Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year, begins at sunset on 29 Elul, September 18th and ends the evening of 2 Tishri, September 20th, 2020.
Yom Kippur – Kol Nidre and the “Day of Atonement” and the annual Jewish observance of fasting, prayer and repentance is 9-10 Tishri, September 27-28, 2020.
Sukkot – 14 Tishrei begins at sundown on October 2, 2020 and ends at sundown on 16 Tishri, October 9, 2020. The festival of Sukkot is a reminder of the fall agricultural season in Israel as well as an historical commemoration of the booths (sukkot) that our ancestors lived in following the Exodus. The holiday includes both synagogue services as well as the building of individual home sukkot in which we are encouraged to dwell or at least eat during the eight days of the festival.
Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah – 22 Tishrei begins at sundown on October 9, 2020 and Simchat Torah ends at sundown on 23 Tishri October 11, 2020. The eight day holiday of Sukkot is concluded by the festivals known as Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. Highlights of the holiday include the reciting of the Yizkor (memorial) prayer in the morning and a joyous celebration in the evening and following morning known as Simchat Torah. On the morning of Simchat Torah we finish the reading of the Torah cycle and begin it anew. Singing, dancing, and merriment accompany this most joyous of celebrations.
Chanukkah – First night begins at sundown 24 Kislev, December 10, 2020 and ends at sunset on 2 Tevet, December 18, 2020. Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian Greeks in the second century BCE and the subsequent cleansing of the Temple in Jerusalem. The theme of religious freedom is emphasized throughout this “minor” eight day holiday. It is marked ritually by the lighting of a Chanukiyah (eight branched candelabrum) each night along with special foods, gift giving, and celebration.
Tu B’Shvat – 15 Shevat, January 28, 2021. Tu B’Shvat is the Jewish New Year for trees. In Israel, Jews plant trees on Tu B’Shvat. Outside of Israel, many Jews collect money for planting trees in Israel. The holiday is also celebrated by eating special fruits or having a Tu B’Shvat Seder
Purim – 13 Adar, eve of February 25 and February 26, 2021. Purim commemorates the annulment of the decree against the Jewish people in ancient Persia (Late 6th century B.C.E.).Purim Jews celebrate how Queen Esther saved the Jews of Persia from annihilation. With costumes (tachbosot), noisemakers (raashanim), food baskets (mishloach manot), hamantashen cookies (oznay haman), a festive meal (seudat purim), and carnivals, Purim is a favorite Jewish holiday for children and adults.
Passover – 14 Nisan – 22 Nisan, eve of March 27 through April 4, 2021. Passover celebrates the birth of the Jewish nation and commemorates the Exodus of the people of Israel from ancient Egypt.
Yom H’Shoah (Holocaust Day of Remembrance) – 27 Nisan, April 8, 2021 Holocaust Memorial Day in remembrance of the 6 million Jews killed by the German Nazi regime and their collaborators.
Yom Hazikaron, Memorial Day – 4 Iyar, April 14, 2021. Memorial Day in memory of the fallen soldiers of the Israel Defense forces and victims of Arab terrorism.
Yom Ha’atzmau’t – 5 Iyar, April 15, 2021. Yom Ha’atzmau’t commemorates the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948.
Lag Ba’Omer – 18 Iyar, April 30, 2021. Lag BaOmer is the 33rd day of the Omer commemorating a break in the mourning period for the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva (2nd century).
Yom Yerushalayim – 28 Iyar, May 10, 2021. Jerusalem Day celebrates the liberation of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War.
Shavuot – 5 Sivan, Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) begins sundown May 16 ending sundown May 18, 2021. Shavuot commemorates the day God gave the Torah to the entire nation of Israel assembled at Mount Sinai.
Tisha B’Av – 9 Av begins sundown on July 17 through July 18, 2021 – Fast of the Ninth of Av in Hebrew calendar commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples (the first by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E.; the second by the Romans in 70 C.E.). Expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492 also falls on this date.