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Jewish festivities
Jewish festivities in Israel

Jewish festivities in Israel

The Jewish festivities, which origin goes back to the antig? age, they are observed in Israel with big intensity and of many ways. They are evident in customs and traditional and not traditional practices, and leave his trace in different aspects of the national life. The Jewish festivities are the milestones with which the Israelis mark the course of the year. The holidays are an important part of the everyday life: in the streets, in the school system, in the synagogs and in the hearths along the whole country.


All the post office stamps appear thanks to the contesía of the Philatelic Service of Israel Shabat, on Saturday, the day of weekend, is observed pair most of the population in Israel remaining this day with the family or the friends. The public transport is suspended, the negocıos close, the essential services work with a personnel minimum and license is granted to the biggest possible soldiers quantity. The secular majority makes use of his day of weekend for the recreation in the beach, places of entertainment and excursions outdoors. The observantes dedicate many hours to festive familiar meals and to religious services in the synagog, abstain from traveling, working or using electrical gadgetry. 

Rosh Hashaná

Rosh Hashaná marks the beginning of the Jewish year. His origin comes from the Bible (Lev. 23:23-25): "a commemoration to the sound of the shofar [the horn of ram], a holy convocation". The term Rosh Hashaná, "beginning of the year" is rabbinical, as the reverential topics of the festivity: repentance, preparation for the day of the Divine judgment, and oracıón for a fruitful year. This festivity of two days falls down 1-2 of tishrei, generally in September of the Gregorian calendar and begins after the sun puts itself in eve, like all the Jewish festivities. The principal customs of Rosh Hashaná include the touch of the shofar in half of a long religious service that centers on the topics of the holiday and elaborated meals in the hearth to celebrate the new year. The prayers of the liturgy increase with repentance rations.

In many senses, Israel begins his year in Rosh Hashaná. The governmental mail, the newspapers and most of the transmissions take the "Jewish date" first. The auguries for the new year are formulated generally before Rosh Hashaná. 

Yom Kipur

Yom Kipur, eight days after Rosh Hashaná, is the day of the atonement, of the Divine judgment and of "personal affliction" (Lev. 23:26-32), so that the individual could be purified of his sins. The only day of fasting delivers a judgment - do in the Bible, it is the moment so that one enumerates his bad actions and reflects on the committed absences. One hopes that the Jew, on this day, should pray for the pardon of the sins between the man and God, and the man and his neighbor should correct his actions mistaken and sins between. The principal prescripts of Yom Kipur - long religious services and a fasting of 25 hours - many laymen are observed enclosed pair.

The level of public solemnity in Yom Kipur exceeds that of any another festivity, including Rosh Hashaná. The country stops completely for 25 hours on this day; the entertainment places are closed, there are no transmissions of radio not of television - not even news; the public and enclosed transport is suspended the highways are completely empty. This is reinforced in Israel with the memory of the war of 1973, a surprising attack thrown in Yom Kipur by Egypt and Syria against Israel. 


Five days later there falls down Sucot described in the Bible (Lev. 23:34) like the "Holiday of the Tabernacles". Sucot is one of three festivities that 70 E.C. was celebrating until the year with a massive peregrination to the Temple in Jerusalem and that's why they are known like the "holidays of peregrination". In Sucot, the Jews commemorate the exodus of Egypt (XIIIth century A.E.C). and they are grateful for the abundant harvests. In some kibutzim, Sucot is celebrated like Jag Haasif (the holiday of the harvest), concerning the topics of the compilation of the second harvest of grains and the autumn fruits, the beginning of the agricultural year and the first rains.

In five days between Yom Kipur and Sucot, tens thousands of proprietors of house and of shops construct sucot - huts for temporary housing, which remember the huts in which the Israelites lived in the desert, after the exodus of Egypt - and acquire a sheet of palm, a citron tree, sheets of myrtle and branches of willow, with that there is extended the ritual of the festive prayer. Along the whole country, they settle sucot in the parkings, the roofs, the meadows and the public spaces. In no lacking military base one. Some Israelis spend the holiday and next six days literally living in his sucot.

In Israel, the "sacred portion" of Sucot (and of others two peregrination holidays, Pésaj and Shavuot) is celebrated only for one day. The communities of the diaspora celebrate it for two days, commemorating the ancient times in which the calendar was announced from the Temple and informed the diaspora by means of a network of signs of smoke and of messengers.

The prayers of the liturgy increase with additional prayers, including the Halel, a set of blessings and psalms that are recited in Rosh Jodesh (the beginning of every lunar month) and in festivities of peregrination.

