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Jewish Holidays

Jewish holidays have many parallels to Christian holidays. The Jewish Bible, or the Torah, is the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. The Jewish faith puts a lot of emphasis on their ancestors and the hardships and successes of their people in the land of Israel. The Jewish holidays are testaments to one of the world's oldest religions.


Hanukah is also known as the "Festival of Lights." It is a celebration of the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, a Jewish holy site. Each day a candle is lit on a menorah, and the festival lasts for eight days. Traditional Hanukah foods are latkes, or potato pancakes and a traditional game is dreidel.


Passover is a spring holiday that celebrates the escape of the Israelites from Egypt, where they were imprisoned. Passover is the birth of the "Children of Israel" who wandered in the desert and became the Jewish people. During Passover, the traditional food is unleavened, or flat, matzo bread that the Israelites baked in the desert to survive.


The Jewish people celebrate Purim to remember how the Jews escaped from Persia and Babylon. It is a feast marked by lots of food and drink, costumes and merriment. A very generous aspect of Purim is the custom of donating food to charity and remembering those less fortunate.

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, or Jewish New Year, is celebrated by the blowing of a shofar, which is a trumpet made out of a ram's horn. At the Rosh Hashanah feast, apples and honey are served to symbolize the "sweetness of the new year." Ten days later, the Jewish faith celebrates Yom Kippur.


The Sabbath is a day of rest. It is a day when faithful people can stop what they are doing and pray, worship and remember their faith. Orthodox Jewish families celebrate the Sabbath by abstaining from most electrical and mechanical objects and not driving their cars on the day of rest.

Yom Kippur

As Jews forgive their sins on Yom Kippur they also fast, or abstain from food for 25 hours. To celebrate, Jews have a large feast the day before Yom Kippur and during the holiday itself they go to the synagogue, or church, to pray and worship. Amish Christians have a similar tradition, called Fast Day.