Religious Traditions

The National calendar and holydays in Israel is based on Judaism, the religion of the Jewish people. The Judaism include the religion, philosophy, and culture of the Jewish people. 

Intangible cultural heritage

Jewish religious traditions are based on halakhic traditions and by moral principles marked by values such as justice, truth, peace, loving-kindness (chesed), compassion, humility, and self-respect. Specific Jewish ethical practices include practices of charity (tzedakah) and refraining from negative speech (lashon hara). 

Jewish holidays are special days in the Jewish calendar, which celebrate moments in Jewish history, as well as central themes in the relationship between G'd and the world, such as creation, revelation, and redemption.


Religious Holidays

The Shabbat

Shabbath is Judaism's day of rest and seventh day of the week. Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until the appearance of three stars in the sky on Saturday night. Shabbat observance entails refraining from work activities and engaging in restful activities to honor the day. Shabbat is ushered in by lighting candles and reciting a blessing. Three festive meals are eaten: in the evening, in the early afternoon, and late in the afternoon. The Friday evening meal begin with a blessing on wine called kiddush and a blessing recited over two loaves of challah. Shabbat is closed with a havdalah blessing.


Rosh Hashana

Rosh Hashana is a holiday from the Torah and is the Jewish New Year. It is celebrated today as a Jewish holiday on the 1st and 2nd of Tishrei. Rosh Hashana is considered to be the day of G'd's reign over mankind and the day of judgment in which the person is sentenced for the previous year and determined what would happen to him next year. The main mitzvah of the holiday is blowing the shofar. The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are called the Ten Days of Repentance.

Yom Kippour

Yom Kippur is celebrated on the 10th of Tishri, and is centered on, repentance and forgiveness, and according to the commandment of the Torah, the torment of the soul is required. Yom Kippur is a day of fasting and repentance. It is not because of mourning or tribulation that there is a need to fast, but because of the great holiness of the day. In fact, Yom Kippur is considered happy because, according to the Torah, when Moses returned from Mount Sinai where he remained for 40 days, G'd forgave Israel the sin of the Golden Calf. Moses came down from the mountain to Yom Kippur with the new tables of the law.


Sukkot, is a Jewish holiday celebrated from the 15th of Tishrei during 7 days. The religious significance is that of commemorating the Exodus and the dependence of the People of Israel on the will of G'd.

The Hebrew word sukkot is the plural of sukkah, which is a walled structure, covered with s'chach, intended as a reminiscence of the type of fragile dwellings in which the Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of travel in the desert after the Exodus from slavery in Egypt. 

Throughout the Sukkot week, meals are taken in the succah. Every day, a blessing is recited on the Loulav and the Etrog. The four species are four plants that the Torah orders to take from Sukkot a etrog, a lulav, a myrtle, and a willow.  It is customary to bind the four species and to maintain it by shaking the four species in a special order that takes place during prayer.


Hanukkah  is a Jewish festival commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. It is also known as the Festival of Lights.

Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar.  

The festival is observed by lighting the candles of a Menorah with eight branches, called  hanukkiah. One branch is placed above and is used to light the  eight candles. This  candle is called the shamash. Each night, one additional candle is lit by the shamash until all eight candles are lit together on the final night of the festival.  Hanukkah festivities include playing the game of dreidel and eating oil-based foods.

Tu bishvat

Tu BiShvat is a Jewish holiday occurring on the 15th day of  Shevat. It is also called the "New Year of the Trees." In Israel, the kabbalistic Tu BiShvat seder has been revived, and is now celebrated by many Jews, religious and secular. Special haggadot have been written for this purpose. In contemporary Israel, the day is celebrated as an ecological awareness day, and trees are planted in celebration.

Tu BiShvat is the Israeli Arbor Day,  Ecological organizations in Israel and the diaspora have adopted the holiday to further environmental-awareness programs.


Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from Haman,  the royal vizier to King of Persia Ahasuerus, who was planning to kill all the Jews.  The story is recorded in the Book of Esther ( Megillat Ester ). Haman plans were foiled by Mordechai and Esther, Esther had risen to become Queen of Persia. The day of deliverance became a day of feasting and rejoicing.

Purim is celebrated among Jews annually  the 14th day of the month of Adar, the day following the victory of the Jews over their enemies,  by exchanging gifts of food and drink, donating charity to the poor, eating a celebratory meal known as ''se'udat Purim''. Public recitation of the megillah"of Esther, known usually in the synagogue.  Customs include wearing masks and costumes, public celebration and parades (Adloyada), and eating hamantaschen ("Haman's ear").