After the holiday, Sucot continues at a minor holiness level, as it is arranged by the Torá (Lev. 23:36). During the festive week between way - way and I come up ordinary - the schools do not work and many business closes or limits his hours of attention to the public. Most of the Israelis spend the intermediate days of Sucot and Pésaj in playtime places along the country.

The intermediate week and the holiday period concludes in Sheminí Atzeret, the "sacred occasion of the eighth day" (Lev. 23:36) with that Simjat Torá gets together. The celebration of Sheminí Atzeret/Simjat Torá centers on the Torá - Five Books of Cradle - and is characterized by public dances with a Roll of the Torá in the arms and with the reading of the last one and the first chapter of the Torá, renewing the annual reading cycle. After the dusk, many communities protect additional festivities, generally outdoors, that are not limited by the ritual restrictions that are applied in the sacred day itself.


Janucá, which begins 25 of kislev (generally in December), commemorates the victory of the Jews, directed pair the Macabeos, on the Greek leaders (164 A.E.C).: the physical victory of the small Jewish nation over the powerful Greece and the victory espiri - tual of the Jewish faith opposite to the Hellenism of the Greeks. His holiness 
it derives from this spiritual aspect of the victory, and the miracle of the pitcher of oil, in which a portion of sacramental olive oil that had to keep the candelabrum of the Temple burning for only one day reached for eight, when the temple was again consecrated.

Janucá is observed in Israel, as in the diaspora, for eight days. The central feature of this holiday is the sails ignition every night - one the first one, two the second one, and this way successively - in commemoration of the miracle of the temple. The Janucá message in Israel centers especially on the aspects of the restored sovereignty; customs extensively practised in the diaspora, like the granting of gifts and the dreidl (pirinola), also are celebrated in Israel. The sides of the pirinola are marked by Hebrew initials that represent the message "a big miracle happened here"; in the diaspora, the initials are modified for "a big miracle happened there". The schools do not work during this week, but the work places yes.

Your Bishvat

Fifteen of the month of shvat (January - February), called in the rabbinical sources as the new year of the fruit-bearing trees for the sabbatical, the tithe and other intentions, practically it does not have ritual impact. But he has acquired secular connotations as one day which trees reach, especially for the students and it serves at the moment so that an intensive afforestation activity is carried out on the part of the Jewish National Fund and the local authorities. During this month, the fruit-bearing trees begin to bloom, starting by the almond tree, although it is still cold.


Purim, another rabbinical festivity, to the spring beginning, takes place 14 of adar (0 of adar in the walled cities), commemorating the liberation of the tortured judeidad of the Persian empire under Asuero, as it is reported in Ester's Roll. This holiday compensates the solemnity of most of other Jewish festivities, being an order the rejoicing and the diversion. The schools do not work, the public celebrations abound, the newspapers are published by jocular notes of the type of the Day of the Innocent persons, children (and adults) disguise themselves and the festive reading of Ester's Roll is accompanied on the rattles sound whenever the name of Hamán is pronounced. The orthodox ones allow to get drunk, with limit, and carry out an exact list of obligations: granting of charity, readings vespertina and morning of Ester's Roll, exchange of delicacies and a festive banquet. 


In the spring, from 0 of nisán, there is celebrated Pésaj, the festivity of the Exodus (c. XIIIth century A.E.C). and the redemption of the slavery., in fact, the freedom is the domineering Pésaj note. The Pésaj rites start long before the festivity, after the families clean in his hearths and the shops his premises of jametz - yeast and any thing that contains it - as it is prescribed in the Torá (Ex-.: 12:0-20). The day before the holiday is dedicated to ritual arrangements that include the ceremonial fire of remains of prohibited food. On eve of Pésaj there is carried out a séder that includes the reading of the Hagadá, an elaborated history of the slavery and the exodus of Egypt. The whole family meets for the séder, enjoys the matzá - the unleavened bread - and other traditional food. The ceremonies of the following days are alike those of other holidays of peregrination.

Pésaj probably is in the second place after Yom Kipur in the traditional observance on the part of persons generally not observantes. Also, in some kibutzim there is carried out a secular ritual of Pésaj based on the agricultural connotations of the festivity. It serves like spring festival, festival of freedom and it is the date in which the first mature grain is harvested. Pésaj includes also the seguna "intermediate" week - five days I come up sacred and come up ordinary dedicated to the prayer and the recreation, and it concludes with a last holiday.

