03 January 2011

Talmudic Judaism Calendar for 2011

* 1/19 eve to 1/20 eve: Tu B'Shevat--Jewish Festival of Trees, celebrated with tree plantings and orchard blessings.

* 2/3: Day B'Tselem was founded (1989). The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories is an organization that seeks to change Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories by confronting the Israeli government and people with accurate information about human rights abuses and injustices perpetrated by Israelis on residents in the Occupied Territories.

* 3/16 eve to 3/20 eve: Jewish fast of Esther, Shabbat, Purim--Recalls a planned massacre of Persian Jews and their deliverance by Queen Esther; time for helping those in need. [The Book of Esther/The Megillah is read and acted out.]

* 4/18 eve to 4/26 eve: Passover/Pesach--Jewish festival recalling their deliverance from slavery in Egypt and celebrating freedom from oppression. [Observed with dietary restrictions, the Seder meal (representing their hardships), and recitation of the Haggadah (relating the Exodus).] [a/k/a Pesah, Feast of Unleavened Bread] [Nisan 15-22]

* 6/3: Remembrance day for Moses de Leon (1240-1305), Kabbalistic mystic. He compiled the Zohar, a Kabbalistic commentary on the Torah a/k/a "Sefer ha-Zohar (Book of Splendor, Radiance, Enlightenment)" by Moses de Leon.] [a/k/a Moses ben Shem Tov de Leon and Moshe ben Shem-Tov] [Birthday & death day unknown] [Sivan 1]

* 6/7 eve to 6/9 eve: Shavuot/Feast of First Fruits--Jewish festival of thanksgiving for the first fruits of the grain harvest. Originally, loaves of bread were offered to Elohim. Also commemorates Moses' receipt of the Ten Commandments. [Blessing for Bread/Beracha Ha-Motzi Lechem.] [Moses identified Nehushtan with the Lord Adonai. Nehushtan was worshipped with Asherah. The serpents and trees that symbolized Nehushtan and Asherah were destroyed by King Hezekiah in 7th C BC. See Numbers/Bamidbar 21:5-9; 2 Kings/Melachim 18:4.][a/k/a Shavuoth, Feast of Weeks, Feast of Harvest, Hebrew Pentecost] [Sivan 6-7]

* 8/8 eve to 8/9 eve: Tish'a B'Av--Jewish fast day mourning the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem dedicated to Elohim. [The Talmud asserts that the Lord Adonai (the Holy One, Blessed be He), and the Shekhinah (Elohim's feminine manifestation) resided in the first Temple. The Talmud asserts that the Shekhinah is present whenever ten gather in prayer, whenever three sit as judges, and whenever She is needed. See Talmud Sanhedrin 39a, Talmud Berachot 6a, Talmud Shabbat 12b.] [a/k/a Tishah B'Av, Fast of the 9th Day of Av] [Av 9]

* 8/30 eve to 9/28 eve: Elul--Jewish month of self-reflection, peace-making, and renewal. [Jews ask for, and grant, forgiveness for harm done.] [For Jewish texts on peace, see "Judaism on Peace" by GroupDialogue.org. See also the Jewish Peace Fellowship website. JPF is an organization dedicated to promoting nonviolence, peace, and justice. And see the Peace Now website. Peace Now (Shalom Achshav) is an Israeli organization that advocates a negotiated peace with the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories and creation of a Palestinian state.] [Jews also visit cemeteries and remember their ancestors.] [See Psalm/Tehillim 23.]

* 9/13: Day Israelis and Palestinians committed to peaceful coexistence (1993); vigil for true peace, justice, religious tolerance, and equal rights for all in the Middle East. [Declaration of Principles was signed by Israel & the P.L.O. on 9/13/1993.] [The History of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict]

