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Jewish festivals are the days celebrated by Jews. Some Jewish festivals happen on the same date every year, while others move around within a range of dates. Here we have provided the dates of the Jewish religious holidays for calendar year 2009. All Jewish holidays begin in the evening after the sunset.
Judaism is believed to be one of the world’s oldest religions. Jews believe there is one God who created and rules the world. Judaism believes that people have freewill and are responsible for the choices made. The Torah is the primary scripture of Judaism. Torah means “teaching”, is God’s revealed instructions to the Jewish People.
Why is the Jewish Calendar a Lunisolar Calendar? (Lunisolar = follows the cycle of the moon I.E. lunar, and sun I.E. solar)
Background and History
The Jewish calendar is primarily lunar, with each month beginning on the new moon, when the first sliver of moon becomes visible after the dark of the moon. In ancient times, the new months used to be determined by observation. When people observed the new moon, they would notify the Sanhedrin. When the Sanhedrin heard testimony from two independent, reliable eyewitnesses that the new moon occurred on a certain date, they would declare the rosh chodesh (first of the month) and send out messengers to tell people when the month began. Who originally obtained the exclusive authority to fix the date for Jewish festivals prior to the establishment of the Jewish calendar? Before the establishment of a Jewish calendar, the identification and designation of Rosh Hodesh (“new moon” in Hebrew) for a given month was critical in fixing the dates for Jewish festivals for that month.
The Jewish high court in Judea, known as the Sanhedrin, based in Jerusalem during Temple times, retained its centralized and exclusive authority for fixing the date of Rosh Hodesh as well as for adding an extra month when it deemed necessary, based on the condition of crops at the end of the 12th month. The Sanhedrin based its authority on the fact that if it didn’t have the exclusive authority to fix new moon dates, then different Jewish communities would potentially celebrate festivals on different days. A new month on the Jewish calendar begins with the molad, (pronounced moh-LAHD). Molad is a Hebrew word meaning “birth,” and refers to what we call the “new moon” in English. The molad for the month of Tishri (the month that starts with Rosh Hashanah) is the most important one for calendar calculations, and is referred to as Molad Tishri.