Attn Newcomers: You may wish to read the Overview post first.


More Jewish Holidays: Sukkot, The Festival of Booths

The Jewish holiday Sukkot (pronounced Soo-kote), is also called “The Festival of Booths” or “The Festival of Ingathering.” The story is told in both the Jewish Torah and Christian Bible in Leviticus 23:33-42 and Deuteronomy 16:13-15.

The happy holiday of Sukkot comes in late September or early October, hot on the heels of the Jewish New Year and solemn Day of Atonement (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, see my previous article here). For 2010, this falls on September 23 and goes through Setember 30.

Sukkot celebrates the harvest season and also commemorates the 40 years in the desert when the Hebrews lived in temporary shelter (in the book of Exodus). King Solomon consecrated the first permanent Temple to the Lord during a Sukkot celebration.

The ancient Hebrews were to commemorate the harvest occasion by building booths made out of tree branches and palm fronds, living in them for seven days and holding grand celebrations. This can be found in Nehemiah 8:14-17:

They found written in the Law, which the LORD had commanded through Moses, that the Israelites were to live in booths during the feast of the seventh month, and that they should proclaim this word and spread it throughout their towns and in Jerusalem: ‘Go out into the hill country and bring back branches from olive and wild olive trees, and from myrtles, palms and shade trees, to make booths’ - as it is written.

So the people went out and brought back branches and built themselves booths on their own roofs, in their courtyards, in the courts of the house of God and in the square by the Water Gate and the one by the Gate of Ephraim. The whole company that had returned from exile built booths and lived in them. From the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day, the Israelites had not celebrated it like this. And their joy was very great. (see also Leviticus 23:41-43 and Ezra 3:4)

Today, the booth, called a sukkah (“sook-ah”) is usually erected by a synagogue’s congregation or workmen and still made with as authentic materials as possible. The celebration can be just on the first day or take place on each of the seven days. Kids loving camping out in the booths. Families and guests will be served grape wine or grape juice to signify the fruit harvests, and something like a delicious, thick sponge cake to symbolize the grain harvests. Mmmm, delicious!

Because this is such a joyous celebration, you may find a Jewish synagogue or Messianic congregation in your area that opens their celebration up to the public so that whole neighborhoods can learn of this tradition. Take the opportunity to go!

This is a copyrighted excerpt from Sheryl’s book, What Every Christian Should Know about the Jewish People: Improving the Church’s Relationship with God’s Original Chosen Nation (c. 2008, Wine Press/Pleasant Word Publishing). All rights reserved. The book is no longer available, but please enjoy the other informative posts on this blogsite.


The Jewish High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur 2010

(Newcomers to this blog may want to read the Overview first, here.)

The Jewish High Holiday season for 2010 begins at sundown September 8th. On the Jewish calendar, 2010 is actually the year 5771, signifying that Jewish history goes back that far—5,771 years.

September 8th will be the eve of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah (pronounced rush ha-sha-na). The beautiful blowing of the shofar, a trumpet-like musical instrument made from a ram's horn, will usher in the holidays at Jewish synagogues and celebrations throughout the world.

Rosh Hashanah is also known as “Yom Teruah,” The Feast of Trumpets. The command to observe a Jewish New Year came down to the Israelites through Moses from God, and can be found in Leviticus 23:23: The LORD said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites: 'On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts’.”

The Jewish Day of Atonement—Yom Kippur (pronounced yome ki-poor')—follows Rosh Hashanah ten days later. This year, it will be from sundown on September 18th to sundown the next day. Yom Kippur is a serious observance, not to be taken lightly.

On Yom Kippur, every Jewish person who is “of age” (thirteen and over) is required to fast from food and drink (except for water), and stop work of any kind for the twenty-four hour period. Many Jewish people spend part of this day at a synagogue praying for God's forgiveness of sins, and approach people whose forgiveness they seek.

