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Jewish Holidays

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Bloch, Abraham P.. The Biblical and Historical Background of the Jewish Holy Days. Ktav Publishing Inc.. 1978. AISN/ISBN: 0870683381.

Biblical holidays marking the seasons of the agricultural calendar in Palestine were observed in conjunction with sacrificial rites in the Temple. With the destruction of the Temple and the decentralization of religious authority, the holidays took on new significance. The author discusses the development of the socio-religious base of the Sabbath, the developing theologic character of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, the shifting symbolism of the sukkah, the transformation of Chanukah from a national to a religious holiday, the evolution of Purim, the revision of the Passover seder, the emergence of mourning aspects of the Sefirah period and the semi-festival of Lag B'Omer, the substitution of a new motif for Shavuot, the introduction of an additional festival day in the diaspora and the changing background of post-exilic fast days. This volume is unique for its serious historical approach to the Jewish ritual calendar and is notable for the inclusion of areas not usually touched upon in general works on the Jewish holidays.

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Bloch, Abraham P.. The Biblical and Historical Background of Jewish Customs and Ceremonies. Ktav Publishing Inc.. 1980. AISN/ISBN: 0870686585.

The Jewish historical and social experience, extending over five millennia from biblical times to modern days, has been the source and stimulus for a wide range of fascinating customs arid practices. Many of these customs derive directly from the Bible, others from post-biblical events and experiences in many different countries and periods. All are a testimonial to the creativity of the Jewish spirit and to the ongoing Jewish commitment to relive the key incidents of Jewish history and eternally vivify the Jewish religious faith. In this volume, a companion to the same author's The Biblical and Historical Background of the Jewish Holy Days, the reader is provided with an in-depth analysis of customs and practices associated with all aspects of the Jewish life-cycle, with the holy days of the Jewish religious calendar and with major tendencies in the Jewish world outlook, such as the effort to memorialize the giving of the Torah, the destruction of the Temple and other important past events. Each custom is examined both in its original form and through the various phases of its evolution in order to demonstrate its purpose and function in Jewish life. In many cases, it is revealed, the popular folkloric understanding of a custom is an erroneous later accretion. Always, though, it is shown how Jewish customs and practices are crucial elements of a lively and living religious consciousness.

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Greenberg, Irving. The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays. Summit Books. 1993. AISN/ISBN: 0671873032.

By deciphering the Jewish holydays, one can come closer to discovering the inner core of the religion.

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Heschel, Abraham Joshua. Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 1995. AISN/ISBN: 1590300823.

The author uses the concept of "architecture of holiness" in Judaism, a religion of time where the Sabbath becomes a "cathedral." The distinction is contrasted between the sacred and the secular. This is a classic work on the Sabbath and spirituality in Judaism.

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Isaac, Ronald H. and Kerry Olitsky. Sacred Celebrations: A Jewish Holiday Handbook. Ktav Publishing House. 1994. AISN/ISBN: 0881254843.

This book covers both the Jewish calendar and the major Jewish holidays, including history, connections to Torah, home celebration, blessings and family projects.

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Klagsbrun, Francine. Jewish Days: A Book of Jewish Life and Culture Around the Year. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 1996. AISN/ISBN: 0374179239.

Organized by the Jewish month, this volume includes legends, stories, and interpretive essays for every special day. Enhancing the sections are interesting presentations of the holiday rituals and customs.

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Olitsky, Kerry and Rachel T. Sabath. Preparing Your Heart For The High Holy Days. Jewish Publication Society. 1996. AISN/ISBN: 0827605781.

Setting the proper mood the before and during the High Holy Day observances.

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Schauss, Hayyim. The Jewish Festivals: A Guide to their History and Observance. Schocken Books. 1996. AISN/ISBN: 0805209379.

A historical background on all the major Jewish holidays giving their origin, meaning, importance and their traditional forms of celebration and observance.

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Steingroot, Ira. Keeping Passover: Everything You Need to Know to Bring the Ancient Tradition to Life and to Create Y. Harper San Francisco. 1995. AISN/ISBN: 0060675535.

Beginning with Passover's logistical questions and determining what kind of Seder to prepare, the author moves through food, song, text analysis and more.

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Waskow, Arthur I.. Seasons of Our Joy: A Modern Guide to the Jewish Holidays. Beacon Press. 1991. AISN/ISBN: 0553013696.

The focus of this book is the Renewal Movement's approach to the holidays, which includes the theological basis of the holiday, related readings, rituals, and creative ideas and recipes for holiday foods.

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Wolfson, Ron. Hanukkah. Jewish Lights. 1996. AISN/ISBN: 1879045974.

This book explores the origins, rituals, and symbols of Hanukkah and provides recipes and family activities as well as advice about dealing with children and Christmas.

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Wolfson, Ron. The Shabbat Seder. Jewish Lights. 1995. AISN/ISBN: 1879045907.

The book contains a ten-step guide to the Shabbat dinner ritual. It includes craft projects, recipes, discussion ideas and suggestions to enrich the celebration of Shabbat.

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Zion, Noam and David Dishon. A Different Night: Family Participation Haggadah. Shalom Hartman Inst. 1997. AISN/ISBN: 0966474007.

A ready-to-use haggadah that includes a wide variety of activities to bring home the idea that we are to regard the retelling as if we, too have been freed from Egypt.

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