There are many special days in the Jewish year, some festive, some solemn. To each special day, we associate symbols for the unique activities, foods, religious observances, or community celebrations that mark it. A brief summary of the important dates in the Jewish year follows, along with the meaning of the symbols used in the Learn the Luach activity on this page.
These are the months in the Jewish year:
These are the symbols you will find in Learn the Luach:
|The Jewish calendar is lunar. Every month begins with the new moon.|
|On Rosh Hashanah (Tishray 1 & 2) an apple is eaten. The round apple symbolizes our hopes for a full year.|
|During the month of Elul, on Rosh Hashanah (Tishray 1 & 2), and on Yom Kippur (Tishray 10), we blow the shofar as a wake up call to repentance, prayer, and righteous deeds.|
|On Sukkot (Tishray 15 to 22), the etrog is one of the four species we use to celebrate the harvest.|
|Simchat Torah (Tishray 23) marks the completion and the beginning of the yearly Torah reading cycle.|
|On Chanukah (Kislev 25 to Tevet 2), the letters on the dreidle remind us that "nes gadol hayah sham" -- a great miracle happened there.|
|The Kotel is the only remaining wall of the Temple in Jerusalem. It reminds us of the beginning of the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E. on the 10th of Tevet, the breach of the outer city wall of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 C.E. on the 17th of Tammuz, and the destruction of both the first and second temples on the 9th of Av in 586 B.C.E. and 70 C.E.|
|Tu B'Shvat (Sh'vat 15) is the new year of the trees.|
|On Purim (Adar 14) we use noise-makers to drown out the name of Haman.|
|We wear costumes and masks at Purim (Adar 14) carnivals.|
|On Passover (Nisan 15-22), matzah reminds us of our hasty departure from Egypt.|
|The Passover (Nisan 15-22) seder plate holds the ritual foods for the seder.|
|Israel's Independence Day is celebrated on the 5th of Iyar. On that day in 1948, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the establishment of the Jewish State.|
|On Lag B'omer (Iyar 18), the bow and arrow remind us that, according to tradition, the rainbow never appeared in the sky during the lifetime of Rabbi Simeon ben Yochai, who is said to have died on this day. Rabbi Simeon ben Yochai defied the Roman edicts against studying Torah.|
|The Tablets of the Law were given to Moses on Mount Sinai during the season of Shavuot (Sivan 6 & 7).|
Now, see if you can find the symbols for each of the months. There is no single correct answer. You can see one possible answer by clicking on the bottom button (purple with Jewish stars). Think of your own reasons for matching a symbol to a month!
Copyright © 1998 ZigZag, Inc. All rights reserved.