History of Passover: the Jewish Pesach Holiday

Passover Seder

HISTORY OF PASSOVER Sunset tonight, April 22, marks the beginning of Passover. Exodus 12 in the Hebrew Bible tells the story of Passover from the life of Moses. Ten plagues were visited upon the Egyptian pharaoh (starring Yul Brenner in “The Ten Commandments,” though he was better in “The King and I“) to get his…

Read More

History of Purim: The Story of Esther

purim

HISTORY OF PURIM HISTORY OF PURIM Purim, or “lots,” is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the saving of the Jewish people from annihilation during the Achaemenid Empire, around five centuries before Christ, as recounted in the Old Testament Book of Esther. This was during the reign of the Persian King Ahasuerus. It is celebrated today as…

Read More

History of Chanukah: The Festival of Lights

Menorah

HISTORY OF CHANUKAH Today, at sundown, December 7th begins Chanukah. It is more commonly spelled Hanukkah; both are a transliteration of the Hebrew word חֲנֻכָּה‎ , meaning “dedication.” This Jewish holiday traces its roots back more than 2,000 years.   Events Leading Up to Chanukah At that time, the Jewish people were living under the…

Read More

History of Sukkot: Festival of Booths

Sukkot

HISTORY OF SUKKOT: FESTIVAL OF BOOTHS Beginning at sunset on September 29 and ending at nightfall on October 6 is the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, also known as the Festival of Booths or Festival of Tabernacles. The Old Testament book of Leviticus discusses the Exodus from slavery in Egypt of the Children of Israel. They were to commemorate it by…

Read More

History of Yom Kippur: Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur

HISTORY OF YOM KIPPUR The Jewish High Holy Days begin with Rosh HaShanah and continue until Yom Kippur, which starts at sundown tonight. It is the holiest day of the year and marks the end of these 10 Days of Repentance, which begin with the Jewish New Year — as I described in my article on…

Read More

History of Rosh Hashanah: Jewish New Year

Rosh Hashanah

HISTORY OF ROSH HASHANAH Rosh HaShanah designates the beginning of the Jewish new year, starting tonight – which, according to the Jewish calendar, begins at sundown tonight. “Rosh” is Hebrew for “head,” and Rosh HaShanah, or Rosh HaShana, refers to the head of the year on the 1st day of Tishri, the seventh month of…

Read More

History of Chanukah: The Festival of Lights

HISTORY OF CHANUKAH Chanukah is also spelled hanukkah, meaning “dedication.” It begins this year at sundown tonight, December 11 with the last candle being lit on Friday, December 18. This Jewish holiday traces its roots back more than 2,000 years. At that time the Jewish people were living under the oppressive government of the Syrian ruler…

Read More

History of Yom Kippur

HISTORY OF YOM KIPPUR The Jewish High Holy Days begin with Rosh Hashanah and continue until Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur, which begins with sundown this evening, also known as the Day of Atonement, or more correctly Yom ha-Kippurim (Leviticus 16) goes back to Jewish antiquity almost 4,000 years to the time of Moses. This most solemn…

Read More

History of Passover

PASSOVER This year, the evening at sunset April 8 marks the beginning of Passover. Exodus 12 in the Bible tells the story of Passover from the life of Moses. Ten plagues were visited upon the Egyptian pharaoh (starring Yul Brenner, but he was much better in “The King and I”) to get his attention to…

Read More

History of Chanukah

HISTORY OF CHANUKAH Also spelled hanukkah, means “dedication”. It begins this year at sundown, December 21. This Jewish holiday traces its roots back more than 2,000 years. At that time the Jewish people were living under the oppressive government of the Syrian ruler Antiochus Epiphanes IV, (a rather ironic name — Epiphanes means “God made…

Read More

History of Yom Kippur

HISTORY OF YOM KIPPUR The Jewish High Holy Days begin with Rosh Hashana and continue until Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur , which begins and sundown this evening, also known as the Day of Atonement , or more correctly Yom ha-Kippurim (Leviticus 16) goes back to Jewish antiquity almost 4,000 years to the time of Moses.…

Read More