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Jewish Calendar

jewish star

The Hebrew calendar is a lunisolar calendar used by the Jewish community.  It is not the same as the calendar used by most of the western world. Because of this, Jewish holidays appear to shift every year on a civil calendar, but they are always celebrated on the same dates within the Jewish community.

The Jewish calendar is based on twelve lunar months of twenty-nine or thirty days with an extra month occasionally added in order to synchronize the years. This 13th month is called Adar I, Adar Rishon or Adar Alef.  A year with 13 months (a leap year) is referred to as Shanah Me´uberet .  The number of years on a Jewish calendar represents the number of years since the creation of the world. This is calculated by adding the ages of people in the Bible since the time of creation. For example, the civil year 2010 is year 5771 in Hebrew. Instead of referring to years with ¨A.D.¨ or ¨B.C.¨ the abbreviations ¨C.E. ¨ (Common or Christian Era) and ¨B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) are widely used.

Every lunar month starts with a new moon.  Originally, the sliver of the new moon had to be observed and certified by witnesses. Then they would notify the Sanhedrin (an assembly of 23 judges appointed in every Israeli city) who would declare the Rosh Chodesh (the first of the month). The first month of the year is Nissan. It is in the springtime around March or April of a civil calendar. The Jewish New Year is in the Tishri, the seventh month.

The weeks follow a seven day cycle. The names of the days of the weeks refer to the seven days mentioned in the Creation story. Each day does not have a significant name, but rather a number as in the first day, second day, etc.

The Jewish day starts at sunset and ends at the next sunset. There is not a fixed number of hours in the days although there are special rules for areas where the sun is above or below the horizon for longer than a civil day. In any case, all Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before the actual holiday date.

For more information:

The Jewish Holidays

Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec| Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug

September

Rosh Hashana - Fri, 18 September 2009 at sundown
The Jewish New Year. Also spelled Rosh Hashanah

Tzom Gedaliah - Mon, 21 September 2009 at dawn
Fast of the Seventh Month

Shabbat Shuva - Fri, 25 September 2009 at sundown
Shabbat that falls between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (Shabbat of Returning)

Yom Kippur - Sun, 27 September 2009 at sundown
Day of Atonement

October

Sukkot - Fri, 02 October 2009 at sundown
Feast of Tabernacles

Shmini Atzeret - Fri, 09 October 2009 at sundown
Eighth Day of Assembly

Simchat Torah - Sat, 10 October 2009 at sundown
Day of Celebrating the Torah

Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan - Sat, 17 October 2009 at sundown
The new Hebrew month of Cheshvan

November

Rosh Chodesh Kislev - Mon, 16 November 2009 at sundown
The new Hebrew month of Kislev

December

Chanukah - Fri, 11 December 2009 at sundown
The Jewish festival of rededication, also known as the Festival of Lights. Sometimes spelled Hanukkah, Chanukkah, Hanukah, or Hannukah

Rosh Chodesh Tevet - Wed, 16 December 2009 at sundown
The new Hebrew month of Tevet

Asara B'Tevet - Sun, 27 December 2009 at dawn
Fast commemorating the siege of Jerusalem

January

Rosh Chodesh Sh'vat - Fri, 15 January 2010 at sundown
The new Hebrew month of Sh'vat

Tu B'Shvat - Fri, 29 January 2010 at sundown
New Year for Trees

February

Shabbat Shekalim - Fri, 12 February 2010 at sundown
Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh Adar

Rosh Chodesh Adar - Sat, 13 February 2010 at sundown
The new Hebrew month of Adar

Ta'anit Esther - Thu, 25 February 2010 at dawn
Fast of Esther

Shabbat Zachor - Fri, 26 February 2010 at sundown
Shabbat before Purim

Purim Katan
Minor Purim celebration during Adar I on leap years

Purim - Sat, 27 February 2010 at sundown
Purim is one of the most joyous and fun holidays on the Jewish calendar

Shushan Purim - Sun, 28 February 2010 at sundown
Purim celebrated in Jerusalem and walled cities

March

Shabbat Parah - Fri, 05 March 2010 at sundown
Shabbat after Purim

Shabbat HaChodesh - Fri, 12 March 2010 at sundown
Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh Nissan

Rosh Chodesh Nisan - Mon, 15 March 2010 at sundown
The new Hebrew month of Nisan

Shabbat HaGadol - Fri, 26 March 2010 at sundown
Shabbat before Pesach

Ta'anit Bechorot - Mon, 29 March 2010 at dawn
Fast of the First Born

Pesach - Mon, 29 March 2010 at sundown
Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Also called Chag HaMatzot (the Festival of Matzah).

Days of the Omer
7 weeks from the second night of Pesach to the day before Shavuot

April

Yom HaShoah - Sat, 10 April 2010 at sundown
Holocaust Memorial Day

Rosh Chodesh Iyyar - Tue, 13 April 2010 at sundown
The new Hebrew month of Iyyar

Yom HaZikaron - Sun, 18 April 2010 at sundown
Israeli Memorial Day.

Yom HaAtzma'ut - Mon, 19 April 2010 at sundown
Israeli Independence Day. Commemorates the declaration of independence of Israel in 1948.

May

Lag B'Omer - Sat, 01 May 2010 at sundown
33rd day of counting the Omer

Yom Yerushalayim - Tue, 11 May 2010 at sundown
Jerusalem Day. Commemorates the re-unification of Jerusalem in 1967

Rosh Chodesh Sivan - Thu, 13 May 2010 at sundown
The new Hebrew month of Sivan

Shavuot - Tue, 18 May 2010 at sundown
Feast of Pentecost

June

Rosh Chodesh Tamuz - Fri, 11 June 2010 at sundown
The new Hebrew month of Tamuz

Tzom Tammuz - Tue, 29 June 2010 at dawn
Fast commemorating breaching of the walls of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar

July

Rosh Chodesh Av - Sun, 11 July 2010 at sundown
The new Hebrew month of Av

Shabbat Chazon - Fri, 16 July 2010 at sundown
Shabbat before Tish'a B'Av (Shabbat of Prophecy/Shabbat of Vision)

Tish'a B'Av - Mon, 19 July 2010 at sundown
Fast commemorating the destruction of the two Temples

Shabbat Nachamu - Fri, 23 July 2010 at sundown
Shabbat after Tish'a B'Av (Shabbat of Consolation)

August

Rosh Chodesh Elul - Mon, 09 August 2010 at sundown
The new Hebrew month of Elul

Shabbat Rosh Chodesh
When Shabbat falls on Rosh Chodesh

Shabbat Machar Chodesh
When Shabbat falls the day before Rosh Chodesh

Published: 2010-01-21