Jewish Holy Days and Praxis 11/12/2013
Distinctive Jewish Practices
Circumcision: covenant marked in the flesh
8 day of a boy’s life
Epispasm: removing the marks of circumcision
community and boundary formation; distinctive marker of Judaism
20 century: ceases to be a unique marker in Jewish identity
theological upholding of the covenant between Abraham and god
how animals are killed and handled
what animals can be eaten
how certain things can be eaten
Worshipping Friday night/ Saturday morning: Sabbath day. Start at sunset
Friday to Saturday evening
prominence of synagogues after the destruction of the Temple previously were meeting places
“to gather together”
shul: school (Yiddish).
Rosettes (references to Kabbalah) in the middle of synagogues in the windows. Stars of David.
Bima at the front…
Differences in the architecture in different locations as well as time periods.
Reform synagogues commonly referred as temples.
Acceptance that the Temple is no more and will never be again
Language of Temple can take over. Conservative Jews lament the destruction of the Temple, and
hope that god will restore it
It was the house of god
Distinctive Jewish Practices
Sabbath/Shabbat: a day without “work”
Also biblical, goes back to the ten commandments
What is meant by “work”?
Liberal and Conservative approaches
Conservative: energy burned = work
Liberal: work = job Scripture does not interpret or speak for itself
Methods for interpretation.
Sabbath starts with Sabbath dinner (heart of the Sabbath experience), spent with family and
friends: lighting candles which burn themselves out
Holy day happening 52 times a year
Sabbath as a sacred family day, not to be broken up with personal recreations
Traditional religion: trying to be utilized in a traditional modern life.
Realities of living in a modern city
Maintaining tradition within the context of modernity.
Eruv wire: strung up along the telephone poles: redefining what household is
Flexibility of living religion
Inherent creativity of religion
Minyan: ten adult (menOrthodox).
Festival of the bar mitzvah (son of the law)
Tools which encourage the prayer to focus on god, take minds off of distractions Tefillin: scrolls of the Torah in boxes—close to your mind and close to your heart
Repetitive deliberate pattern
Placement is important because the act is important.
Tallit: prayer shawl
Tassels: can be an identifying feature—indication “I’m pretty conservative”
Kippah: honour and shame cultures
Honour and shame: collectivistic—men have honour, women don’t really
Honour is embodied in particular ways: all revolving around the head
Head covered: god is above the man—no honour before god
Rules, Rules, Rules.
Christianity within Judaism/against it. Taking the god and scripture, but leaving the law
Replacing with spirit of the law instead of the letter of the law
Legalistic was an insult
Jews and Muslims are legalistic: follow the divine law
Spiritual was considered to be a lot better (for Christianity).
Charges of Legalism, no spirit or heart
Jewish Holy Days Adapted lunar calendar
Intercalary month: every four years Judaism adds a month to their calendar
Connection to agricultural/light cycle
Relation to cycle of nature
Relation to history of interaction with god
Jewish New Year: 5774
High Holy Days
1 of Tishri: September and October
5774 began on September 4, 2013
Serious, focus on selfimprovement