* 9/28 eve to 9/30 eve: Rosh Hashanah/Jewish New Year (Year 5772)--Commemorates Creation of the World by Elohim, the one universal Deity; begins ten days of self-examination and penitence for harm done. [This signifies day five of Creation, when humans were created.] [Blessing for Life/Beracha Shehechiyanu.] [On Rosh Hashanah, everyone is judged by Elohim based on his or her actions during the previous year. The resulting judgment is inscribed, and everyone's future is determined for the following year. Though that judgment is inscribed, it is not yet sealed and can still be changed until Yom Kippur, when the book is sealed for the year. Regret for past misdeeds, commitment to future good deeds, prayer, and charity can change a bad decree. The shofar is blown to mark the new year and the beginning of the ten Days of Penitence.] [See Psalm/Tehillim 106:3: "Happy are those who act justly, who do right at all times" and Psalm/Tehillim 119: "Happy are those who keep the judgments, and practice righteousness at all times".] [Prayers of Confession/Viddui] [Rosh Hashanah a/k/a Rosh Hashana, Rosh HaShanah; Days of Penitence a/k/a Days of Repentance, Days of Awe, High Holy Days, Aseret Yemei Teshuva, Yamim Noraim] [Tishri 1-2]

* 10/7 eve to 10/8 eve: Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement--Jewish day of fasting, prayer, reconciliation, making reparation for harm done, and helping those in need. [Prayers of Confession/Viddui] [The shofar is blown to mark the end of the ten Days of Penitence.] [Tishri 10]

* 10/12 eve to 10/19 eve: Sukkot/Feast of Ingathering--Jewish thanksgiving for the fruit harvest. Originally, a dance procession was made to vineyards and wine was offered to Elohim. Also commemorates the years in the wilderness after leaving Egypt. [See Blessing for Wine/Beracha Borei Pr'i Ha-Gafen.] [Temporary dwellings are built, in which Jews eat, sleep, and pray during the festival, to remind them of the Shekhinah, the Divine Presence, who protected them in the wilderness. A prayer for world peace is recited.] [a/k/a Sukkoth, Feast of Tabernacles] [Tishri 15-21]

* 10/19 eve to 10/20 eve: Shemini Atzeret/Feast of Assembly--Jewish festival of praise and thanksgiving for life-giving rain. [Blessing for Rain/Beracha Mashiv Ha-Ruach.] [a/k/a Shemini Atsereth, Shemini Atseret] [Tishri 22]

* 10/20 eve to 10/21 eve: Simchat Torah/Rejoicing with the Torah--Jewish festival celebrating the Torah. [Simchat Torah marks the end of the annual cycle of congregational Torah readings and the beginning of a new cycle. The ark is opened, and Torah scrolls are carried around the synagogue seven times, accompanied by singing and dancing.] [a/k/a Simhat Torah, Simhath Torah] [Tishri 23]

* 12/20 eve to 12/28 eve: Hanukkah/Festival of Lights--Jewish festival commemorating a victory in their struggle for religious freedom and rededication of the second Temple in Jerusalem to Elohim. Menorah candles are lit. [Hanukkah Prayers.] [Though there was only enough oil for one day at the rededication, it miraculously burned for eight days.] [a/k/a Chanukah, Channukah] [Kislev 25-Tevet 2]

[The Jewish holy scripture is the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), which includes the Torah (Law), the Neb'im (Prophets), and Kethubim (Writings). Another holy book that reflects Jewish oral tradition is the Talmud. Jews believe that Deity is a unity, but recognize that Deity has many attributes. The Jewish Sabbath (Shabbat) is from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. On the Sabbath, Jews attend temples or synagogues to hear readings from the Torah. Jews also abstain from labor and use this time for prayer and study of the Torah. Home rituals are also performed. The Four Covenants with YHVH/Elohim are a foundation of Judaism. Jews follow the Ten Commandments. Beliefs, ritual practice, and the length of Jewish holidays vary between Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism, Reconstructionist Judaism, Liberal Judaism, Progressive Judaism, and Humanistic Judaism. The Kabbalah (also known as Kabbalism) is the mysticism of Judaism.]

[The Jewish calendar (also known as the Hebrew calendar) year is a lunisolar year. In order to harmonize the lunar months with the solar year, some years (ordinary years) have 12 months, while other years (leap years) have 13 months. The Jewish year and Jewish months begin at, or one day after, the New Moon. Jewish days begin and end at sundown.]

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