HOLIDAYS AT ADATH ISRAEL
Shabbat (the Sabbath)
Shabbat comes from the Torah and is the day of rest, the seventh day of Creation. It begins every Friday evening at sundown and lasts until after sundown on Saturday. Adath Israel holds services Friday evening, Saturday morning, and Saturday evening (which includes a light meal). Havdallah is the ceremony that concludes Shabbat.
High Holy Days and the Days of Awe
Adath Israel brings in a Cantor for High Holy Day services, who along with the rabbis, and the Adath Israel choir, bring a special sound to these Holy Days.
Selichot is usually the Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is celebrated for two days. A special prayerbook, called a Machzor is used, and the shofar, ram's horn, is blown many times throughout Rosh Hashanah services. After the the afternoon service on the first day of Rosh Hashanah there is a service outside by a body of flowing water, called Tashlikh. Prayers are recited and then everyone takes some bread crumbs, representing sins, and casts them into the water. Rosh Hashanah begins the Days of Awe, the ten-day period of looking inward and of repentance and prayer for forgiveness, which culminates with Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, occurs ten days after Rosh Hashanah. It is customary for Jewish adults to fast. Services begin with the somber and powerful service, Kol Nidre and ends with the sound of the Shofar. Services go throughout the day and there is a special study session in the afternoon.
Sukkot begins five days after Yom Kippur. Many people build sukkot, or huts, at their homes. Adath Israel builds a wonderful sukkah every year on the sukkah plaza. Children and famiies decorate it during a fun event full of various crafts called Sukkah Raising. Every year the congregation is invited to enjoy dinner together in the sukkah at Sicily in Sukkah. Kiddush after services is held in the sukkah as well. To symbolize the harvest season people purchase a lulav (palm branch), and an etrog (citron), the myrtle, and willow, which is used in services during special prayers.
Shemini Atzeret, the last day of Sukkot focuses on prayers for rain officially commemorating the start of the Mediterranean (i.e., Israeli) rainy season, and the Yizkor prayer.
Simchat Torah, rejoicing the Torah comes the next day after Shemini Atzeret. The Torah is read throughout the year and the very last passages are read on Simchat Torah and then the very first passages of the Torah are also read. A dinner precedes the wonderful evening celebration at Adath Israel and there is a celebratory service in synagogue the next morning.
Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, consists of eight days of light commemorating the victory of the Maccabees. Every night one more candle is lit on the menorah, or chanukiah, until you get to all eight days. Adath Israel hosts a homemade Chanukah dinner for the entire congregation and prospective members, sponsored by the Herb Byer Memorial Fund. The Judaica Shop holds a Chanukah gift fair before the holiday.
Tu B'Shevat, Arbor Day, is a celebration of the New Year of the trees. Adath Israel often hosts a
Tu B'Shevat Seder which is a feast full of delicious nuts and berries.
Purim is a celebration of how Mordechai and queen Esther saved the Jews of Persia from the evil plans of Haman. The youth and family department organizes a huge carnival and on Purim eve there is a wonderful Megillah reading celebration, where teens read the megillah, the band plays and everyone of age is invited to the open bar. The entire megillah is read again the next morning in minyan. Costumes are optional but encouraged for all ages and homemade hamentaschen are everywhere.
Pesach, Passover recalls the story of Jewish slavery in Egypt, the Exodus, and the beginning of the future of the Jewish people. It is customary to have two Seders, formal meals, in which you read from the Hagaddah, a special book. Bread is forbidden and matzah is eaten in its place.
Yom Ha’Atzmaut is Israeli Independence Day marking the beginning of the modern State of Israel, (May 14, 1948). Morning minyan includes a special breakfast in celebration of this day.
Lag B’Omer is a celebration of the 33rd day of the Omer. It is fun to attend a bonfire and/or picnic.
Shavuot, the feast of the weeks, is a commemoration of the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. It occurs seven weeks after Passover and is a two day holiday. Study and dairy food are two parts of this holidays traditions.
Tisha B’Av is a somber holiday which is a reminder of sad times for the Jews, especially the destruction of the Temple two separate times. It is a customary fast day.
LIFE CYLE EVENTS
Bris / Baby Naming
Bar / Bat Mitzvah
Funeral / Shiva
Contact the synagogue office for more information on holidays and life cycle events.