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    British prime minister Boris Johnson declined to offer Holy Week greetings for Good Friday, Maundy Thursday, and Palm Sunday on social media — but made time to recognise the Tamil and Sinhalese new year and publish video messages to mark the Jewish Passover and Sikh Vaisakhi. Johnson, who made history by becoming the first supposedly Catholic prime minister in British history — with Catholics being largely excluded from such high office for many years following the Glorious Revolution and the Jacobite rebellions of the 17th and 18th centuries — has said that he is “a kind of very, very bad Christian“. Yet, the PM evidently did not feel any urgent need to recognise the Christian holy days of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, or, as of the time of publication, Holy Saturday — or indeed Ash Wednesday, which marked the beginning of the Lenten period for Western Christians. This was not the case for various non-Christian religious and secular holidays falling in the same period as Holy Week, however, with the Prime Minister publishing carefully crafted video messages for the...
    NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Chanukah starts at sundown this Sunday. This year, the holiday falls right after Thanksgiving, which means Jewish Americans will go from turkey to Black Friday and back again to having family around the table on Sunday. READ MORE: NYPD Going All Out, Especially Behind The Scenes, To Keep Spectators Safe At Macy's Thanksgiving Day ParadeAs Broadway reopened, soon after so did the Actors’ Temple on West 47th Street. The sanctuary has been home to off-Broadway shows for months, but it just welcomed back congregants in person in November in time for Chanukah. “It commemorates a time when the Seleucid Greeks, before the turn of the millennium, were outlawing Judaism,” Rabbi Jill Hausman said. The Holy Temple in Jerusalem was retaken by the Maccabees from the Greeks in the second century BCE. Oil kept the menorah lit eight days instead of the one night it was supposed to last. The oil is why fried foods are eaten to celebrate that miracle. “Chanukah is always our big celebration. We have an open mic. Usually more than 20 people...
    President Joe Biden appeared to have a moment of brain freeze on Thursday when telling an anecdote about his daughter's wedding, and forgot the name of a song that was played. His comments came during a virtual event to celebrate the start of the Jewish High Holidays, which focused on recent anti-Semitic attacks, Afghanistan and the hope for renewed collaboration between people of different faiths.  Biden, a Roman Catholic, ended his remarks by calling on more religious collaboration, and spoke about his daughter Ashley's wedding to her Jewish doctor Howard Krein in 2012. Pictured: Biden speaks during a virtual event on Thursday. President Joe Biden appeared to have a moment of brain freeze on Thursday when telling an anecdote about his daughter's wedding, and forgot the name of a song that played
    The Tree of Life Synagogue has refuted a claim President Joe Biden made on Thursday that he visited the Pittsburgh house of worship in the aftermath of the October 2018 massacre, reported The New York Post on Thursday. Eleven people were that killed in the shooting, which was the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history. “I remember spending time at the … going to the Tree of Life Synagogue …,” Biden told Jewish leaders during a call with Jewish leaders ahead of the Jewish High Holidays. The Jewish High Holidays begin with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year – which begins at sundown on Sept. 6 and ends at nightfall on Sept. 8 – and ends on Yom Kippur, which begins at sundown on Sept. 15 and ends at nightfall the following day. However, the synagogue’s executive director told The New York Post that Biden has not visited the synagogue since the shooting. Barb Feige “firmly that ‘no’ Biden didn’t visit, even before taking office when he had a lower public profile as a former vice president and then-Democratic...
    President Joe Biden told Jewish leaders in a call for the High Holidays Thursday that the lesson of the Holocaust, “never again,” would not be forgotten — just days after he pulled U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, leaving hundreds of Americans, and thousands of Afghan allies, to their fate at the hands of the Taliban. Biden held the traditional call ahead of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which begins Monday evening, and which is followed by several other holidays. He discussed the recent withdrawal from Afghanistan, urging Jewish leaders to join him in the last of integrating refugees into American society. And he also spoke of his long-standing interest in the Holocaust, noting that his father was outraged that the Roosevelt administration had not bombed the train tracks leading to Auschwitz. He did not seem to note the irony of his own administration failing to evacuate the majority of Afghan allies, and allowing the Taliban to seize the country. Biden spoke about the message of the Jewish High Holidays, calling it a time of “renewal,” and referring to his...
