The Jewish Calendar – 24

How we measure time reflects how we see the world and our place it. Each individual has markers in time that are important to him – birthdays, anniversaries, yahrzeits, etc. So too different nations and cultures mark time uniquely. Their respective systems reflect their perception of time and space. The Christians count from the death of Christ, the Moslems from the flight of Mohammed. The Gregorian calendar follows the solar year. The Islamic calendar follows the lunar year. In this lesson we will study how Jews mark time and try to understand the significance and results of the system, and its role in linking the land and people of Israel. It turns out that in addition to sanctifying time, the Jewish calendar is deeply connected to the sanctification of place: in living according to it, Jews all over the world affirm, consciously or not, their rootedness in the landscape of Eretz Yisrael.


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Sukkot – 26

Sukkot is a much loved and much studied festival that comes to round up the fall holiday season. It “works” as a harvest festival in Europe and North America, and is associated with messages of eco-harmony and colorful customs. And it ends with Simchat Torah, certainly a non-Israel-based celebration (and likely a Diaspora innovation). Thus, one can happily observe Sukkot without noticing any connection to Israel. And yet, there are a number of aspects of this festival that definitely express our connection to the land of Israel. This unit seeks to highlight these, without necessarily reviewing the whole range of religious meanings, values, and observances connected with the holiday.


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