“One must live with the times…” – Chasidic leader R. Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812)
This suggests that we set our internal clocks by the structure (would rhythm be a better word? the structure is lunar/solar syncopated.) of the Jewish calendar. Do you begin your spiritual year with Pesach and the arrival of spring, with Rosh HaShana and the official new year or even with Tisha B’Av, the emotional low-point of the year which already invites us to return and renew? Wherever your starting point, the Jewish calendar is an essential structure for understanding our individual lives within the larger story of the Jewish people insert comma here and for continuing the spiritual seeking and understanding that has been at the center of Jewish life from the beginning.
Our Reconstructionist Jewish approach embraces the most beloved holiday traditions, while also encouraging new ways of seeing and practicing these ancient customs. As affiliates of Reconstructing Judaism, we follow the Israeli holiday calendar, connecting our diaspora community with both the Israeli and biblical sense of time. (This means you should check the calendar to make sure we’re celebrating on the same days as other diaspora communities.)
Shabbat is at the head of the table in the hierarchy of Jewish time, so much so that we’ve given it a separate web page! Click here to connect with Shabbat at Adat Shalom.
The Jewish new year holidays, Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur especially, are our annual homecoming and gathering time, to celebrate the birth of the world and to take stock of the distance between our habits and our potential in every realm.
The Shalosh Regalim, three pilgrimage festivals (Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot) were established as agricultural harvest celebrations, the Jewish history themes added later by the early rabbis. We delight in reconnecting with the deep wisdom of giving thanks and praise for the bounty of the land and reaffirming our responsibility to tend and nurture it, as our founding ancestors did in their time.
Chanukah and Purim come alive with multi-generational celebrations, music, traditional eats. At Chanukah, we gather to rededicate ourselves to the light within ourselves and our communal home. We’ve been especially honored to welcome special guests for this holiday celebration, including the Gay Men’s Chorus of Greater Washington. Our annual home-grown Purim shpiel is a favorite time to laugh together and to uncover hidden (as well as obvious!) theatrical talent.
Our modern holidays, Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) and Yom HaAtzma’ut (Israeli Independence Day) keep us connected with our contemporary history and give expression to our loving interest in the modern culture and contemporary life of the State of Israel, even when we struggle with national politics there.