Holidays & Festivals
Holidays are a special time for our Beth Or community – a time to reflect, celebrate, and pay tribute to our Jewish heritage and traditions. Our festival programming includes a mix of worship and social events. There is truly something for everyone! Refer to the events calendar or the RSVP portal for upcoming holiday programs and event reservations. Please contact Jillian Peskin with any questions.
Jewish Holidays 5780 (2019-20)
Selichot September 21, 2019
Erev Rosh Hashanah September 29, 2019
Rosh Hashanah September 30 - October 1, 2019
Erev Yom Kippur (Kol Nidre) October 8, 2019
Yom Kipper October 9, 2019
Sukkot October 14 – 20, 2019
Simchat Torah October 22, 2019
Chanukah December 23 – 30, 2019
Tu B’Shevat February 10, 2020
Purim March 10, 2020
Passover April 9 – 16, 2020
Yom HaShoah April 21, 2020
Yom Ha'Atzmaut April 29, 2020
Shavuot May 29 – 30, 2020
High Holy Days
Please visit our High Holy Days Headquarters for complete details about service types and times, ticket reservations, parking, babysitting, participation forms, service live-streaming link, and more.
Sukkot and Simchat Torah
The holiday of Sukkot begins four days after Yom Kippur, and commemorates the Israelite’s forty years of wandering in the wilderness, living in temporary shelters. Agriculturally, Sukkot celebrates the end of the harvest season. During this holiday, families build sukkahs and spend family time in it eating meals and inviting friends and family to come and visit. Simchat Torah immediately follows Sukkot. After a whole year of reading a section of the Torah each week, on this holiday we celebrate because the cycle is finished and we start again. During services, everyone dances around the sanctuary to rejoice with the Torah. Children who became b'nai mitzvah during the past year are invited to read from the Torah which is unfurled throughout the Sanctuary. Children who will become B'nai Mitvzah in the coming year are invited to stand alongside them.
At Beth Or, we celebrate a week of Fall Festivals! Most events take place outdoors in the Goldstein Sukkah. Our traditional programming includes:
- Welcome to our Tent Dinner with Lulav, Etrog and Song (erev Sukkot) – RSVP Required
- Sukkot Worship & Brunch (1st day Sukkot) – No RSVP Necessary
- CECE Family Festival of Fun (1st day Sukkot) – RSVP to Sharon Carlin
- Yoga in the Sukkah (twilight during Sukkot) - RSVP Required
- Fall Festival Celebration Event (Friday or Saturday evening during Sukkot) – RSVP Required
- Sukkot under the Stars with the Scouts (Friday or Saturday during Sukkot) – RSVP Required
- APEX Lunch & Learn in the Sukkah (mid week during Sukkot) – RSVP to Barbara Murtha
- Simchat Torah Worship & Consecration with Israeli Dancing (erev Simchat Torah) – No RSVP Necessary
- Simchat Torah Worship & Yizkor Service followed by Brunch (on Simchat Torah) – No RSVP Necessary
This eight day holiday celebrates the miracles in the story of the military victory of Jews, led by Judah Maccabee, over the Syrian government forces in 164 B.C.E. It is also known as the Festival of Lights. Traditionally, children receive gelt (chocolate money) and gifts. We cook and enjoy foods that are fried in oil such as potato latkes and soufganiyot (jelly donuts).
The Festival of Lights is a joyous time at Beth Or!
- Chanukah Bazaar sponsored by Sisterhood (Sunday, late November/early December) – No RSVP Necessary
- Chanukah Family Worship & Celebration Event (Friday during Chanukah) – RSVP Required for celebration
This is the Jewish Arbor Day or Earth Day. The holiday comes on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat - thus the name Tu (the alphabetic equivalent of the number 15), and B'Shvat (meaning in Shvat). Many Jews will plant a tree on this holiday, eat a new fruit or collect money to plant trees in Israel. It is customary to eat fruits that remind us of Israel such as grapes, olives, dates, figs and pomegranates.
At Beth Or, we celebrate the festival of trees with an adult program with available babysitting (Friday or Saturday evening close to the holiday) – RSVP Required
The story of Purim is set in ancient Persia (modern day Iran). Its two heroes are Esther - a beautiful young Jewish woman - and her Uncle Mordechai. Esther marries King Ahasuerus and becomes Queen without disclosing that she is Jewish.
The villian of the story, Haman, is the king's right-hand man. He obtains permission to kill all of the Jews in the land. Esther asks the king to spare her people - revealing that she is in fact a Jew. When the king realizes the full impact of Haman's plans, he arranges for the Jews to be saved and orders Haman to be put to death.
At Beth Or, we truly love to celebrate one of the most joyous holidays on the Jewish calendar:
- Megillah Reading, Schpiel performed by our Junior Choir, Service and Community Celebration (erev-Purim) – RSVP Required for celebration event
- Purim Carnival (Sunday before or after holiday) – No RSVP Necessary
- Mishloach Manot – packing snack and toiletry bags for those in need (closest Friday to the holiday, following Shabbat worship) – No RSVP Necessary
This holiday occurs in the spring and celebrates the freedom of the Jews who were slaves in Egypt. We remember that our ancestors were slaves in Egypt and retell the story of the Exodus - and how they were set free. It is observed for seven or eight days. Most Reform Jews and Jews living in Israel observe it for 7 days. Conservative & Orthodox Jews observe it for 8 days. On the first evening (and sometimes the second), Jews attend a ritual Passover dinner called a "Seder" where the story of the exodus from Egypt is retold.
Passover at Beth Or includes:
- Brotherhood Kosher-for-Passover Wine Sale (3 Sundays prior to Passover)
- Sisterhood Women’s Unity Seder (Sunday close to holiday) – RSVP Required
- 1st Day Passover Worship Service followed by Brunch – No RSVP Required
- 2nd Night Community Seder – RSVP Required
- Passover Worship Service & Yizkor Service followed by Brunch (last day of Passover) – No RSVP Necessary
This is Holocaust Remembrance Day. People commemorate those lost in the Holocaust with special services and programs at synagogues, Jewish community centers, and Holocaust memorials.
Beth Or commemorates the Shoah with:
- Community and Religious School Worship Service (evening of holiday) - No RSVP Necessary
- Conversation with a Survivor (Sunday morning close to holiday) – RSVP required
This is Israeli Independence Day when Israel became its own country and the Jewish people gained their national independence for the first time in nearly two thousand years.
Beth Or supports and celebrates Israel all year long. We recognize Yom Ha’Atzmaut with:
- CECE Israel Week Celebration (during holiday) – No RSVP Necessary
- Israel Bonds Tribute Reception (close to holiday) – RSVP Required to Israel Bonds
- Greater Philadelphia Israel Day Celebration (Sunday close to holiday) – No RSVP Required
The holiday of Shavuot occurs seven weeks after Passover. It celebrates two things: The giving of the 10 Commandments at Mount Sinai after the Israelites left Egypt, and the first fruits of the harvest in ancient Israel.
At Beth Or, we celebrate Shavout with:
- Worship Service & Confirmation of our Students. Mazel tov! (evening of holiday) – No RSVP required
- Shavuot Worship & Yizkor Service, followed by Brunch (day of holiday)