    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — For the first time, an organization in South Florida is distributing “trauma kits” to Jewish houses of worship that help treat life-threatening injuries before first responders can arrive. The kits being distributed this week by the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County contain bandages, gloves, burn-care gel, mylar rescue blankets and other equipment. The kits were being distributed to area synagogues and Chabad houses of worship ahead of the Jewish holidays which start next week with the Jewish New Year. “Safety must be a component of every organization’s culture,” the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County said on its website. The safety efforts follow several attacks on U.S. synagogues in recent years. During the last day of Passover services in April 2019, a man opened fire at Chabad of Poway in California, killing a 60-year-old woman and and wounding three others. In October 2018, 11 people were killed during a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue. Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    The Fairfax County School Board is considering adding four new days off to the 2021-2022 school calendar, to coincide with diverse religious holidays. But the effects of COVID-19 may delay the Virginia school system’s plans — at least, temporarily. A religious observances task force created by the school board worked for months to craft two calendar options it has labeled A and B. Both include days off for Diwali (Nov. 4, 2021), Eid (May 3, 2022), Rosh Hashana (Sept. 7, 2021) and Yom Kippur (Sept. 16, 2021). The pandemic delayed the school board from voting on one option or the other, and now a third calendar proposal — option C — has been added to the mix. Calendar C does away with the new days off, in favor of more instructional days to help students make up for pandemic-related learning loss. Drafts for version A, version B and version C have been published online. “We’re really trying to balance religious equity on one hand, with pandemic equity on the other,” Superintendent Scott Brabrand said at a school board work session...
    Roy Morsch/Getty Images When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more. If you're celebrating Hanukkah with children this year, make them feel special with a gift connected to the festival of lights.  You can find unique and Hanukkah-themed presents for all eight nights with this list of fun gifts for kids. Sign up for Insider Reviews' weekly newsletter for more buying advice and great deals. The holiday season can feel more like the Christmas season, and it can be isolating if you celebrate a different winter holiday, especially for kids. Though Hanukkah isn't the most important holiday in the Jewish faith, it's always a favorite with young kids. Whether it's fighting over who gets to light the candles or spinning the dreidel, the festival of lights is an exciting week.  Like most winter holidays, Hanukkah involves festivities, presents, and spending time with loved ones. Whether you're looking for a fun fifth-night gift for your kids or are visiting a Jewish family during the holidays and want to embrace their...
    Our popular understanding of the history of Thanksgiving is flawed. Barney Burstein/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images Thanksgiving is known as a time to be grateful, but it's built on the violent relationship between American colonists and Native Americans. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894 after a bloody strike amid frustrations over working conditions. Other holidays, from Passover to Valentine's Day, have traditions we love today, but dark histories we may not know about. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Think about your favorite holiday — do you know the story behind it? Even if it's celebrated with parades, barbecues, and gifts, it may have a surprisingly dark history. Labor Day, for example, is celebrated with a day off work and a final barbecue before the end of summer, but it was created in 1894 after a bloody strike. And while Purim is celebrated with costumes and booze, really, it's celebrating narrowly avoided mass murder. Keep scrolling to learn about the dark and potentially unhappy origin stories of some of your favorite holidays.The history of Thanksgiving is...
    Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters. On Thanksgiving I think of my grandmother—a loud, kind, pugnacious woman who dyed her hair fiery red almost until the end. When she finally let her hair go white, I knew we were approaching a cliff. She died in early 2019. Her absence makes the general loneliness of this pandemic Thanksgiving a bit easier. I think this year’s holiday would have always felt empty without her, as my family adjusts. On my dad’s side, she was our locus. The turkey dinner was less important than her ersatz Jewish brunch; Panera bagels were deemed good enough, lox was average at best, pimento cheese was added (which, I thought, until visiting New York City, was Jewish, not Southern, because we always had it as an optional schmear). It is not really because of food though or because of her warm embrace that I will miss her this season. It is because my grandma, like me, basically enjoyed, above all,...
    Loudoun County’s school board is considering three options for the 2021-2022 calendar that could add religious holidays to reflect the diverse community. In a virtual meeting Tuesday, the school board said it was considering a motion by member Harris Mahedavi, of the Ashburn District, to add Muslim, Hindu and Jewish holidays to the traditional school calendar. All three options would have students begin the school year Aug. 26, 2021. Option B would add the Jewish Day of Atonement Yom Kippur, the Hindu festival of lights Diwali, and Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan for Muslims. Option C would also include the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. Though the final day for students under Option A would be June 15, options B and C would extend the year until June 17. Loudoun County is weighing adding diverse holidays to their school calendar. (Courtesy Loudoun County School Board) In addition, the school board members asked staff to add Election Day to the calendar, since both Virginia and the county have added it as a paid government holiday. The school board...
