The High Holy Days are Upon Us


Photo Credit: (Laura Seymour)

A picture of two religious symbols next to each other, a Christmas tree and a Menorah

Zelda Fishman, Reporter

Picture this: It’s Christmas morning and you wakeup and get ready for school. You have a test 3rd period, you’re friend is busy during lunch and you have work after school. This is what happens every year for Jewish youth on the most important holidays of the year.

The Jewish High Holidays are upon us. Many people don’t know what that means, so let’s break it down. The Jewish calendar has 4 major events; Pesach, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Hanukkah along with one occurring from sunset to sunset, Friday and Saturday weekly.

Pesach is a holiday from when the Jews fled Egypt and started the trek to Israel. They were slaves and when Pharaoh finally set them free they didn’t waste time, not even to let their bread rise, so on Pesach, or Passover, you eat a bread called matzah. This holiday is significant because it reminds people to be grateful for the things they have. You can compare this to Thanksgiving.

Rosh Hashanah is the start of the cycle of the New Year. You are being judged on whether to be written into the book of life for the next year and throw your sins(usually birdseed or bread for symbolism) into a body of water to ask for forgiveness. There isn’t a Christain holiday that compares, but it is similar to a confession.

Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year on the Jewish calendar. Usually known as the day of atonement, Jewish people fast without food or water from sunset to sunset for one day. This marks the end of the days of repentance which starts with Rosh Hashanah.

Hanukkah is the most well known of the Jewish holidays as it is normally associated with Christmas as they normally fall around the same time of year. Though, in actuality, they have nothing to do with one another. Hanukkah is 8 days long because when the Romans tore down all of the synagogues the Israelites thought that there wasn’t going to be enough oil to last for one day for Shabbat, but it ended up lasting 8 days which was viewed as a miracle. 

All of these holidays have a great deal of significance in Judaism, yet year after year you see the city of Boise and the School District among other corporations around the Boise area completely disregard them. 

In cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, etc. schools and businesses shut down on these holidays or at least give students and employees the day off in order to properly pay respects. This year,the Mayor’s city speech is planned for Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. This leaves many people feeling disregarded and disrespected.