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Jewish Holiday Resources

Havdalah | Passover  |  Yom Hashoah  |  Yom Hazikaron & Yom Ha'atzmaut   |  Shavuot

Havdalah

Our rabbis teach that on Shabbat, we are given an extra soul. At Havdalah we relinquish that extra soul but hope that the sweetness and holiness of the day will remain with us during the week. 

This beautiful weekly ceremony that marks the end of Shabbat and the beginning of the new week includes four blessings. If you'd like the Hebrew (or transliteration) PJTC uses during the ritual, you can download a copy HERE

If you are observing the holiday at home, you can purchase or make your own ritual objects. The items you will need are:

  1. A cup filled with grape juice (or wine if there are adults present). 
  2. A spice box. You can make one in a mint tinin a spice bag, or stud an orange with cloves! (Really all you need is something that smells nice.)
  3. A havdalah candle. This would either be multi-wick candle or you can hold any two candles together.

 

PASSOVER

2020 Passover Services will be held via livestream in the following virtual locations: StreamSpot, PJTC Facebook Page, and the PJTC YouTube Channel.

Thursday, April 9 - 9:30 AM

Friday, April 10 - 9:30 AM

Wednesday, April 15 - 9:30 AM

Thursday, April 16 - 9:30 AM

During Passover, we ask "Why is tonight different?"

 

Because in the past, we were slaves. Tonight, thanks to our covenant with the Holy One, the Source of all our blessings, and our connection to each other, we are free.

 

That’s the answer: We are free.

 

We are free to exercise good judgment that is already saving the lives of the people we care about the most.

 

We are free to draw on the tradition of the Jewish people, of course, but this year we are also blessed by unprecedented Jewish creativity, creativity that has blossomed in the past few weeks to not just make the best of this unprecedented moment, but to make it holy.

 

We are free to add new traditions - even as we’re prompted to add new things to our Seder plate - that will mark this year in our families memories as “that time we got through together, and triumphed.”

 

On this Passover, please enjoy these resources:

Counting the Omer and Making It Count: A spiritual practice to inform and enrich our lives.

From the Torah we learn to count 49 days starting on the second night of Pesach all the way to Shavuot. It is written: “You shall count from the eve of the second day of Pesach, when an omer of grain is to be brought as an offering, seven complete weeks. The day after the seventh week of your counting will make fifty days, and you shall present a new meal offering to God”. (Leviticus 23:15-16)

Since most of us do not work the land as our ancestors did, why do we still count? Our rabbis suggest that counting can help us not only in a ritualistic way, allowing us to engage daily with the world of mitzvot, but perhaps it can also provide us an opportunity to dive into a more personal and spiritual journey. 

CLICK HERE to view information on how to count the omer and find links to more resources.

 

YOM HASHOAH

A day honoring both those who lost their lives in the Holocaust, those who survived, and those who resisted. 

We are tested to live in a time that reminds us of the fragility and preciousness of life, yet we are blessed with a tradition that calls and inspires us with this charge: "Kol Yisrael arevim zeh bazeh" - We are all responsible for one another. This teaching shares a page of the Talmud (Shevuot 39a) and an intention with another teaching: That the Torah was given not only to those who stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai to hear the Holy One speak the Ten Commandments; it was given to all who would be a part of our family in the future, whether born into our family, or inspired to join it. 

We are responsible not only for the lives and safety of those in our homes today. We are also responsible for remembering those who came before us. And, we are responsible for the safeguarding of future generations. In this spirit, and in this moment, we will not forget the sacrifices of our ancestors. We will not neglect the honor of those survivors we are blessed to have among us today. We will never again allow indifference to life permit the spread of death within our gates. Instead, we will remember. We will mourn. We will learn. We will grow, as ever, stronger together.

Yom Hashoah Ritual Mitvah 

It is customary to light a memorial candle on the eve of Yom HaShoah, as one does for the eve of a Yahrtzeit or Yizkor. Ideally, this should be a candle that burns all night and through the day, like the usual Jewish memorial / yartzeit candles you might find at the supermarket.

Your candle should be lit shortly before sundown Monday evening. Place it in a safe location, such as in a sink or on a stovetop away from flammable materials, so that it may be allowed to burn completely over the course of the day and extinguish itself.

Jewish law does not insist on a particular prayer to be said. You may take a moment of silence, or speak whatever is in your heart on the occasion. Please see the resources below for poems or prayers you might like to share in your home.

 

YOM HAzikaron & Yom Ha'atzmaut

We are called to join in solidarity with our Israeli community in the State of Israel during two important and holy days: Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha'atzmaut.

 

Yom Hazikaron honors both those who have fallen in military service to the State of Israel as well as those who have fallen as victims of terrorism within the State of Israel, from before the birth of the modern state to this very day.

