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Why does the Jewish day start at sundown?
A. Think about it--what makes more sense: for a new day to begin when the old day ends, or in the middle of the night? That’s basically why the...

How can I find dates of upcoming Jewish holidays?
A. No two years are the same. Every year is different--according to the Julian calendar, that is. Because the Jewish holidays are governed by the Jewish...

What are the names of the Jewish months?
Although the Jewish New Year is on the first of the Jewish month Tishrei (around September), the Torah refers to the Jewish months as beginning from...

What is special about the month of Elul?
On the first day of Elul, Moses went back up on Sinai for another 40-day stint to receive the second set of tablets.1 The first tablets were shattered by...

Why do we blow the Shofar every day during the month of Elul?
The sound of the shofar, Maimonides explains,1 is the call to Teshuvah. Teshuvah means returning to your true self. As we get closer to the High Holidays,...

What is the origin of the names for the Jewish months (Nissan, Tishrei...)?
According to the Jerusalem Talmud (Rosh Hashanah 1:2), the names of the months “went up with [the Jews] from Babylonia.” This is generally...

Why does the Torah call the months: “First Month,” “Second Month” etc.?
One of the reasons is that by using the generic “first,” “second” etc, the Torah emphasizes the progressive nature of the...

How is Rosh Chodesh celebrated?
Rosh Chodesh, the first of the month, is a quasi-holiday in Jewish tradition. It is not as serious as other holidays, such as the Shabbat, Passover etc.,...

Why was the word “mar” added to Cheshvan?
Mar has two meanings: “bitter” and “drop”—as in a drop of water.The month of Cheshvan has a pretty bitter history for the...

Why do the Jews maintain a lunar calendar?
The first Commandment the Jews received, while they were yet in Egypt, was: “This month shall be to you the head of the months” (Exodus 12:2)....

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