This web site is for those of you who are looking for a rabbi
to perform life cycle events in the Washington, DC metropolitan area,
weddings, funerals, and baby namings.
This site is also for people who are interested in Jewish holidays, Torah Study,
and other topics of Jewish interest.
Torah and Haftarah Portions for the Month of October 2016
» October 1 - Nitzavim
(Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20); Haftarah (Isaiah 61:10-63:9)
» October 8 - Va'yeilekh
); Haftarah (Isaiah 55:6-56:8)
» October 15 - Ha'Azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-52); Haftarah (II
22 - Chol Ha'moed Succoth
29 - Bereshit
(Genesis 1:1-6:8); Haftarah (Isaiah
Jewish Holidays in October 2016
Happy Rosh Hashonah 5777!
» Rosh Hashonah - The Jewish New Year (1
Tishrei/October 3, 2016).
Rosh Hashonah inaugurates a new year and a time for reflection on
our actions so that we can correct our course. The traditional
Rosh Hashonah greeting is "L'shana tovah ticotavu" (May
you be inscribed for a good year"). The metaphor is that
G_d has a ledger book in which it will be written who will live and
who will die in the New Year. For the 10 days between Rosh
Hashonah and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), the book remains
opened, but it is sealed on the Day of Atonement and one's fate is
determined. For more information, click
Fast of Gedaliah (3 Tishrei/October 5, 2016). Gedaliah was
the governor of Judah, appointed by Nebuchadnezzar, who was
assassinated shortly after the fall of the First Temple.
This is considered a minor holiday, observed by a fast that begins
at sunrise and ends at sunset on the same day (most Jewish holidays
begin the night before; this is an exception). The details of
Gedaliah's assassination are described in 2 Kings 25:25-26 and
Kippur - The Day of Atonement (10 Tishrei/October
Other than the Sabbath, Yom Kippur is the most solemn day on the
Jewish calendar. There is a 24-hour fast initiated by a
prayer, Kol Nidre, in which we ask G_d to forgive all our vows and
oaths. The holiday ends with N'ila, the closing service, which
traditionally concludes when three stars are visible in the sky.
For more information, click here.
Succoth - Feast of Booths. (15-21 Tishrei/ October 17-
23, 2016) .
In the ancient world, this harvest festival was the biggest of the
three pilgrimage holidays (Passover and Shavuoth being the other
two). At the time of Ezra, everyone congregated in Jerusalem
to hear a reading of the Torah. The holiday commemorates the
temporary structures in which the Children of Israel lived as they
crossed the Wilderness. This holiday lasts 7 days, and
observant families eat in temporary booths connected to their
homes. The invite guests, including the spiritual guests,
Ushpizin, associated with this holiday. For more
information, click here.
Shemini Atzeret, (21-22 Tishrei/October 23-24, 2016). These two holidays are the end of Succoth and therefore
the last of the Harvest Festival Days. Their names means
"Great Supplication" and "8th day of Solemn Assembly,"
Hoshanna Raba, the 7th day of Succoth, is the last chance to repent for the New Year.
The Book of Life may have been closed on Yom Kippur, but it is not
sealed until Hoshanna Raba. Shemini
Atzeret is its own holiday, and technically not a part of
Succoth. In traditional synagogues, Ecclesiastes (Kohelet) is
read as well as prayers for rain.
» Simchat Torah
- Rejoicing of the Torah (23 Tishrei/October 25.2016).
We celebrate the Torah by reading the closing verses of Deuteronomy
and the opening verses of Genesis. Thus the cycle of
reading the Torah begins anew. In traditional congregations, the Torahs are carried
around the sanctuary seven times, with song and dance. There
can be much rejoicing -- including drinking, which may explain
Priestly Blessing is moved earlier in the service than usual in an
Note: Jewish holidays actually begin at sunset the day before the
English calendar date. Thus, Erev Rosh Hashonah is Sunday
night, October 2, Erev Yom Kippur (the Kol Nidre service) is
Tuesday night October 10, and Erev Succoth is Sunday, October 16).