Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center programs foster the richness and beauty of Jewish life and culture. Throughout the year, opportunities are provided to enhance identification and knowledge of Jewish traditions. Many Jewish holidays begin on the eve preceding the day of the holiday.
Please refer to the listings below, or the JCC calendar on the inside front cover of the current program guide for holiday related closings.
The first two days of Tishrei are Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It is also known as Yom Hadin, the Day of Judgment. In Jewish law, on Rosh Hashanah, God studies each person's deeds, good and bad. Jews spend the time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in repentance hoping that they will be written down for a better year when God inscribes what each person's fate will be for the next year.
Yom Kippur is known as the Day of Atonement, when each person's future is decided and God's heavenly book is closed for another year. Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, is a fast day on which Jews neither eat nor drink. One of the fundamental reasons for observing Yom Kippur is to ask for forgiveness of sins; many Jews spend their time in the synagogue praying.
Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, represents the journey of the Israelites through the desert after their exodus from Egypt. As their ancestors did long ago, Jews customarily build a temporary booth called a "Sukkah." Meals are eaten there, and some people even sleep in them. Agriculturally, the holiday celebrates the ancient fall harvest in the Holy Land.
This is a day of Holy Assembly. Jews gather in the synagogue on the eighth day of Sukkot to celebrate the end of the harvest season. Jews offer a fervent prayer for rain to bring full crops for the coming year. The Yizkor memorial prayer is recited.
On this joyous occasion, the cycle of the reading of the Torah is concluded and immediately begins again. During the synagogue service, all the Torah scrolls are taken out and carried around the synagogue in a series of processions accompanied by singing and dancing with the scrolls.
"A great miracle happened there." This is a phrase one may hear during the observance of Chanukah (Re-dedication), the Festival of Lights. The victory associated with Chanukah is the successful revolt by Judah the Maccabee against the Assyrian-Greeks. The holiday also celebrates the victory of religious freedom won by Jews more than 2,000 years ago. Some claim that when the Temple was to be rededicated, one day's supply of sacramental oil for the Holy Lamp miraculously lasted for eight days. Chanukah candles are placed in a Menorah and lit every night of the holiday.
Also called the New Year for Trees, on this Arbor Day, Jews customarily eat fruit from trees that grow in Israel, plant trees or provide money for the planting of trees in Israel. "Tu" means 15, as the celebration falls on the 15th day of Shevat.
The holiday of Purim involves a plot by wicked Haman against the Jews and his eventual defeat and demise through the efforts of Mordechai and Queen Esther. A minor holiday, Purim is historic in origin. It is celebrated with much joy and revelry. Traditionally, children and adults dress in costume and a carnival atmosphere prevails with parades and festivities. The Book of Esther is read and children twirl noisemakers known as groggers to "blot out" Haman's name whenever it is read.
Passover recalls the deliverance of Jews from Egyptian slavery. Jews around the world celebrate their freedom at the Seder table as the story of the Exodus from Egypt is told. The intricate ritual of the Seder is explained in the Haggadah. Matzah and other special foods are eaten at the meal. Dietary regulations governing Passover forbid the ownership and consumption of leavened products. Passover is also the festival of springtime marking the annual cycle of birth and renewal.
JCC closed first two and last two days
Holocaust Remembrance Day
This date, recently added to the Jewish calendar, commemorates the Holocaust. We recall this painful chapter of our history with memorial services, speakers, films and discussions that recall our great loss while raising hope for the future.
Israel Independence Day
Israel Independence Day celebrates the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. It is celebrated mostly with parades and festivities, Israeli food, dance and culture.
The seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot are known as the days of counting the Omer. These seven weeks are considered a time of semi-mourning. The reason for this mourning is explained by the death of Rabbi Akiba's students by plague. On Lag B'Omer the plague stopped. Thus this minor holiday is considered a festival.
Also known as "Jerusalem Day," Yom Yerushalayim commemorates the recapture of the old city of Jerusalem on June 7, 1967 during the Six Day War. As a result of this reunification of Jerusalem, the Kotel, (Western Wall), is now open to all.
Shavuot means "weeks," signifying that this festival is celebrated seven weeks after Passover. This holiday celebrates the sacred moment on Mount Sinai when Moses received the Torah with the Commandments from God. In ancient times, people brought the first fruits for which Israel is known-barley, wheat, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, dates and honey.
The 9th of Av, a fast day, is a day of sadness and mourning on the Jewish calendar. Twice the Beit Hamikdash, the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, was destroyed on this date. Historically, other catastrophes, such as the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 are reputed to have occurred on the 9th of Av. The day is marked with somber prayers and recitation of the Book of Lamentations.