The Jewish calendar is based on a lunar cycle, with adjustments every few years where an entire month is added in order to recalibrate the religious harvest festivals with the proper seasons.
Within the Jewish community, people often speak about the holidays coming late, or coming early, relative to the common calendar. This year, the new moon on Sunday evening (September 29) marks the start of Rosh Hashana [literally, “head of the year”], welcoming the Jewish year 5780. It is just about right on schedule. As an easy relative measure, this year Christmas will take place right in the middle of Hanukkah. The sun and the moon are aligned.
Rosh Hashana starts a 10 day season of personal reflection, culminating in the fast day of Yom Kippur, the Day of Judgment, taking place this year on the evening of Tuesday, October 8, and continuing until night falls October 9th. In religious services, we hear the stentorian blast of a shofar [ram’s horn], triggering a period of introspection, examining the past year while looking forward to improvement in the year ahead. There are, of course, family dinners that customarily feature a number of traditional foods, like honey [for a sweet year]. As I have noted in previous years, it is very different from the kind of festivities and partying that mark the secular transition from December 31 to January 1.
The Canadian election on October 21 takes place at the end of the harvest festival of Sukkot, a week long festival that marks the end of summer and the beginning of the winter rainy season.
It is my hope that 5780 will be marked by peace, good health, by personal and professional growth and may it also be a year of inspiration for all of us.
Our offices will be closed on Monday and Tuesday (September 30 and October 1) and closed again the following Wednesday (October 9) to observe the holy days.
שנה טובה ומתוקה