God's original command for Yom Kippur can be found in Leviticus 16:29-30: "This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work…because on this day atonement will be made for you to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord you will be clean from all your sins….” (excerpts, NIV).

The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are called the “Ten Days of Awe.” Within this period, Orthodox Jews will recite the “slichot,” prayers of repentance.

How should Christians recognize Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur?

Although Christians and “Jewish believers in Jesus” believe that Jesus Christ was the ultimate sacrifice for all sins (Romans 6:10), we can still commemorate the Jewish Day of Atonement as a reminder to be truly repentant. All people who believe in God need confession and repentance. It will also be a good testimony to our Jewish friends that we respect and know about their day.

Now, tell your Jewish friends "Shanah Tovah" -- have a great Jewish New Year!

(This is a copyrighted excerpt from the book What Every Christian Should Know About the Jewish People. (c. 2008 wine Press Pleasant Word Publishing). All rights reserved. The book is no longer available, but please enjoy the other posts on this website.

Photo: Shofar being blown in Prague, 2009. Donated to Public Domain by Martin Kozak at Wikimedia Commons. 


Jewish Holiday Passover begins March 29, 2010

The Jewish Holiday of Passover for 2010 begins Monday, March 29 at sundown.

*How do Jewish people celebrate their ancestors' release from Egyptian slavery?
*How can Christians and Jewish believers in Jesus view this holiday?
See the post "How Christians Can Celebrate Passover" here on this blog for more information.


Archaeological Dig uncovers possible piece of Solomon's Temple

In February, 2010, an archaeological excavation in Israel uncovered a gate, tower and wall that could verify the existence of Solomon’s Temple 3,000 years ago.

The structures, near the Temple Mount outside Jerusalem, are currently being verified as dating back to the tenth century B.C. This would place them at the time of the first temple built by King David’s son Solomon, as recorded in 1 Kings 5 of the Old Testament.

Skeptics have tried to disprove biblical events since the days in which they occurred, but some archaeological finds have stood the test of time in proving biblical events as truth.


Jewish Holidays: Purim, the Story of Queen Esther

The Jewish holiday of Purim began at sundown February 27, 2010. See the new 2013 explanation of Purim on this blogsite!


Holocaust Remembrance Day - January 27 every year

(Newcomers to this blogsite may wish to read the Overview first.)

In 2005, the United Nations designated January 27 as annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Why January 27? Because on that date in 1945, the largest World War II concentration camp, Auschwitz, was liberated.

Did the Holocaust Really Happen? Of course it did!
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and various Neo-Nazi groups have claimed that the Holocaust never happened. In 2006, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan denied such claims. Per BBC News, Annan stated that Holocaust denial is the work of bigots.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington D.C. houses over 85,000 Holocaust photographs and many exhibits. And the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem holds over 62 million pages of documents, photos, testimonies of survivors and other articles as proof of the Holocaust.

Is it true that Christians hate the Jews and participated in the Holocaust?
Although some churches did not turn away, or even complied with the Nazis for fear of their own peoples' lives, Christians do not hate the Jewish people. Many Christians worked at the risk of their own lives to hide and rescue Jewish people during the Holocaust.

Today, sincere Bible-believing Christians everywhere are working to assure the Jewish world community that there are millions of decent Protestants and Catholics who love the Jewish people, never hated them, never worked toward their destruction, and participate in efforts to prove the Holocaust happened and to prevent similar situations.

In Genesis 12:2-3, God tells Abraham (the father of the Jewish nation), “I will make you a great nation… I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.” Those who curse the Jews stand to be cursed themselves."

Romans 2:9-11 says, “There will be tribulation and distress to every man who does evil…but glory and honor and peace to those who do good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek, for there is no partiality with God” (NAS, “Greek” meaning all “gentiles” – non-Jewish people).

You will find more information about the Holocaust and other incidents of Jewish persecution, along with hundreds of photos, by visiting the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum website.