Day of the Memory of the Holocaust

Traditional rites of public duel are evident in the Day of the Memory the Martyrs and Heroes of the Holocaust, less than one week after Pésaj, when the people of Israel identifies with the memory of six million martyrs of the Jewish people who perished in hands of the Nazi in the Holocaust. On this day a siren touches at 10:00 a.m., and the nation observes two minutes of silence, promising to "to remember, remembering the others and to never forget". 

Day in Memory The Day in Memory of the Fallens in the Wars of Israel 

It is commemorated one week later, how day of memory for those that fell down in the struggle for the establishment of the State of Israel and his defense. At 8 a.m. p.m. in eve and at 11 a.m. a.m., of the day siguente, two minutes of silence are observed while there sounds the siren that offers to the whole nation the opportunity to remember his relatives and to express his eternal gratitude to his sons and daughters who gave his lives for the attainment of the independence of the country and for the continuation of his existence. 

Day of the Independence

This day is continued straight for the Day of the Independence (5 of iyar), the anniversary of the Proclamation of the Establishment of the State of Israel, on May 14, 1948. Is not it a celebration with centuries of antig? age, but a day of big meaning for many of the citizens who have informed physics and actively in the creation of the new state and have attended the enormous change that has taken place from 1948.

In eve of the Day of the Independence the municipalities protect public celebrations, speakers transmit popular music and multitudes go out to the streets to be informed in the festive spirit. Many synagogs carry out special services of gratitude in which the Halel is recited commemorating the national liberation of Israel.

In the Day of the Independence many citizens travel round the country to visit the battlefields of the War of the Independence, the briefs to the fallens, the national parks and, in general, they happen the day outdoors in picnics and roasts.

The Awards Israel by distinction in the literature and in other artistic and scientific activities are granted this day. Also the International Contest of Bible is carried out for Jewish young people. The military bases are opened to the public, the air force realizes exhibitions, as the marina.

Lag Baomer (18 of iyar)

The thirtieth third day in the inventory of the weeks that go between Pésaj and Shavuot, has turned into a holiday for the children, who light bonfires commemorating events of the time of the riot of Bar Cojba against Rome (132-135 E.C).

The Day of Jerusalem

28 of iyar are celebrated, approximately one week before shavuot, commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem, capital of Israel, in 1967, after having been divided by walls of concrete and spike wire fences for nineteen years. On this day it is reminded to us that Jerusalem is "the focal point of the Jewish history, symbol of ancient glory, spiritual achievement and modern renewal". In some synagogs the Halel is recited. 


Shavuot, the last one of the festivities of peregrination, enumerated from the beginning of the Jewish year, falls down seven weeks after Pésaj (6 of siván), at the end of the harvest of the barley and the beginning of that of wheat. The Torá (Deut. 16:10) it describes this occasion as the holiday of the weeks (heb. Shavuot), that are counted from Pésaj, and like the occasion in which the new grains and the new fruits are offered to the priests in the Temple. His additional definition - the anniversary of the delivery of the Torá in the Mount Sinai - is of rabbinical origin. Shavuot is observed between the orthodox ones with a religious study maratónico and in Jerusalem, with a massive convocation to the together festive prayer to the Western Wall (of the Lamentations). In the kibutzim, it marks the climax of the new harvest of cereals and the maturation of the first fruits, including seven species mentioned in the Bible (wheat, barley, vine, fig, grenade, olive tree and date).

The long summer up to Rosh Hashaná is marked by Nine of Av (Tishá BeAv, which falls down in July or at the beginning of August), is the anniversary of the destruction of the First one and Segundo Templo. On this day many of the customs are fulfilled of duel and of the measurements of autoaffliction of Yom Kipur, including a finished day fasting.

The ethnic communities observe, additionally, rituals and particular celebrations. Some of the most well-known celebrations include the Mimuna proper of the Moroccan judeidad, the day after Pésaj, it celebrates the renewal of the nature and his blessings; and the Saharana of the Kurdish judeidad, after Sucot, which was the national holiday of the Jews in Kurdistan. Another event is the holiday of the Sigd of the Ethiopian Jewish community, in the middle of November, a celebration that began in Ethiopia expressing his wish for Zion, and it continues today in Israel like a gratitude expression.

This way, with his diverse population and his multiple life styles and attitudes, Israel celebrates the cycle of the festivities and Jewish observances of a public way that reveals the Jewish character of the country and his centrality for the Judaism.

Source: MFA - Foreign Office of Israel

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