Modern Jewish Holidays

Monday, April 20, 2009

Events of the last few generations have aroused calls for an updating of the Jewish calendar. Numerous special dates have been added to the Jewish cycle of the yearly calendar.

For instance, since the ethnic and national aspect of Judaism is there, Israel’s day of independence is celebrated not only in the State of Israel, but by Jews outside of the State who identify with that State. Here something very interesting takes place. The extent of each community’s religious commitment determines to what degree that date would be celebrated as a religious holiday or as a secular one. For instance, in the State of Israel you would find that the religious community actually gathers at the synagogue and introduces a whole series of new prayers based on psalms and other portions of the Bible to celebrate that day of independence, whereas the secular community celebrates it as a secular holiday.

Obviously, there are those Jews who do not celebrate that day. These are those who never identify with the Zionist enterprise. In particular, members of the ultra-orthodoxy within the Jewish community never really supported the Zionist movement. They never celebrate that day.

One week after Passover, the tragic events of the holocaust are remembered on the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. This day is a day commemorated in the State of Israel and throughout most Jewish communities.