Holidays at Temple Emanuel are filled with opportunities for worship, celebration, joy, and reflection. Explore the holidays below to get a sense of how we observe and celebrate.
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Join us for these upcoming holiday celebrations.
Holidays at Temple Emanuel
The High Holy Days: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
Rosh Hashanah (literally, "Head of the Year") is the Jewish New Year, which marks the beginning of a 10-day period of prayer, self-examination and repentance. This period, known as the Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe or High Holy Days), is widely observed by Jews throughout the world, many with prayer and reflection in a synagogue.
Yom Kippur means "Day of Atonement" and refers to the annual Jewish observance of fasting, prayer and repentance. Part of the High Holidays, which also includes Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur is considered the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.
At Temple Emanuel, our clergy and staff work to provide many meaningful options for High Holy Day worship, including traditional and contemporary services and a Rosh Hashanah retreat at beautiful Shwayder Camp.
Sukkot, a Hebrew word meaning "booths" or "huts," refers to the Jewish festival of giving thanks for the fall harvest. It also commemorates the 40 years of Jewish wandering in the desert after the giving of the Torah atop Mt. Sinai.
At Temple emanuel we build a large sukkah in our beautiful courtyard that the children of the congregation and early childhood center decorate. We worship and celebrate in the sukkah with a variety of events, including concerts and meals.
Simchat Torah is a joyous celebration of Jewish life and learning. At the conclusion of our holiday cycle, we come together in our sanctuary to take all of the Torah scrolls out of the ark and dance with them to the music of a live band. We read both the end of the book of Deuteronomy and begin with "In the beginning" in the book of Genesis.
After the Torah has been read, we take one scroll out of the ark and completely unroll it around the periphery of the sanctuary.
Hanukkah, meaning "dedication" in Hebrew, refers to the joyous eight-day celebration during which Jews commemorate the victory of the Maccabees over the armies of Syria in 165 B.C.E. and the subsequent liberation and "rededication" of the Temple in Jerusalem.
The highlight of the Hanukkah season at Temple Emanuel is Hanukkah Hoopla. During this celebration everyone is welcome to bring a menorah to light together in the sanctuary. Worship is followed by dinner in the Social Hall, with latkes made by the Sisterhood and activities for kids, and a fun concert!
Tu B'Shevat or the "New Year of the Trees" is Jewish Arbor Day. The holiday is observed on the 15th (tu) of the Hebrew month of Shevat. Scholars believe that originally Tu B'Shevat was an agricultural festival, marking the emergence of spring.
In our Early Childhood Center and Religious School we celebrate Tu B’Shevat by reflecting upon the Jewish lens of Tikkun Olam – Repair and Responsibility for the World.
Purim is celebrated with a public reading—usually in the synagogue—of the Book of Esther (Megillat Esther), which tells the story of the holiday. Under the rule of King Ahashverosh, Haman, the king's prime minister, plots to exterminate all of the Jews of Persia. His plan is foiled by Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai, who ultimately save the Jews of Persia from destruction.
Join us every year for a Purim Shpiel for ALL AGES! Come join for a Shpiel filled with many surprises and opportunities for all to embarrass themselves and others. Our Friedman Club also runs a wonderful Purim Carnival with Costume contests, carnival games, delicious food, and tons of prizes!
Pesach, known as Passover in English, is a major Jewish spring festival, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt over 3,000 years ago. The ritual observance of this holiday centers around a special home service called the seder (meaning "order") and a festive meal; the prohibition of chametz (leaven); and the eating of matzah (an unleavened bread).
Temple Emanuel holds an annual Community Seder, conducted by our clergy, that fills our social hall to capacity. The seder combines reading, singing, tasting, acting - a little of everything! Plus, a wonderful meal.
On Shavuot we celebrate the gift of Torah and its meaning for our lives today. We are taught that all of us stood at Sinai. And yet, that powerful moment of revelation means different things to different people. We all experience Torah and tradition through different lenses.
We observe Shavuot at Temple Emanuel with a special evening of study, prayer, song, and celebration! And of course, cheesecake!