You will find general information about Judaism on the following external websites

 

Jewish Festivals and Holy Days

Hanukkah

Hanukah is the Jewish eight-day Festival of Lights celebrating the recapture of the Temple in Jerusalem from Syrian Greeks in 164 BCE, and its subsequent rededication. At that time, Judea was ruled by Antiochus IV who tried to force the Jews to give up their culture and religion and worship Greek gods, torturing and killing those who refused. A small group of Jews led by Judas Maccabaeus fought against the regime. The story reminds Jews that God works in history, and that, with faith and perseverance, a small number of people can overcome the might of a larger force.

For each of the eight evenings of the festival, an additional candle is lit from the shamash or servant candle in a hanukkiah, a nine-branched menorah. This is a reminder that the Temple lamp stayed lit for eight days on one day's supply of oil and that God keeps his covenant. The lights of Hanukkah symbolise the faith that must not die.

Passover or Pesach

Passover (in Hebrew, Pesach) is one of the most important religious festivals in the Jewish calendar and commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from Egypt by Moses. It lasts eight days and the first two and last two days are full rest days. It is a celebration of freedom and some Jews focus on those who are oppressed today.

Shavuot or Festival of Weeks

Shavuot (also known as Festival of Weeks or Pentecost) is a two day holiday which starts 7 weeks after the festival of Passover (Pesach). The festival celebrates the early harvest season in Israel and also the revelation of the Torah, the first five books of Moses which includes the Ten Commandments, to Moses on Mount Sinai.

Some people spend the first night of Shavuot studying the Torah. Prayers are said, especially at dawn, thanking God for the Torah and for his law. Synagogues are decorated with flowers and plants to remember the flowers of Mount Sinai