Simon Family JCC Closings Q & A

Categories: JCC

Rosh Hashanah Edition


Q: Why is the JCC closed three days out of the year?

A: Three of the highest holy days in Judaism are Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Passover. The JCC closes its doors for one day in accordance with each holiday.

Q: When are these Jewish holidays?

A: This year Rosh Hashanah starts at sundown on October 2nd and ends at sundown on October 4th; Yom Kippur begins at sundown on October 11th and ends at sundown on October 12th; Passover begins at sundown on April 10th and ends at sundown on April 18th.

Q: Why do Jewish holidays occur on different days each year?

A: Jewish holidays occur on specific Hebrew calendar days. The Hebrew calendar is based on three astronomical phenomena: the rotation of the earth about its axis (a day); the revolution of the moon about the earth (a month); and the revolution of the earth about the sun (a year). The civil calendar, used by most of the world is not based on moon cycles for the month. This causes the Hebrew date and the civil date to be very different and causes Jewish holidays to occur on varying civil calendar days each year.

Q: Why is the Hebrew calendar year different from the civil calendar year?

A: The year 2016 in the civil calendar translates to the year 5776 in the Hebrew calendar. The year number on the Hebrew calendar represents the number of years since creation, calculated by adding up the ages of people in the bible back to the time of creation. The civil calendar is based on the birth of Jesus Christ. A.D and B.C. refer to dates before and after the birth of Christ to differentiate the times. Jews do not believe that Jesus Christ is the messiah and do not follow a Christian based calendar year.

Q: How many months are in the Hebrew calendar?

The basic Hebrew calendar year consists of twelve lunar months alternating between 29 and 30 days. In leap years an additional month, is added resulting in thirteen lunar months in a year.

Q: What are the Hebrew calendar dates of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Passover?

A: Rosh Hashanah is celebrated on the first two days of the month called Tishrei. Yom Kippur is always on the 10th of Tishrei. Passover always starts on the 15th of the month called Nisan and is celebrated for eight days.

Q: What is Rosh Hashanah?

A: Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year.

Q: What is the Hebrew to English translation of Rosh Hashanah?

A: Rosh is a Hebrew word meaning “head.” Hashanah is a Hebrew word meaning the “the year.” When combined, Rosh Hashanah literally translates to “head of the year.”

Q: What do the Jewish people do to celebrate the Jewish New Year?

A: There are many customs for this holiday the most common customs of this holiday are as follows: going to temple to recite prayers in accordance to the holiday; sounding a ram’s-horn trumpet, called a “shofar”; eating apples and honey as well as many treats made with honey.

Q: What’s the significance of these customs?

A: A shofar used by ancient Jews in religious ceremonies and as a battle signal is now sounded at Rosh Hashanah. One reason to blow the shofar on Rosh is because the shofar was blown at Mt. Sinai when the Torah was given to the Jewish people. Blowing the shofar reminds the Jewish people to rededicate themselves to study the Torah and to remind God of their original commitment to the Torah and to one God. Dipping apples in honey is symbolic. The apple represents the “head” of the New Year and the honey represents the “sweetness” that they hope the New Year brings.

Q: What do you say to someone celebrating Rosh Hashanah?

A: There are many different greetings for this holiday. You can wish someone a happy holiday or in Hebrew a, “Chag semeach.” The most common greeting on Rosh Hashanah is to wish someone a, “L’Shana Tova,” which is a Hebrew phrase meaning have a good year. “L’Shana Tova Umetukah,” is an even nicer greeting meaning have a good and sweet year.


Later on this year we will provide all our members with a brand new update about our closings regarding the upcoming holidays.

Until then we wish all our Jewish and gentile members a, “L’shana tova umetukah!” See everyone next year!

One Response to "Simon Family JCC Closings Q & A"

  1. Frank Howlett Posted on October 1, 2016 at 12:26 am

    Thank you for this brief recap of Rosh Hashanah. I am the Pastor of Glenwood Community Church here in Virginia Beach. I will be preaching about this holiday on Sunday as well as lessons on Yom Kippur next week. I have done this several times and found it makes the ties between Jews and Christians stronger. We cherish our heritage from the Jewish faith. And although we have different beliefs about the Messiah our bonds with the Jewish faith never diminishes but grows stronger when we understand your beliefs.

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