Explanation of Jewish Holidays
The purpose of this calendar... Rosh Hashanah - New Year Shabbat - The Sabbath
Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the
This weekly celebration begins at sunset Friday
Jewish year and the Ten Days of Penitence. This
and concludes one hour after sunset on Saturday.
two-day holiday is observed with day-long Shabbat celebrates God’s completion of Creation
This calendar and holiday guide has been
synagogue services, the blowing of the shofar and the desire to see peace and harmony in the
prepared by the Community Relations Council (ram’s horn) and the eating of apples and honey, world. As God rested on the Seventh Day of
of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh symbolic of our hopes for a Creation, Jews are commanded to rest and refrain
to assist public officials, school administrators, sweet year. from work on Shabbat as a way to
teachers and private employers in planning recreate an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.
classes and events that will not conflict with the Yom Kippur - Day of Atonement This weekly holy day is the most revered on the
The most holy of all Jewish holidays is devoted to
observance of major Jewish holidays. Jewish Calendar.
synagogue services, fasting, prayer and repentance.
The First Amendment to the Constitution Other major Jewish Holidays where it is
Sukkot - Feast of the Tabernacles,
guarantees the right of any American to permissible to work or attend school:
Shemini Atzeret and
practice his/her religion. We hope that all
Americans will respect the religious Hanukkah
This eight-day harvest festival is a holiday of
practices of his/her fellow citizens and This eight day festival marks the victory of
thanksgiving and remembrance of the Israelite
permit the observance of holy days without Jewish forces over the ancient Assyrians, and the
wanderings in the desert after the Exodus from
penalty or constraint. rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. The
Egypt. Although Sukkot lasts for eight days,
Jewish people fought for religious freedom and
Jews traditionally refrain from working on the
were able to throw off the yoke of their Hellenistic
Explained in this guide are the biblically first two days and the last day of the holiday. The
concluding day of Sukkot is called Shemini Atzeret. oppressors.
mandated Jewish holidays when work or
Simhat Torah follows and marks the conclusion of
school attendance is traditionally prohibited. Purim
the annual readings of the Torah - The Five Books of
Jewish individuals who observe these Moses. The conclusion of Simhat Torah marks This day of Jewish merrymaking marks the
traditions may be absent from school and the end of the High Holy Day season. salvation of the Jewish community from near
work on those days. While there are other destruction by the Persian tyrant Haman. The
holidays on the Jewish calendar, these are Passover story of this victory is recorded in the Book
the holidays when work is expressly This eight-day festival commemorates the of Esther.
forbidden. Israelite Exodus from Egyptian slavery. Two
services (Seders) occur in Jewish homes on the Yom Ha’Shoah - Holocaust Memorial Day
festival eve and first night. Work is prohibited on Dedicated to the memory of the six million Jews
the first two and last two days of Passover. murdered by the Nazis during World War II.
Shavuot - The Feast of Weeks Yom Ha’Atzmaut - Israel Independence Day
This holiday commemorates the receiving of Commemorating the State of Israel’s Declaration
the Torah (Five Books of Moses) by the of Independence in 1948.
Israelites on Mount Sinai and is observed by
two days of synagogue attendance.
Five-Year Calendar of Jewish Holidays
Jewish holidays begin at sundown of the previous day. Jewish
Sept. 17 & 18
Sept. 5 & 6
Sept. 25 & 26
Sept. 14 & 15
Oct. 3 & 4
Mon. & Tues.
Thurs. & Fri.
Thurs. & Fri.
Mon & Tues.
Mon. & Tues.
Day of Atonement Wednesday Saturday Saturday Wednesday Wednesday
Sukkot Oct. 1 & 2 Sept. 19 & 20 Oct. 9 & 10 Sept. 28 & 29 Oct. 17 & 18
Feast of the Mon. & Tues. Thurs. & Fri. Thurs. & Fri. Mon & Tues. Mon. & Tues.
Tabernacles 2012-2017 5773-5778
Shemini Atzeret Oct. 8 & 9 Sept. 26 & 27 Oct. 16 &17 Oct. 5 & 6 Oct. 24 & 25
& Simhat Torah Mon. & Tues. Thurs. & Fri. Thurs. & Fri. Mon & Tues. Mon. & Tues.
Hanukkah Dec. 9 – 16 Nov. 28– Dec. 5 Dec. 17- 24 Dec. 7 - 14 Dec. 25 - Jan. 1
Festival of Lights Mon. – Mon. Thurs. - Thurs. Weds.—Weds. Mon.—Mon. Sun. - Sun.
2013/5774 2014/5775 2015/5776 2016/5777 2017/5778
Purim Feb. 24 March 16 March 5 March 24 March 12
Festival of Esther Sunday Sunday Thursday Thursday Sunday
Passover March 26 & 27 April 15 & 16 April 4 & 5 April 23 & 24 April 11 & 12
Tues & Wed. Tues. & Wed. Sat. & Sun. Sat. & Sun. Tues. & Wed.
Concluding Days April 1 & 2 April 21 & 22 April 10 & 11 April 29 & 30 April 17 & 18
of Passover Mon. & Tues. Mon. & Tues. Fri. & Sat. Fri. & Sat. Mon. & Tues.
Yom Ha’Shoah April 7 April 27 April 16 May 5 April 23
Holocaust Sunday Sunday Thursday Thursday Sunday
Yom Ha’Atzmaut April 16 May 6 April 23 May 12 May 2
Israel Tuesday Tuesday Thursday Thursday Tuesday
Shavuot May 15 & 16 June 4 & 5 May 24 & 25 June 12 & 13 May 31 & June 1
Feast of Weeks Wed. & Thurs. Wed. & Thurs. Sun. & Mon. Sun. & Mon. Wed. & Thurs.
Note: Shaded areas denote holidays when work is restricted
Call the Community Relations Council at 412.992.5234 for questions, concerns, or more copies of this guide. 234 McKee Pl | Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412.992.5234 | www.jfedpgh.org