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Israeli Jewish Holidays


Which are the main Jewish holidays, and how do they effect tourists?


National Israeli holidays / Chagim are generally all Jewish Holidays, plus the addition of Independece day.

Shops and businesses are partially open during All Jewish Holidays, meaning - in Jerusalem they're all closed, and in Tel Aviv and Haifa they're usually open.

Following is a brief explanation about every holiday, and a table of Jewish holiday dates for the coming years.

Rosh Hashana -

The beginning of the Jewish year, which is one of the three most sacred holidays in the Jewish religion. Rosh hashana lasts for two days on Tishrey first and second. School students usually have 3 to 4 free days, starting one day before the official Jewish holiday.

Yom Hakkipurim

The day of amendment is the holiest day of the year, during which all Jewish people must fast for an entire day (25 hors). It occurs 10 days after Rosh Hashana on Tishrey 10. School kids have two days off, starting one day before the ooficial Jewish holiday.

Traditional Passover Plate

Sukkot and simchat Torah 

Sukkot is a very special holiday in which many Israelis set up special tents called "sukka" in their back yard, and invite all their friends and family to visit. Sukkot starts on Tishrey 25 and ends on Tishrey 31st, which are eactly 7 days. It is foillowed by "Simchat torah" in which we celebrate the first chapter of the torah, which will then be read throughout the entire year.
School kids have 10 days off, starting one day before the holiday.


The holiday when we all light our Hannuka lamps and eat doughnuts for 8 days to celebrate the victory of the Maccabim over the occupying Greek. Starts on Kislev 25 and ends on Tevet 2. School kids have time off for 9 days starting one day before the holiday starts.

Tu Bishvat -

Not a workplace or school vacation, but my personal favorite - is the holiday when we celebrate the beginning of the year for all plants and trees. It is custom to plant trees and new flowers on Tu bishvat (Shvat 16th), and if you ask around you may even join a new forest planting organized by the JNF.

Taanit Esther and Purim

Purim is a holiday when we all wear costumes. It is the happiest holiday in Israel, and a very intersting time to visit. It is not a school vacation though..


The longest holiday is when we celebrate the freedom the Jewish people have been granted from the Egyptian people. The peak of the holiday is "Leil Haseder" when we all sit down for big family dinners and tell the tale of the "Haggada".

In the Kibbutzim, passover is the holiday of the harvest, when all Kibbutzim have the passover harvest festival.

School kids get a three week vacation from school, startng a few days before the holiday starts.

Memorial Day and Independence day

The two following days are when we remember all those we lost for the country, and celebrate our independence. School is off from the middle of memorial day till the end of independence day (2 days).

During memorial day there are many ceremonies around the country which Israeli attend and watch on TV.

During Independence day we all celebrate in big parties, and out in the streets.

Lag Baomer

33 Days after passover is the Jewish holiday of the harvest season, in which Jewish people set up big bonfires around the country. It is a one day holiday for school kids.


The third holiest holiday, when families meet for a typical dairy lunch or dinner. School kids have 2 days off, starting one day before the holiday.

Summer break 

There are no Jewish holidays during summer moths, but school is off for a two month period. High school

kids start their time off on June 20th, while the rest have to wait till July 1st.

      Jewish Holidays

  2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Rosh Hashana Sep. 30 - Oct. 1 Sep. 19 - Sep. 20 Sep. 9 - Sep. 10 Sep. 29 - Sep. 30 Sep. 17 - Sep. 18
Yom Kippur Oct. 9 Sep. 28 Sep 18 Oct 8 Sep 26
Sukkot Oct. 14 Oct. 3  Sep. 23 Oct. 13 Oct. 1
Simchat Torah Oct. 21 Oct 10  Sep. 30 Oct. 20  Oct. 8 
Chanukah Dec. 22 Dec. 12  Dec. 2 Dec. 21  Dec. 9 
Purim Mar. 21 Mar. 10  Feb. 28 Mar. 20  Mar. 8 
Passover Apr. 20  Apr. 9  Mar. 30  Apr 19 Apr. 7 
Holocaust Memorial Day May 1  Apr. 21  Apr 11  May 1  Apr. 19
National Memorial Day May 7  Apr. 28  Apr. 18  May 8 Apr. 25 
Independence Day May 8  Apr 29  Apr. 19  May 9  Apr. 26
Shavuot Jun. 9  May 29  May 19  Jun. 8  May 27
Tisha Be'av Aug. 10  Jul. 30 Jul. 20  Aug. 9   Jul. 29


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