Holiday Calendar for Israel
Holiday Calendar of Israel reflects unique historical and cultural background of this country, along with its rich customs and traditions. It also shows how important it is for Jews to have a connection to history, family and maintain a strong tie to the community. Living in a land of living history Jewish people mark many ancient holidays. Major Jewish Holidays are mostly religious and serve to celebrate the power of God that is representative and understood throughout the history of Judaism. Other holidays serve to remember and reflect upon the lessons learned from the struggles and challenges of life. Lastly, there are certain holidays intended to engage in celebrations and festivities of joy. There are also four main Modern Jewish holidays added to the Jewish calendar after World War II and the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. They are observed as national holidays in Israel, and recognized around the world by Jewish communities.
Most (but not all) holidays in our list are public holidays. They are non-working days for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed. Even outside of Israel, Jewish owned businesses may close or offer limited services.
Holidays and observances in Israel for 2019-2020 year
Saturday 20 July
- Seventeenth of Tammuz in Israel
(hb. שבעה עשר בתמוז - Shivah Asar B’Tammuz. Tammuz - The start of a three-week mourning period when Jews don’t have weddings because of the breach of the walls of Jerusalem leading to the Ninth of Av (Tisha. B'Av) which commemorates the destruction of both the first and the second Holy temples)
Thursday 15 August
- Tu B'Av in Israel (lit. 'fifteenth of Av', hebrew- ט"וּ באב - is a minor Jewish holiday. In modern-day Israel, it is celebrated as a holiday of love
Wednesday 2 October
- The Fast of Gedalia in Israel (Heb.: צוֹם גְּדַלְיָה - is a minor Jewish fast day from dawn until dusk to lament the assassination of the righteous governor of Judah. His murder ended Jewish autonomy following the destruction of the First Temple)
Monday 14 October
- Chol HaMoed Sukkot in Israel (חול המועד סוכות. October 14-20. Date for 2019. School holiday, collective paid leave in many businesses and government offices)
Sunday 20 October
- Shemini Atzeret (date of 2019. Ñelebrated on the 22nd day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei - שְׁמִינִי עֲצֶרֶת - an independent one-day holiday which follows immediately after the seven-day festival of Sukkot)
Monday 21 October
- Simchat Torah (date of 2019. A Jewish holiday that celebrates and marks the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings, and the beginning of a new cycle. Simchat Torah is a component of Shemini Atzeret - שמחת תורה/שמיני עצרת)
Sunday 10 November
- Yitzhak Rabin Memorial (Date for 2019. Unofficial, but widely commemorated - יצחק רבין)
Tuesday 26 November
- Sigd in Israel (Date for 2019. סיגד - Festival of the Ethiopian Jews, optional paid leave, business as usual)
Saturday 30 November
- Day to Mark the Departure and Expulsion of Jews from the Arab Countries and Iran in Israel (יום לציון היציאה והגירוש של היהודים מארצות ערב ומאיראן)
Wednesday 4 December
- Eid il-Burbara in Israel (Arabic: عيد البربارة - a holiday similar to Halloween in honor of Saint Barbara. It is also celebtated in Russia, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Turkey); Ben-Gurion Day in Israel (Date for 2019. יום בן-גוריון)
Tuesday 7 January
- Tenth of Tevet (Date for 2020 and January 7. עשרה בטבת - Asara b'Tevet. Tevet - marks the day on which the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem began in the year 588 BCE, an event which eventually led to the destruction on the Temple in 586 BCE and the first exile from Israel. In Israel, the Tenth of Tevet has also come to be marked as a memorial day for the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust)
Sunday 9 February
- Tu Bishvat (the fifteenth day of Shevat) - The New Year for trees or ט"וּ בִּשְׁבָט
Monday 20 April
- Holocaust commemoration day (יום השואה - Yom HaShoah - the twenty-seventh of Nissan)
Monday 27 April
- Israel memmorial day (Yom Hazikaron; יוֹם הַזִּכָּרוֹן - on the forth of Lyar)
Wednesday 29 April
- Israel Independence Day (יום העצמאות - Yom Ha’atzmaut - on the fifth of Lyar)
Monday 11 May
- Lag B'Omer in Israel - לַ״ג בָּעוֹמֶר - a minor holiday that occurs on the 33rd day of the Omer, the 49-day period between Passover and Shavuot. A break from the semi-mourning of the Omer, key aspects of Lag B’Omer include holding Jewish weddings (it’s the one day during the Omer when Jewish law permits them), lighting bonfires and getting haircuts
Friday 17 July
- International Firgun Day
(In 2014, Made in JLM, an Israeli non-profit community group, set out to create "International Firgun Day", a holiday celebrated yearly on July 17, where people share compliments or express genuine pride in the accomplishment of others on social media)
Some Jewish Holidays and Celebrations according to the Hebrew Calendar
Each of the Jewish holidays carries its own customs and traditions regarding the celebration of the event. Many of the holidays may be observed differently by the different strands of Judaism. Every Friday evening before sundown to Saturday evening after sundown Sabbath - שבת - the island of time that defines the Jew’s week.
All holidays are celebrated from sundown to sundown and the origin of each holiday is strongly connected to the Jewish calendar.
Some of holidays in Israel fall on specific dates whilst others fall at some point in a certain month. Understanding the calculation of dates according to the Hebrew calendar is crucial to follow the ever-changing timing of Jewish holidays and the calculation of Jewish events. So it is useful to know the differences between the Hebrew and Gregorian (civil) calendar.
- Rosh Hashanah (the first and the second days of Tishrei) - The first two days of the Jewish new year.
- Yom Kippur (the tenth day of Tishrei) also known as the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year in Judaism. Its central themes are atonement and repentance.
- Sukkot (the fifteenth day of Tishrei) commonly translated as Feast of Tabernacles, is a biblical Jewish holiday. The holiday lasts seven days in Israel and eight in the diaspora.
- Hanukkah (the twenty-fifth day of Kislev) is the Jewish Festival of Lights and it remembers the rededication of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
- Pesach (Passover) is a major, biblically derived Jewish holiday that commemorates the exsodus from slavery. The holiday of Pesach comes in the middle of the first month of the year Nissan.
- Shavuot (The birthday of the Torah) – (the sixth of Sivan)
- Purim meaning allotment, is a Jewish cheerful feast in memory of the liberation of the Jewish people during their stay in ancient Persia. The holiday comes on the middle of the month Adar.
- Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim) – (the 28th day of Iyar) The most recent addition to the Hebrew calendar. The holiday commemorates the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the older part of the city in June 1967. Schools stay open and mark the day with festivities and learning.