at the Western Wall of the Herodian Temple to grieve over the loss. The short biblical book called Lamentations is a traditional reading for the occasion. Associated rituals have given the remains of the Temple the popular name the “Wailing Wall.” Eight days after Hanukkah, on the 10th of Tevet, another fast commemorates the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar’s initial siege of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.E. In more recent times the occasion has become associated with mourning for victims of the Holocaust. On the 17th of Tammuz, a less popular occasion, some Jews fast to recall the times when the armies of Nebuchadnezzar and Titus first broke through the walls of the Temple in 587/6 B.C.E. and 70 C.E., respectively. Finally, there are two other minor observances. One is the 15th of Shevat, the New Year for Trees (Rosh ha-Shanah le-Ilanot), a day of thanks to God for the bounty of the earth. The other is called Simchat Torah (“Rejoicing in the Torah”). The day after Sukkot, Jews celebrate the end of the annual cycle of liturgical readings with processions in which the scrolls are carried around the synagogue with children leading the crowd.

Month, Day Event
Tishri (September-October)  
1, 2 Rosh Hashana (New Year)
3 Tzom Gedaliah (Fast of Gedaliah)
10 Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)
15-21 Sukkot (Tabernacles)
22 *Shemini Atzeret (Eighth Day of the Solemn Assembly)
23 *Simchat Torah (Rejoicing of the Law)
Cheshvan, or Marcheshvan (October-November)  
Kislev (November-December)  
25 Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication) begins
Tevet (December-January)  
2 Hanukkah ends
10 Asara be-Tevet (Fast of Tevet)
Shevat (January-February)  
15 Tu bi-Shevat (Fifteenth of Shevat: New Year for Trees)
Adar (February-March)  
14, 15
Ta’anit Esther (Fast of Esther)
Purim (Feast of Lots), Shushan Purim
Nisan (March-April)  
15-22 Pesach (Passover)
Iyyar (April-May)  
18 Lag ba-Omer (33d Day of the Omer Counting)
Sivan (May-June)  
6, 7 Shavuot (Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost)
Tammuz (June-July)  
17 Shiva Asar be-Tammuz (Fast of Tammuz)
Av (July-August)  
9 Tisha b’Av (Fast of Av)
Elul (August-September)  

Additionally, many Jewish calendars now list the 5th of Iyyar—Israel Independence Day—among the Jewish holidays.


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