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Calendars are indispensable to our organization of time. Indeed, our very framing of time – our conception of time – is linked to the calendar. For calendars not only track events, they denote and establish worldviews. In the ongoing task of organizing and fashioning time, specific dates, too, stand out. Such occasions described below recall one of the Torah’s first messages: “There was evening and morning, a first day.” Meaning: create a calendar, and fashion connections across time and space.
Rosh HaShanah, the New Year, is a time for both celebration and for introspection. In synagogue Jews and their dear-ones wrestle with concepts of Teshuva, a return to our best selves.
Passover retells the story of the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt. Its ultimate message is the sanctity of freedom and of human dignity. Mindfulness of the past and of symbolic rituals can elevate us as we identify with tradition and liberation.
Chanukah is about freedom – the freedom to be distinct and to celebrate diversity and faith. We relate to the Author of freedom who challenges us in every generation to remain on the side of light, hope and human dignity.
Purim highlights the message that we not only have a right to our unique traditions, restating them each year keeps us alive as a People. The message is passed to the next generation through plays, carnivals and merriment.
Sukkot is the Bible’s holiday of thanksgiving that also commemorates ancient Israel’s trek to freedom. Central to the week-long observance is to build a special booth & to express connections to nature, history and those in need.
Yom Kippur is a day of fasting, self-denial and an examining of the soul. In so doing Jews and their dear-ones are summoned in the words of the Torah reading, to “choose life.”
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