Education: Upcoming Jewish Holidays

If you have Jewish friends, you may be hearing them talk of the new year right now. No, they’re not crazy. We’re entering the time in the Jewish calendar that starts the new year, otherwise known as Rosh Hashanah, followed by Yom Kippur.

Rosh Hashanah is a happy, festive holiday. It is a time to look back on the past year and make resolutions for the following year. It’s also a time to begin mental preparation for Yom Kippur, the day of atonement (but we’ll talk about that later).

Rosh Hashanah starts at sundown the day before the actual day and ends at sundown the day following. This year, for us Gentiles, that means sundown on September 20th through Sundown September 22nd.

SHOULD YOU EXPECT YOUR JEWISH FRIENDS TO “SKIP” THIS HOLIDAY IF YOU PLAN SOMETHNG ELSE? No. While it’s not a solemn day, it is a special time, so be mindful.

What can you say to your Jewish friend during Rosh Hashanah?
• Happy New Year
• Shanah Tovah
• Blessed Shanah Tovah
• Chag Samayach

Because this is a celebration, being invited as a non-Jewish person to a Jewish person’s home to celebrate Rosh Hashanah means that you are welcome and the invitation should be honored and accepted.

Yom Kippur, on the other hand is a solemn day that no matter what your Jewish friends may practice in their life, this is the one time they usually will not skip or slough off on. There are a few that do, though.

Yom Kippur is generally marked as a day of fasting and repentance. It’s meant to reconcile for mistakes made in the last year. Most (not all) Jewish people will take off work or school for this day.

As a non-Jewish person, during Yom Kippur, always be mindful and respectful of this day for your Jewish friends. Wishing them “Chag Samayach” or “Tzom Kal” (pronounced Ts-ohm kael, and which means “easy fast”)

This year, Yom Kippur begins at sundown on September 29th and ends at sundown on September 30th.

With thanks to Sarah and Dana for writing this piece together for us!

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FAM Admin

Forward Action Michigan Administrators