Judaism is a monotheistic faith. Followers believe that God entered into covenant with Abraham, and it was later renewed with Moses and the Jewish people to reveal his laws and teachings through Torah. The Jewish people practice these teachings in their worship and customs. The synagogue is their place of worship. Jews observe the Sabbath weekly, beginning at sunset on Friday and ending at sunset on Saturday. It is the time for spiritual reflection for adherents and they suspend work for the day. Followers of the faith may pray three times – morning, afternoon and night – each day. Many Jews observe kashrut (or kosher) dietary rules. The Jewish faith is divided into grounds depending on adherents’ religious beliefs and practices. Some of these include Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist. The Jewish calendar is a combined lunar and solar calendar. The holy days may be celebrated either for a day or over two days based on adherents’ religious beliefs.
Also known as Hanukkah, Chanukah means dedication. This eight day festival known as “the Festival of Lights” is celebrated for eight days, starting at sundown on the 25th day of Kislev. On each day of the festival, a candle is lit in a menorah to commemorate the victory of Judah the Maccabee and religious freedom, as well as the rededication of the Temple in 165 BCE. Suspension of work is not required.
This eight day celebration commemorates the departure of Israelites from Egypt. The first two and the last two days are holidays for Orthodox Jews. Festive meals are enjoyed and the telling of the Passover story occurs on the first and second evenings (Sedar).
This day celebrates victory over an oppressive ruler. The Book of Esther is read at this time as it is related to the celebration. Suspension of work is not required.
This day marks New Year's Day and the anniversary of the creation of the world. It is the first of the Ten Days of Awe when Jews reflect on their actions of the past year and ask for forgiveness for any transgressions.
Shavout (also known as Pentecost) marks the end of the seven weeks that follow Pesah. It is a commemoration of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai and is celebrated for one or two days, depending on the followers’ beliefs.
This is the ninth day of Sukkot which celebrates and marks the end of the annual Torah reading and the beginning of a new cycle.
Also called “the Feast of Booths,” this eight-day festival begins five days after Yom Kippur and is a joyous celebration. This festival commemorates the end of the forty year wandering of Jewish people and also the gathering of the harvest. Devotees abstain from work at the start and end of the festival.
"The ninth of the month of Av" is a major fast day commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem in ancient times.
Also known as "Day of Atonement," Yom Kippur is the year's holiest day. It is a day of reflection, prayer, and atonement. To re-establish oneness with God, Jews ask for forgiveness and forgive others. Then they can confess their sins and ask God for forgiveness. Followers fast from the evening of previous day and visit the synagogue for prayers and confession.