Holidays and Festivals are a time to join together to celebrate and reflect!
At Temple B’nai Israel that means coming together to laugh, love and on many occasions… EAT!
From Purim to Chanukah there is something for everyone and more than enough to nosh!
Sukkot, a Hebrew word meaning “booths” or “huts,” refers to the Jewish festival of giving thanks for the fall harvest, as well as the commemoration of the forty years of Jewish wandering in the desert after Sinai.
Sukkot is celebrated five days after Yom Kippur on the 15th of Tishrei and is marked by several distinct traditions.
One tradition, which takes the commandment to “dwell in booths” literally, is to build a sukkah, a booth or hut.
At Temple B’nai Israel we gather together as a community to build our community sukkah; we come together to eat, pray and share the holiday with our friends and family. Many of the decorations are made ahead of time at religious school.
Hanukkah, meaning “dedication” in Hebrew, refers to the joyous eight-day celebration during which Jews commemorate the
victory of the Maccabees over the armies of Syria in 165 B.C.E. (Before Common Era) and the subsequent liberation and
“re-dedication” of the Temple in Jerusalem.
The modern home celebration of Hanukkah centers around the lighting of the chanukiah, a special menorah (candelabra) for Hanukkah; unique foods such as latkes (potato pancakes) and jelly doughnuts; playing dreidle (spinning top), eating chocolate Hanukkah gelt (coins), and singing songs such as Sivivon and Maoz Tzur.
At Temple B’nai Israel, on the Shabbat during Hanukkah, we have a special Friday night service where families are invited to bring their chanukiot (candelabras) for a community chanukiah lighting, a sing-a-long service, potluck dinner, and latke cook-off!
Purim is celebrated by the reading of the Scroll of Esther, known in Hebrew as the Megillat Esther, which relates the basic story of Purim. Under the rule of King Ahashuerus, Haman, the King’s prime minister, plots to exterminate all of the Jews of Persia. His plan is foiled by Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai, who ultimately save the Jews of the land from destruction. The reading of the megillah is typically a rowdy affair, punctuated by booing and noise-making when Haman’s name is read aloud.
At Temple B’nai Israel we celebrate with games for the kids, a special reading, and a delicious hamantaschen bake-off!
Pesach, known as Passover in English, is a major Jewish spring festival, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt over 3,000 years ago. Today, the holiday is a celebration of freedom and family.
The ritual observance of this holiday centers around a special home service called the seder (meaning “order”) and a festive meal; the prohibition of chametz (leaven); and the eating of matzah (an unleavened bread).
On the fifteenth day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, Jews gather with family and friends in the evening to read from a book called the haggadah, meaning “telling,” which contains the order of prayers, rituals, readings, and songs for the Passover seder.
At Temple B’nai Israel we welcome all those interested in joining us for our annual community seder.
The night features amazing food, a treasure hunt for our kids as they search for the afikomen (dessert in Greek),
and a chance to share a great time with friends and family.