A Brief Guide to Jewish Holidays
Below is a list of the holidays observed by Congregation Kol Ami. For further information on Jewish holidays and the Jewish calendar which sets the dates for the observances each year, click here!
The day of rest and weekly observance of God’s completion of creation. Shabbat begins every Friday at sundown and lasts 25 hours in which Jews traditionally refrain from work and creative activity. CKA holds weekly Shabbat services every Friday Night at 7:30PM and every Saturday Morning at 9:30AM. In addition, a short Havdalah service (held on Zoom) marks the end of Shabbat every week.
The Jewish New Year— the first of the High Holy Days observed every year in the fall. It is a two-day holiday marking the beginning of the Ten Days of Awe in which Jews are encouraged to make amends for all the transgression of the past year in preparation for Yom Kippur.
CKA holds an Evening service the first day of Rosh HaShannah and Morning Services of both days.
The Jewish Day of Atonement—the most solemn day of the Jewish year. It is a day of fasting devoted to repentance and self–examination, and the chance to begin the New Year with a clean slate. CKA holds all five Yom Kipput Services (Kol Nidrei Evening Service, Morning Services – Shacharit and Mussaf, Afternoon Service including Yizkor and Ne’ilah – the Concluding Service)
Sukkot (“Booths” or “Tabernacles”)
A celebration of the fall harvest, this holiday also commemorates the time when the Hebrews dwelt in temporary huts in the Sinai wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. CKA builds a sukkah every year and generally holds Morning Services on the first day.
Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah
Literally the “8th day of assembly,” this holiday marks the end of Sukkot with an annual prayer for rain. Following the Israeli calendar, CKA observes the holiday together with Simchat Torah - the day marking the end and the beginning of the annual Torah reading cycle. Simchat Torah is observed with an Evening Service that includes music and dancing with the Torah scrolls, and the Morning Service includes Yizkor (memorial prayers) and the prayer for rain.
A festival celebrating liberation from oppression, freedom of worship, and finding light in the darkest of times. CKA holds an outdoor Menorah lighting every night, and often hosts a special Hanukkah dinner!
The Jewish “New Year of the Trees,” celebrated with observances that connect us to our environment and the natural world. CKA often holds a Tu B’shvat seder – a ceremonial meal including many different types of fruits and vegetables.
A fun day celebrating the saving of the Jews from a diabolical plot of destruction, as recounted in the Book of Esther. CKA hosts a fun evening program including a funny play recounting the story of Purim (Purimspiel) and a traditional reading of the Scroll of Esther in the morning.
A festival of freedom that marks the Hebrew exodus from Egypt. CKA holds morning service on the first and seventh day of the holiday, and often hosts a second-night seder meal. In keeping with the Israeli calendar, CKA observes seven days of Passover rather than eight.
The day Jews all over the world mourn the loss of six million Jewish lives lost during the Holocaust. CKA holds a memorial service every year.
The celebration of the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people, also known as the Festival of First Fruits. CKA holds a tikkun – a nightly study session accompanied by delicious dairy foods – on the eve of Shavuot, as well as a morning service.
An important fast day commemorating the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE and 70 CE, as well as other tragedies that happened around the same time of the year. CKA usually holds a solemn evening service on that day.