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Sukkot

TRANSLATION: Booths or tabernacles
BEGINS:
15 Tishrei
DURATION:
7 days
SEASON: Fall

Sukkot is the fall harvest festival, also known as the "Festival of the Booths", because it commemorates a time in which the Jewish people lived in temporary huts (sukkot) during their wandering and during their time of harvest. Sukkot is a time of feasting and of giving thanks for the harvest.

AT SINAI:

Each year, we construct a Sukkah in our beautiful backyard. Our Brotherhood hosts an annual Sukkot barbecue outside in the Sukkah. We also enjoy harvesting our Sukkah garden. A dedicated team of congregants plants a garden in spring, and the fall harvest of vegetables decorates our Sukkah in the fall.

Simchat Torah

TRANSLATION: Rejoicing in the Torah
HEBREW DATE: 23 Tishrei
SEASON: Fall

Simchat Torah is a festive holiday, filled with music and dance. On Simchat Torah the last portion of the Torah in the book of Deuteronomy and the first verses of the book of Genesis are read in the same service, signifying that the Torah has no beginning and no end.

AT SINAI:

We unroll the entire Torah around the perimeter of the social hall, held aloft by human hands. From any vantage point, one can see the entire Torah unrolled, a most impressive sight. Young adults who have celebrated their b'nei mitzvah in the previous year are invited to read a bit from their Torah portion while the Torah is completely unrolled. We dance and sing with the Torah and our Sinai community.

Hanukkah

TRANSLATION: Dedication
BEGINS: 25 Kislev
DURATION: 8 nights
SEASON: Winter

Hanukkah is to the joyous eight-day celebration during which Jews commemorate the victory of the Maccabees over the armies of Syria in 165 B.C.E. and the subsequent liberation and "rededication" of the Temple in Jerusalem. The modern home celebration of Hanukkah centers around the lighting of the hanukkiyah, a special menorah for Hanukkah; foods prepared in oil including latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts); and special songs and games.

AT SINAI:

The Mitzvah Menorah is the centerpiece of our holiday celebration at Sinai. Congregants take paper candles, marked with an age and gender of a child in need in our community, and purchase a gift for that child. At our Congregational Latke Celebration, we eat a festive meal and wrap the gifts to be given to a local shelter.

Tu Bishevat

TRANSLATION: 15th of Shevat
HEBREW DATE:
15 Shevat
SEASON: Winter

The 15th day of the month of Shevat, celebrates the "Birthday of the Trees." This Jewish holiday validates the importance of nature and stresses the need for people to care for trees, plants and objects in nature. It is customary to plant trees on Tu Bishevat.

AT SINAI:

We hold a Tu Bishevat Seder, a mystical experience exploring our relationship to God's creations.

Purim

TRANSLATION: Lots
HEBREW DATE:
14 Adar (II, if leap year)
SEASON: Winter

Purim is a time of merriment and great fun, and is one of the happiest of Jewish holidays. The festival of Purim derives from the biblical story of Esther and commemorates the Jewish people's success over people who tried to destroy them.

AT SINAI:

We celebrate with a costume parade and carnival for the kids. We also host an evening Megillah reading that is always full of music, laughter, and surprises. Our Chesed committee coordinates the distribution of mishloach manot (gifts of food) to members of our congregational community.

Pesach (Passover)

TRANSLATION: Passover
BEGINS:
15 Nisan
DURATION: 7 days
SEASON: Spring

Passover celebrates the most important event in Jewish history, which is the Jewish people's exodus from Egypt. This holiday recalls the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt, their eventual freedom and their arrival in the promised land in Canaan. Passover is celebrated for eight days with a special meal, special foods and specific traditional practices.

AT SINAI:

Passover is traditional celebrated in the home with a seder meal during which the story of the Exodus is told.

Lag Ba Omer

TRANSLATION: 33rd Day of  the Omer
HEBREW DATE:
18 Iyyar
SEASON: Spring

Lag Ba Omer is a minor Jewish holiday that focuses on the importance of study and learning. Lag Ba Omer is celebrated on the 33rd day of the 50 days of the counting of the "omer", or the measure of the newly ripened barley. The Lag Ba Omer holiday provided a break from this serious harvest time in ages past; for us today, Lag Ba Omer marks a way point on the journey from the shores of the Red Sea (the Exodus) to Mount Sinai, where Moses and the people of Israel will receive the Torah.

Shavuot

TRANSLATION: Weeks
HEBREW DATE:
6 Sivan
SEASON: Spring

Shavuot celebrates the day the Jews were given the Torah, the guidelines of Jewish life, on Mount Sinai. It is also a celebration of the time of harvest and the offering of the first fruits of the new harvest. On Shavuot the Jewish people decorate the synagogue with greens and flowers, wear white clothing and eat dairy dishes.

AT SINAI:

Shavuot is traditionally the time of year that our young people celebrate their Affirmation ceremony. These students are typically our sophomore students in Kulanu (Hebrew high school program).