sukkot & simchat Torah
- Sukkot is an agricultural festival that was originally a thanksgiving for the fruit harvest. Sukkot are hut-like structures that the Jews lived in during the 40 years of travel through the desert. It is a time to appreciate the shelter of our homes and our bodies.
- Simchat Torah immediately follows Sukkot, celebrating the completion of the annual reading of the Torah and affirming Torah as one of the pillars on which we build our lives. As part of the celebration, the Torah scrolls are taken from the ark and carried around the synagogue.
- Chanukah is the eight-day celebration commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. According to legend, Jews rose against their oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt, defeating one of the mightiest armies on earth against all odds. When they went to light the temple Menorah, they found only a one-day supply of oil. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days. To remember, we light the menorah for eight nights, beginning with one candle and adding one each night until all eight lights are kindled. To celebrate, we eat latkes and donuts fried in oil, play with the dreidel and give children Chanukah gelt.
- Tu B'Shevat marks the beginning of a "new year" for trees. We celebrate by eating fruit, particularly from the kinds of trees singled out by the Torah, such as grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.
- Purim commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia from Haman's plot to destroy the Jews. The Book of Esther, known as the Megillah, tells the story and ends with Haman's hanging and the Jewish people being saved. It is a time for feasting and merry making. CTI produces an annual Purim Shpiel, reenacting the Book of Esther.
- Passover is celebrated over eight days to commemorate the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses. To remember that the Israelites did not eat bread when they escaped, we eat only unleavened bread (matzoh) during the eight-day celebration. The highlight of Passover is the Seder, observed on each of the first two nights of the holiday. A ritual-packed feast, it is a family-oriented tradition. CTI holds a community Seder on the second night of Passover.
spring holidays (lag b'omer, shavuot, israeli independence day)
Please join us for these Holy Days and Festivals throughout the year. Please check our calendar or call the main office for more information.