Celebration Suggestions

Sabbath (Shabbat, Shabbos)
Weekly on the 7th day (sundown Friday to sundown Saturday)

Orthodox and Conservative Jews typically hold to the following schedule:

  1. Shabbat meal (Friday evening when the first three stars have appeared in the sky)
  2. Shul (short synagogue service on Friday night)
  3. Shacharit (main synagogue service Saturday morning where the Parasha is read)
  4. Rest, relaxation, fun, and/or Torah study (a light lunch is eaten sometime during the afternoon
  5. Havdalah (ending ritual, either at synagogue or at home)

For the Friday evening meal, mothers enjoy lighting the Shabbat candles and pronouncing the Shabbat blessing over her home and family, and fathers delight in kiddush—blessings over the wine and bread, and in blessing their children.

Palm Sunday ('Shabbat' HaGadol)
10th of Abib (Nisan)

Traditionally, the Constantinian church has celebrated this holiday by retelling the story of the 'Triumphal Entry' and by giving palm branches to the parishioners, especially the children. Ideas for a worship service would be:

  • give the people palm branches to wave during the music portion of the service
  • the theme of the service being acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah, the perfect Lamb who has taken away the sins of the world; also, in worshipping Him as the King of Kings
  • explain the connection between Palm Sunday and Passover: the significance of the fulfilled prophecies of this date and how the people chose the Lamb

Passover (Pesach)
14th of Abib (Nisan)

Unleavened Bread (Hag HaMotzi)
(14th) 15th-21st of Abib (Nisan)

Resurrection Day/Firstfruits (Reshit Katzir)
day after the Shabbat after Passover (within Unleavened Bread)

Pentecost (Shavuot)
50 days after Resurrection Day

Fast of Three Weeks (Shiva Asar B'Tammuz-Tish'a B'Av)
(17th of Tammuz-9th of Av)

Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah/Rosh Hashanah)
1st of Ethanim (Tishri)

Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
10th of Ethanim (Tishri)

Yom Kippur is the day that I look forward to the most every year, because I know that my name has been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life—not just for the coming year, but PERMANENTLY—etched into the pages by Messiah’s blood. Therefore, what was previously allowed for only the High Priest once a year is now available to me EVERY HOUR OF EVERY DAY, and so I celebrate this, especially on Yom Kippur. I fast because YHWH asked us to fast, and I use the day for focused intercession: for Israel—the Body of Messiah, for the world, for America, for my state, for the ministry God has given me, for the company I work for, for my congregation, my family, and myself. I sit before Him and let Him give me direction about where He’s taking me in the coming year, and what to do about challenging situations we are facing. It is consistently the most powerful time that I have with the Father, and usually He reveals a lot to me on that day. Here are some tips based on my practice:

  • Begin fast after dinner sundown (eat an early dinner before sundown); enter into a focused time of worship and thanksgiving

  • Plan ahead of time to take off work that day if you can—this is what YHWH wants from us; it is much easier to focus on hearing the LORD when you are alone and quiet

  • Listen for the ‘still, small voice’: we often dismiss God’s leading because we’re waiting for something more dramatic.

  • WRITE DOWN WHAT HE SAYS—keep a log of it so you can look back and remember.

  • Go to bed at whatever time you feel you should; don’t feel like you have to stay up all night and pray unless the LORD is directing you to do that specifically. Get up and resume spending the day in His presence

  • If you are a member of a congregation that observes Yom Kippur, meet with your congregation that day at least for some time and seek the LORD together; if not, gather with your immediate family. It is a holy day of assembly…

  • Continue fasting through the day until sundown, then eat dinner as normal.

Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot)
15th-21st of Ethanim (Tishri)

Rejoicing in the Word (Simchat Torah)
22nd of Ethanim (Tishri)

Festival of Dedication (Hanukkah)
25th of Kislev

  • A nine-branched menorah called a hanukkiyah is used to mark the nights of the festival. The middle candle is called the shamash, which is used to light the others. Moving from right to left, the candles are lit, increasing by one candle for each night of the Feast until all eight are light on the last night. A haggadah, or liturgy, is provided here.
  • The dreidel game is played in remembrance of when the Syriac-Greeks forbade the teaching of the Torah, and so the Jews made it look like they were gambling, but instead were teaching their children the Word of God.
  • Fried and/or oily foods are eaten in a festive atmosphere to celebrate the miracle that occurred when the temple menorah stayed lit for eight days when there was only enough oil for one.
  • The story of Hanukkah is told, celebrating God's deliverance of Israel from the Syriac-Greeks through the Maccabees. Consider reading 1 Maccabees 2-4 from a Catholic or Orthdox Bible.
  • Personally, I read the story of Luke 1 and Matthew 1, detailing the events surrounding the conception of Jesus, which most likely happened around or during Hanukkah.
  • Read John 8:12, and John 10:22-30. Talk about Jesus announcing that He is the Messiah and His significance as the Light of the World.

New Year for Trees (Tu B'Shevat)
15th of Shevat

Festival of Lots (Purim)
14th-15th of Adar