    Prince William County school officials added Jewish, Hindu, and Muslim holidays to a tentative 2021-2022 calendar for the Virginia school system, and are asking parents to weigh in. The proposed calendar would include add the following: Jewish new year of Rosh Hashanah; Jewish day of atonement Yom Kippur; Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights; Eid al-Fitr, which marks breaking of the fast at the end of Ramadan. Here are the proposed holiday calendars for Prince William County Public Schools. (Courtesy Prince William County Public Schools) The school system is asking parents to take part in a poll that ends Thursday, to provide input on calendar Option B, which “incorporates additional holidays that reflect the diversity of the PWCS community.” Virginia requires the school year must begin with at least 180 school days. To reach 180 days while adding four additional days off, the school system would remove three days from winter break and one day from spring break from the originally approved calendar. With both options, the school year would begin Aug. 23, 2021, and end June 10, 2022....
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo quoted Hebrew to urge New York’s Orthodox Jewish residents to refrain from hosting large gatherings in the wake of an uptick in coronavirus cases on Sunday. 'I say to my friends in the Hasidic community: The Hebrew faith teaches us, pikuach nefesh, which means "save a life," and under the Hebrew teachings ... participation in a religious ceremony can be excused for a matter of health and life and safety,' he said in a press call. Cuomo’s plea comes as New York City and the state have seen a surge in COVID-19 cases in large Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn and Queens.  Also on Sunday Cuomo announced that the COVID-19 positivity rate is 5.7 percent in cluster sites. Statewide, the positive rate is 0.84 percent excluding hot spots.  On Sunday Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke Hebrew urging Orthodox Jewish residents to follow the teaching of pikuach nefesh, which means 'save a life,' and avoid large gatherings Orthodox Jewish men pictured speaking with police officers in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn on Wednesday As of Sunday...
    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A federal judge refused Friday to block New York’s plan to temporarily limit the size of religious gatherings in COVID-19 hot spots. U.S. District Judge Judge Kiyo Matsumoto issued the ruling Friday after an emergency hearing in a lawsuit brought by rabbis and synagogues that argued the restrictions were unconstitutional. They had sought to have enforcement delayed until at least after Jewish holy days this weekend. The rules limit indoor prayer services to 10 people in areas where the virus is spreading fastest. In other areas with slower spread, indoor religious services are capped at 25 people. The restrictions apply in six designated virus hot spots statewide, in parts of New York City, Rockland and Orange counties, and part of Binghamton. Nonessential businesses and schools have also been shut down in some of those areas. Ruling from the bench, the judge said the state had an interest in protecting public safety. Rabbis, leaders of synagogues and the national Orthodox Jewish group Agudath Israel sued, arguing that Gov. Andrew Cuomo was “singling out” Jews amid the ongoing...
    By MARINA VILLENEUVE, Associated Press ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A federal judge refused Friday to block New York’s plan to temporarily limit the size of religious gatherings in COVID-19 hot spots. U.S. District Judge Judge Kiyo Matsumoto issued the ruling Friday after an emergency hearing in a lawsuit brought by rabbis and synagogues that argued the restrictions were unconstitutional. They had sought to have enforcement delayed until at least after Jewish holy days this weekend. The rules limit indoor prayer services to 10 people in areas where the virus is spreading fastest. In other areas with slower spread, indoor religious services are capped at 25 people. The restrictions apply in six designated virus hot spots statewide, in parts of New York City, Rockland and Orange counties, and part of Binghamton. Nonessential businesses and schools have also been shut down in some of those areas. Ruling from the bench, the judge said the state had an interest in protecting public safety. Rabbis, leaders of synagogues and the national Orthodox Jewish group Agudath Israel sued, arguing that Gov. Andrew Cuomo was “singling...
