Riverdale YM-YWHA

Jewish Holidays


Tu B'Shevat

Jan 25, 2016
(Hebrew date: 15 Shevat)

Tu B'Shevat, also called the New Year for Trees, is a minor Jewish holiday. On this day, Jews customarily eat fruit from trees grown in Israel, plant trees or provide money for tree planting in Israel. "Tu" means 15, as the celebration falls on the 15 day of the month of Shevat.

The Y is open 7:00pm-10:00pm.


Mar 24, 2016
(Hebrew date: 14 Adar)

The holiday of Purim celebrates the story recounted in the Scroll of Esther (Megillat Esther) of how the Jews of Persia were saved from destruction in large part because of the brave actions of Esther. In celebration of Purim, people dress up in costumes, often representing characters from the Esther story. There are four important actions associated with Purim: giving gifts of food to one another (called mishloach manot) and  to the poor (matanot l'evyonim), listening to the story of Esther both in the evening and during the morning of the holiday, and eating a festive meal (seudah).

Passover (Pesach)

-, 2016 Sa‑Su, -, 2016 M‑Th, -, 2016 F‑Sa
(Hebrew date: 15-22 Nisan)

Passover celebrates the redemption of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt as recounted in the book of Exodus. In preparation for Passover all leavening agents and bread (hametz) are carefully removed from the home to be replaced by matzah (unleavened bread) and special plates and utensils for the holiday. Leavened bread and related products are avoided during the eight day festival. The holiday is marked by a celebratory meal called a Seder (meaning order) where we recount the story of the Exodus from Egypt, ask questions to draw out the deeper meanings of the story and to involve children, and eat foods that symbolize the bitterness of slavery (horse radish and salt water) and the sweetness of freedom (wine and spring vegetables). The Haggadah is the book that guides us through the fifteen parts of the Seder. There are many variations on the traditional Haggadah, but almost all versions emphasize the central ethical tenet of the holiday that "in every generation a person should regard him or herself as if he or she personally left Egypt" and act accordingly to defend the rights of those who are oppressed.


-, 2016
(Hebrew date: 6 and 7, Sivan)

Shavuot (meaning weeks) comes seven weeks after Passover and celebrates the giving of the Torah to the Children of Israel at Mt. Sinai. The holiday is customarily celebrated with a tikkun leyl Shavuot, the practice of staying up all night and studying the Torah and other Jewish texts. The Book of Ruth is read in synagogue on the day of Shavuot. It is also customary to celebrate by eating a dairy meal.

The Y is closed.

Rosh Hashanah

Thursday and Friday, -, 2016
(Hebrew dates: 1, 2 Tishrei)

The first two days of Tishrei are Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah marks the anniversary of the creation of the world and is both a time for celebration and contemplation. Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the ten days of repentance (Aseret Yemei Teshuvah) during which Jews evaluate their behavior over the past year. Jews strive to implement changes in their lives that will make them better individuals and community members.

The Y is closed.


Yom Kippur

(Hebrew date: 10 Tishrei)

Yom Kippur is known as the Day of Atonement. It is considered the holiest day of the Jewish New Year and is the final of the ten days of repentance. Many Jews spend the entire day in Synagogue. Yom Kippur is a fast day during which both food and drink are forbidden. The fast is intended to enable individuals to focus on their prayers and on the sincerity of their Teshuvah.

The Y is closed.



-, 2016
(Hebrew dates: 15, 16 Tishrei)

Sukkot, the Feast of Booths, commemorates the journey of the Israelites through the desert after their Exodus from Egypt. As their ancestors did centuries ago, Jews construct a booth called a sukkah which serves as a temporary residence during this holiday. Meals are eaten outdoors in the sukkah with family and friends. Additionally some individuals choose to sleep in the sukkah. This is one of the three biblical agricultural holidays.

The Y is closed.


Shmini Atzeret

(Hebrew date: 22 Tishrei)

This is a day of Holy Assembly. Jews gather in the synagogue on the eighth day of Sukkot to celebrate the end of the harvest season. At this time a prayer for rain is offered with the hope of a good crop in Israel and all over the world for the coming year. The Yizkor memorial prayer is said.

The Y is closed.


Simchat Torah

(Hebrew date: 23 Tishrei)

Simchat Torah is a joyous holiday. On this day, the cycle of reading the Torah is concluded and immediately started anew. During the synagogue service all the Torah scrolls are taken out and carried around the sanctuary in a series of processions accompanied by singing and dancing.

The Y is closed.



-, 2017
(Hebrew dates: 25 Kislev-2 Tevet)

Chanukah is the Jewish festival of lights and miracles. This post-biblical holiday celebrates the victory of the Hasmonean Maccabees over the Asssyrian-Greeks. This holiday is also a celebration of religious freedom won by the Jews more than 2,000 years ago. Many believe that when the Temple was rededicated, one supply of sacramental oil for the Holy Lamp lasted for eight days — the time required to make a new batch. Today, candles are placed in a Menorah and lit each night of the holiday.

The Y is open.

Interested in more information? Visit myjewishlearning.com

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