Biblical, Rabbinic, and Modern Holidays

The different types of Jewish festivals

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A couple of celebrations are associated with the rebirth of the State of Israel in the middle of the 20th century. Yom Ha-Atzma’ut, or Israel Independence Day, marks the declaration of independence of the modern State of Israel on May 14, 1948. It is preceded by Yom Hazikaron, the Israeli version of Memorial Day, set aside to remember the soldiers who gave their lives defending Israel since its establishment. Another day that has assumed some importance is Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, which celebrates the reunification of the city during the Six Day War in 1967. Although not observed with the same kind of solemnity as in Israel, these days are often commemorated in large Diaspora Jewish communities in solidarity with Israel and the entire Jewish people. For many Jews, these days are not just civic or ethnic holidays, but religious ones as well, with festival-like liturgy recited.

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Rabbi Daniel Kohn

Rabbi Daniel Kohn, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, was ordained from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1991. He is the author of several books on Jewish education and spirituality who currently writes and teaches throughout the San Francisco Bay area.