    An Orthodox Jewish organization has sued Gov. Andrew Cuomo over new coronavirus restrictions that will limit synagogue capacity and go into effect as three Jewish holidays arrive this weekend, new court papers show. Agudath Israel of America and some of its Big Apple affiliates argue that the new COVID measures violate their constitutional right to free exercise of religion, a Brooklyn Federal lawsuit from Thursday claims. On Tuesday, Cuomo announced the new initiative that will close non-essential businesses  and schools in sections of Brooklyn and Queens where COVID-19 cases have been rising. Restaurants can do take-out only, mass gatherings will be prohibited, and houses of worship will be limited to 25-percent capacity or 10 people. This all while, Orthodox Jewish people are set to celebrate holidays Hoshanah Rabbah, Shmini Atzeres and Simchas Torah this coming Friday through Sunday at their synagogues for prayer and other rituals, the suit says. “Forty-eight hours before the onset of these holidays, Defendant Governor Cuomoissued an Executive Order that singles out and discriminates against all houses of worship— and synagogues in particular — by...
    NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City is "particularly concerned" about Yom Kippur this weekend and Sukkot a week later as health officials closely monitor a coronavirus cluster in Brooklyn neighborhoods that contain large numbers of Orthodox Jews.Health + Hospitals CEO Dr. Mitchell Katz said he is personally comfortable attending indoor religious services "but I would be wearing a mask and I would not be sitting next to someone who was not part of my family."State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker echoed the concern."This is a holiday season, we recognize the significance of the holiday, obviously," Zucker said.Gov. Cuomo said the city is currently responsible for monitoring what is being called the Ocean Parkway Cluster but if it were to spread and affect city schools, "it's no longer a cluster. A cluster that breaks out is now community spread. If the community spread number went up then it would affect schools. But we are not there," Cuomo said.The city has been targeting six neighborhoods that have seen recent upticks in coronavirus cases, with an emphasis on expanded testing and...
    LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Hours before the Rosh Hashanah holiday began Friday, county officials told attorneys who urged them to reverse coronavirus guidelines prohibiting families from gathering for religious meals that the policy would not be enforced. Earlier this week, First Liberty Institute sent a letter to county officials calling on them to reconsider its rules that specifically referenced Jewish residents from observing the High Holidays with other families inside private homes. Officials responded late Thursday night to the letter, saying they would not “dispatch Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies to the homes of Jewish families gathered for religious meals during the High Holidays inside someone’s homes.” In its initial Sept. 2 public health order, before the wording was revised, an example given by officials for prohibited gatherings included “having dinner with extended family and friends to honor the High Holidays (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur).” The county later revised the health officer order on Sept. 13 to prohibit “having a meal with extended family and friends for a religious or cultural holiday”, omitting the specific reference to the Jewish...
    For Jews around the world, sundown Friday begins the annual High Holiday season, starting with the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashana, followed by Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) 10 days later. The COVID-19 pandemic will make this a most unusual season for the observance of the most important holidays on the Jewish calendar. It will be the first time in the lives of many Jews that they are unable to attend High Holiday synagogue or temple services, and unable to gather with family and friends. The Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur services are always the most heavily attended of the year — but not this year. CALIFORNIA RABBI'S ATTORNEYS WEIGHING LEGAL ACTION OVER LA COUNTY RESTRICTING HOLIDAY DINNERS Just as the restrictions on public worship designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus were difficult for Christians worldwide during this past Easter, so too this High Holiday season will pose unique pandemic-related challenges for Jewish people. Aside from the lost opportunity for communal worship, Judaism has a requirement that a minyan — a group of at least 10...
    TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Israel will enter a second nationwide lockdown on Friday at the onset of the Jewish high-holiday season, forcing residents to stay mostly at home amid a resurgence in new coronavirus cases. The country's initial lockdown was imposed in late March and eased in May as new cases tapered off, reaching lows in the single digits. But Israeli leaders now acknowledge they lifted restrictions too soon in the hope of avoiding further economic damage by reopening the private sector. They had also permitted mass gatherings, which contributed in pushing new cases to daily highs of over 5,000. The new lockdown, which is due to begin at 2 p.m. (1100 GMT) and will last three weeks, coincides with the start of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, traditionally a time for large family gatherings and group prayer. Under the new rules, Israelis must stay within 500 metres (546 yards) of home, with exceptions for activities such as commuting to work, shopping for essentials and walking outdoors for exercise. Workplaces will operate on a limited basis. Social distancing and...