 

Yom HaAtzmaut celebrates the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

 

It's possible to think of these days as the Israeli equivalent of our Memorial Day and Independence Day, respectively, with one important difference: They are always observed together. These days are observed every year on the 4th and 5th days of the Hebrew month of Iyar (this year starting Monday night 4/27) except if either of those days would overlap Shabbat; then both days are moved earlier or later, so that public commemorations and celebrations can go on without the limitations of traditional Shabbat observance.

 

First, it's remarkable that the State of Israel, which typically uses the Gregorian or "secular" calendar for most official business, decided to anchor the celebration to the same Jewish calendar that we use for all of our Jewish holidays. Marking these days is not just a show of patriotism at home and solidarity abroad; it is that, and much more: a holy act, a mitzvah, for Jewish people worldwide, whatever calendar they follow in their workaday lives.

 

Second, it's important to note that when they are moved, both days are moved. They are never split up. The spirit of holding these days together is that celebrating independence, the realization of a Jewish dream of millennia, is inseparable from honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice to help that dream come true, and to continue to bring that dream to fruition.

 

Imagine what it would be like in the United States if we held our Memorial Day, always observed in late May, on July 3rdinstead. Would our honoring of the fallen be deepened by concluding it with joyous celebration of what they fought for? Would our sense of independence a nation be elevated if we were presently reminded that it was not secured merely by the signing of one document on one day, but something constantly renewed and sustained by virtue of ongoing sacrifice?

 

As we approach this holy time, both for the people of the State of Israel and for us, the Children of Israel as a whole, we encourage you to take advantage of the resources listed below, so that in spirit we can experience the full range of Jewish emotion - mourning and celebration, honor and joy - together.

 

An article about Yom Hazikaron by My Jewish Learning

 

An article about Yom Ha'Atzmaut by My Jewish Learning

 

 

Shavuot

Shavuot is one of the Shalosh Regalim - our major festivals of pilgrimage and gathering - along with Pesach and Sukkot. While Shavuot and the others were established by the Torah, its meaning and observance have evolved throughout our history.

In the Torah Hag HaShavuot (The Festival of Weeks - Exodus 34:22, because it’s seven weeks - a week of weeks - after Pesach) is also called Hag HaKatzir (The Festival of Reaping - Exodus 23:16) and Yom HaBikkurim (Day of the First Fruits - Numbers 28:26). In Biblical times this holiday was clearly a celebration of God’s gifts to us on the occasion of the grain harvest, starting with barley, continuing over seven weeks, and culminating at the end of the wheat harvest. This parallels the autumn produce harvest of Sukkot.

Then, by the era of the Talmud, there had been a shift in the focus of the meaning of Shavuot. Most rabbis agreed (a feat to celebrate in itself) that the Torah was revealed to the Jewish people, beginning with the Ten Commandments, on the 6th of Sivan...which happened to also be Shavuot. It’s important to note that by this time, the Jewish people were largely living in exile, separated from the Promised Land, the harvest of which was the explicit reason for celebrating this holiday. In the meantime, the community rituals had also increasingly shifted from making offerings from our agricultural bounty at the Temple to service and study of Torah.

Our people are sustained by our fidelity to our origin, our roots, our traditions. We still say prayers today that were first said thousands of years ago, by people with very different lives, very different hopes, prayers, needs, fears, and aspirations. And we are also sustained by a belief that although the Torah was originally given to us on Mt. Sinai, its wisdom continues to reveal itself to us every time someone delves into it in order to guide them through their real lives today. 

When we needed to celebrate our harvest, Shavuot gave us the platform to do that. When we needed to celebrate the study of Torah that has sustained us, even when wheat from the Promised Land did not. Shavuot gave us the tikkun leyl Shavuot, a custom of sharing wisdom from the Torah as a community, reflected through the lens of our own community’s scholars and teachers.

LOOKING TO TALK TORAH FOR SHAVUOT? Check out these "TED Talks" PJTC Style, featuring educational and spiritual leaders in our community. After watching, we encourage you to share your thoughts and questions in the YouTube comments, as well as open a dialogue with friends and family to deepen the discussion.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO A YOUTUBE PLAYLIST that features the following talks.

Jill Gold Wright: The Book of Psalms and How it Reflects Human Experience (click to see bio)

Rabbi Shana Chandler Leon: The Book of Leviticus (click to see bio)

Susan Auerbach: Mental Health Awareness to Support Our Families & Communities (click to see bio)

Rabbi Jason Mann: The Book of Ruth: A Journey to Redemption (click to see bio)

Ida UngerA Personal Journey Through the Kabbalistic Tree of Life (click to see bio)

Rabbi Carrier: Shavuot and Kosher Wine (click to see bio)

Sun, June 7 2020 15 Sivan 5780