Pesach is a great Jewish holiday. The Jews celebrate the Passover in commemoration of their release by G'd, slavery in ancient Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses. It commemorates the story of the exodus. Pesach begins with a special night known as Seder, in the evening of 14 Nisan, in communities in Israel, it is customary to gather the family as well as distant relatives, the poor and foreigners, all must come for pesach so that each person can eat the meal. On the evening of the Seder it is ordered to eat matzah and maror and the recitation of the Haggadah takes place in order to commemorate the story of the Exodus, also to eat Korban Pesach, haroset, eggs and karpas and drink four cups of wine. 


Lag Baomer

Lag BaOmer is a Jewish holiday celebrated on the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer, which takes place on the 18th day of Iyar. This day marks the hillula (birthday of death) of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, a Mishnai sage and main disciple of Rabbi Akiva in the 2nd century, and the day he revealed the deepest secrets of the Kabbalah in the form of the Zohar . This association has spawned many well-known customs and practices on Lag BaOmer, including the lighting of bonfires, pilgrimages to Bar Yochai's tomb in Meron, a city in northern Israel, and various customs. Another reason of the celebration is that Lag Baomer marks the day when the plague that killed Rabbi Akiva's 24,000 followers ended and Sefirat HaOmer's mourning period ends on Lag BaOmer.


Shavuot is a Jewish holiday that takes place on the sixth day of the Sivan, after the counting of the Omer, which begins the day after the first day of Pesach, seven weeks. This count of days and weeks is meant to express anticipation and desire for the gift of the Torah.
The three days before the week are called "the three days of limitation," commemorating the days when the Israelites prepared for the revelation on Mount Sinai. Shavuot commemorates the anniversary of the day when G'd gave the Torah to the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai.

Tisha B'Av

Tisha B'Av is a day of fasting and the culmination of the mourning period of these three weeks. This fast commemorates the various calamities that have afflicted the Jewish people throughout the generations, with a focus on the disasters that occurred on 9 Av.
At the beginning of the fast, it is customary to read the Book of Lamentations and throughout the day, to recite lamentations about the destruction of the Temple and other disasters.

According to tradition, after the coming of the Messiah and the construction of the Third Temple, Tisha Be Av will become a day of celebration and joy, like the rest of the fasts of destruction. In the Talmud of Jerusalem affirms that the king of the messiah was born Ticha Be Av.

Ceremonial Objects

''All the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded for Israel.
So, on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.'' 
 Nehemiah 8

''Make a lampstand of pure gold. Hammer out its base and shaft, and make its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms of one piece with them. Six branches are to extend from the sides of the lampstand—three on one side and three on the other. Three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms are to be on one branch, three on the next branch, and the same for all six branches extending from the lampstand. And on the lampstand are to be four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms... The buds and branches shall be all of one piece with the lampstand, hammered out of pure gold.''  Exodus 25: 31- 40

 “They shall construct an ark of acacia wood two and a half cubits long, and one and a half cubits wide, and one and a half cubits high. You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and you shall make a gold molding around it. You shall cast four gold rings for it and fasten them on its four feet, and two rings shall be on one side of it and two rings on the other side of it.  You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold.  You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark with them.''  Exodus 25:10

''Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.''  Leviticus 23 :24

''And in the seventh month, on the first day, there shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall not perform any mundane work. It shall be a day of shofar sounding for you.''  Numbers 29 

'' The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the children of Israel and you shall say to them that they shall make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments, throughout their generations, and they shall affix a thread of sky blue on the fringe of each corner. This shall be fringes for you, and when you see it, you will remember all the commandments of the Lord to perform them, and you shall not wander after your hearts and after your eyes after which you are going astray. So that you shall remember and perform all My commandments and you shall be holy to your God.''  Numbers 15:38

'' And it shall be to you as a sign upon your hand and as a remembrance between your eyes, in order that the law of the Lord shall be in your mouth, for with a mighty hand the Lord took you out of Egypt..''  Exodus 13:9

''And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for ornaments between your eyes.'' Devarim 6: 8

''You shall put these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall tie them for a sign upon your arm, and they shall be as totafot between your eyes.''  Deuteronomy 11:18

'' And you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your means. And these words, which I command you this day, shall be upon your heart. And these words, which I command you today, will be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk on your way, when you lie down, and when you rise. You will write them on the posts of your house and on your doors.''  Deuteronomy 6:4-9

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