    The most sacred annual period in the Jewish religion starts Friday and because of the pandemic, we won't be seeing packed sanctuaries for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Instead, those sanctuaries have been turned into broadcast studios."We've transformed our sanctuary into a production studio. We've had to shoot High Holy Days so that we're able to share them with everyone, using Zoom, using Facebook, by using YouTube, we've helped create a community," said Rabbi Jon Hanish of Temple Kol Tikvah in Woodland Hills.WATCH | Here's a breakdown of each tier in California's reopening frameworkEMBED More News Videos Does the new color coded, 4-tier system for monitoring COVID-19 in California leave you scratching your head? ABC7 breaks down what each tier means. The Rabbi and Cantor with Temple Kol Tikvah in Woodland Hills will be in the Sanctuary for services, but in accordance with the L.A. County health order, the congregation will be at home. The goal is to make members feel as though they're together in-person and that this year's High Holy Days aren't subdued."We know there will be distractions,...
    LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A law firm specializing in religious freedoms says a Los Angeles County public health order indirectly targets families from observing the Jewish high holy days by prohibiting family gatherings. In the initial Sept. 2 order, before the wording was revised, an example given by officials for prohibited gatherings included “having dinner with extended family and friends to honor the High Holidays (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur),” according to First Liberty Institute. The county later revised the health officer order on Sept. 13 to prohibit “having a meal with extended family and friends for a religious or cultural holiday”, omitting the specific reference to the Jewish holidays. The holiest days of the Jewish calendar, Rosh Hashanah begins Friday and Yom Kippur starts on Sept. 27 and ends the following evening. “Although now hiding behind obscured language, the ban on celebrating the High Holidays with others remains,” wrote Stephanie Taub, senior counsel with First Liberty, which is based in Plano, Texas. A letter signed by Taub and sent Wednesday to Los Angeles County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis and...
    Synagogues will host celebrations for 5781 Sundown on Friday (Sept. 18) marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish holy day celebrating God’s creation of the world. The holiday begins a 10-day period that concludes on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, on Monday, Sept. 28. Philipstown Reform Synagogue will host services via Zoom led by Rabbi Helaine Ettinger. Registration has closed for Friday, and the deadline to register for Kol Nidre/Yom Kippur services on Sept. 27 is Wednesday (Sept. 16). To receive a link, email your name and phone number to Cathy Duke at [email protected] Include the name of any loved ones you would like to appear in the Book of Remembrance. A donation of $18 per name is suggested. Visit philipstownreformsynagogue.org for a complete schedule of services. The Beacon Hebrew Alliance will also offer online services beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday; see its website for details and to register. The synagogue notes that while livestreaming of services will be publicly accessible, all additional communal programming and experiences will be only for BHA members.
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An Israeli cabinet minister tendered his resignation on Sunday in protest at a looming coronavirus lockdown that he argued would unfairly impede religious celebrations of Jewish holidays. The restrictions - the most extensive Israel will have imposed since a lockdown that ran from late March to early May - are expected to go into effect on Friday, the Jewish new year Rosh Hashana, and span into the Yom Kippur fast day on Sept 27. "This wrongs and scorns hundreds of thousands of citizens," Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman, who heads an ultra-Orthodox Jewish party in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's conservative coalition, said in his resignation letter. "Where were you until now? Why have the Jewish holidays become a convenient address for tackling the coronavirus...?" Under law, Litzman's resignation takes effect in 48 hours. Although a sign of strained relations between Netanyahu and his ultra-Orthodox political partners, Litzman's move was unlikely to have any immediate effect on the stability of the veteran leader's governing coalition. In remarks to the cabinet as it convened to vote on the lockdown, Netanyahu...
    St Patrick's Day. Tristan Fewings/Getty Images Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894 after a bloody strike amid frustrations over working conditions. Other holidays, from Passover to Valentine's Day, have traditions we love today, but dark histories we may not know about. Thanksgiving is known as a time to be grateful, but it's built on the violent relationship between American colonists and Native Americans. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Think about your favorite holiday — do you know the story behind it? Even if it's celebrated with parades, barbecues, and gifts, it may have a surprisingly dark history. Labor Day, for example, is celebrated with a day off work and a final barbecue before the end of summer, but it was created in 1894 after a bloody strike. And while Purim is celebrated with costumes and booze, really, it's celebrating narrowly avoided mass murder. Keep scrolling to learn about the dark and potentially unhappy origin stories of some of your favorite holidays.Labor Day was created after a bloody strike led to dozens of deaths and...
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