JUDAISM

Festivals and Pilgrimage

Festivals and Pilgrimage

Festivals

religious studiesShabbat is the weekly Jewish holy day which is observed from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. Observance of Shabbat forms part of the Covenant between Jews and God. Exactly how Shabbat is observed varies greatly. As a rule of thumb, the more Orthodox Jews follow the Shabbat rules more strictly. On the Shabbat a Jew should do no work and spend the day in religious observance and celebration.

Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of the Jewish New Year. Jews also believe that it is a time when God takes stock of whether they have behaved well or badly in the previous 12 months. During the two days of Rosh Hashanah, there are special religious ceremonies in synagogues, and families also celebrate the festival at home.

Yom Kippur marks the day that sees the Book of Life completed and shut for the year. This is the book where God records each Jew’s good and bad deeds. It determines what kind of year they have ahead of them.

Pesach is a festival commonly known as the Passover and lasts for seven or eight days. It celebrates and commemorates the liberation of the Jews from their enslavement by the Egyptians. It remembers Moses, who led the Jews out of Egypt, and Jews have celebrated it since about 1300 BC. The Book of Exodus in the Torah tells the story of the Jewish liberation.

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Pilgrimage

religious studyThe Western Wall is in Jerusalem and is the only remaining fragment of the second Temple of Jerusalem, and so one of the Jewish tradition’s holiest places. The Wall is about 50 metres long and 20 metres tall. Pilgrims and visitors to the wall often write prayers on pieces of paper which they fold and insert into cracks in the wall.

Yad Vashem is the official Israeli museum and study centre that commemorates those murdered during the Holocaust in World War II. Opened in 1953, Yad Vashem has become a place of pilgrimage not only for Jews but also for people of all and no faiths who wish to show their respects for the terrible fate suffered by six million Jews.

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