JEWISH HOLIDAYS continued from page 35
Pesach (Nisan 15-22) is a celebration of our peo-
ple's exodus from Egypt. Prior to the festival, we
remove all chametz (leavening) from our homes.
We will eat only unleavened bread called matza for
On the first and second nights of Pesach, we
have a seder, a festive meal at which we recount
the exodus. A number of ritual items are included
on a seder plate.
The first two and last two days of Pesach are
similar to Shabbat in their observance. Generally,
one refrains from work and other weekday activi-
ties and attends services. Yizkor, the memorial
prayer for the dead, is recited on the final day of
The intermediate days are called chol haMoed,
when no bread or other foods with leavening may
be eaten, but one may go to work and engage in
other weekday activities. April 17, 2003
YOM HASHOAH/ Holocaust Memorial Day
The State of Israel declared Yom HaShoah (Nisan
27) as a day to remember the victims of the
Many communities organize memorial services
and say Kaddish, the memorial prayer for the dead.
At home, Jews may light a yellow yahrtzeit candle,
which burns for 24 hours. The candles are available
through local synagogues and temples and remind
us of the infamous yellow stars Jews were forced to
wear during the Holocaust. April 29, 2003
Martyrs and Heroes Memorial Day
Those who have died for Israel are remembered
at services held on Yom HaZikaron (lyar 4). This
holiday is observed the day before Israel
Independence Day. May 6, 2003
Israel Independence Day
On Yom HaAtzmaut (Iyar 5), we celebrate the
anniversary of May 14, 1948, the day Israel was
declared an independent state.
Commemorations may include parades,
community gatherings, festive meals and special
prayer services. Detroit has held a community-
wide "Walk for Israel" some years. May 7, 2003
33rd Day Of Counting The Omer
The festival of Lag b'Omer (lyar 18) occurs dur-
ing the omer period, a time of mourning when
observant Jews refrain from weddings, haircuts
and other pleasures.
The omer period recalls a number of
tragedies for the Jewish people. One is when
the students of Rabbi Akiva died of a plague in
the second century C.E.; it is said to have
stopped on this 33rd day of the counting of the
omer — the 50 days of the harvest season
between Passover and Shavuot.
Lag b'Omer is a joyous day in this solemn
period when the omer restrictions are lifted.
Activities may include picnics and outings to
parks. May 20, 2003
Yom Yerushalayim was established to commem-
orate the Israeli reunification of Jerusalem dur-
ing the Six-Day War of 1967 (lyar 28).
The morning service begins with the p'sukay
d'zimra, preliminary prayers of Shabbat and hol-
idays, and Hallel (joyful psalms) are recited. A
festive meal is held, accompanied with many
songs about or mentioning Jerusalem.
SHAVUOT/ Festival Of Weeks
Shavuot (Sivan 6-7), which celebrates God's
revelation of the Torah on Mount Sinai, is a two-
day festival that falls at the end of the omer
It is traditional to decorate the synagogue or
temple with flowers for Shavuot. Dairy foods are
traditionally eaten because the Torah is likened
to "milk and honey."
Tikun Leil Shavuot, a night of study, is another
tradition. The object is to stay up all night, or as
late as possible, and study Jewish texts. June 6,
TISHA B'AV/ The Ninth Of Av
On Tisha B'Av (Av 9), Jews fast until sundown to
mourn the destruction of the first and second
Temples in Jerusalem.
Tisha B'Av is marked by reading Eicha, the
Book of Lamentations. Aug. 7, 2003
FAST DAY OF 17 TAMUZ/
The 17th of Tamuz
This minor fast day (Tamuz 17) marks the
breaching of the walls of Jerusalem during the
period of the First Temple.
Ruth Bergman, a Jewish educator, wrote this
section, with additions by former JN copy editor
THE DETROIT JEWISH HISTORIC TIMELIN E
1982: HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL
CENTER IS STARTED.
TO SINAI HOSPITAL.
1987: THREE PLANELOADS OF
DETROIT JEWS ATTEND WASHINGTON
RALLY TO FREE SOVIET JEWS.
1988: JEWISH POPULATION
GOES TO PRESS.
6 6 •
OF MICHIGAN OFFERS
1999: SINAI HOSPITAL
CLOSES, MERGED BY DMC
BEGINS ON JCC IN
SOURCEBOOK 2002-2003 • JN
2000: JEWISH ACADEMY
OF METROPOLITAN DETROIT,
AN UNAFFILIATED DAY HIGH
SCHOOL LED BY RABBI LEE
BUCKMAN, OPENS TO 49
NINTH- AND 10TH-GRADERS.
SUNDAY, JAN. 27,