High Holidays - HarfordChabad.org
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Holiday Date
October 2 - 12, 2024
What is High Holidays?

If the year is a train, the High Holidays (AKA High Holy Days) are its engine. A delicate blend of joy and solemnity, feasting and fasting, prayer and inspiration make up the spiritually charged head of the Jewish year.

The High Holiday season begins during the month of Elul, when the shofar is sounded every weekday morning, a clarion call to return to G‑d in advance of the sacred days that lay ahead.

The two-day holiday of Rosh Hashanah is the head of the Jewish year, the time when G‑d reinvests Himself in creation as we crown Him king of the universe through prayer, shofar blasts, and celebration.

Rosh Hashanah 2023 begins at 6:56 pm (Candle-lighting time) on Friday, September 15, and ends at 7:51 pm on Sunday, September 17 in Bel Air, Maryland. ( Full Rosh Hashanah Calendar)
A week later, the High Holidays reach their crescendo with Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). Like angels, we neither eat nor drink for 25 hours. Dressed in white, we pray in the synagogue—united as one people, children of One Father.
Yom Kippur 2023 begins at 6:42 pm (Candle-lighting time) on Sunday, September 24, and ends at 7:38 pm on Monday, September 25. ( Full Yom Kippur Schedule)
But it does not end there. The otherworldliness of the High Holidays is then channeled into the festive holidays of Sukkot and Simchat Torah, which bring the annual fall holiday season to a most joyous conclusion.

A shofar is a trumpet made from the horn of a kosher animal with the marrow removed.

The central mitzvah of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) is to hear the shofar being blown—often in synagogue, ideally as part of the prayer service. This year, listen to the blowing of the shofar on Sept. 17, 2023.


The seven days of Sukkot - celebrated by dwelling in the sukkah, taking the Four Kinds , and rejoicing - are followed by Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah (October 6-8).

Sukkot - when we expose ourselves to the elements in greenery-covered huts—commemorates G‑d sheltering our ancestors as they traveled from Egypt to the Promised Land. The Four Kinds express our unity and our belief in G‑d’s omnipresence. Coming after the solemn High Holidays, Sukkot is a time of joy and happiness.

The first two days (or one day in Israel) are yom tov, when work is forbidden, candles are lit in the evening, and festive meals are preceded with Kiddush and contain challah dipped in honey. The remainder of the days are quasi holidays, known as chol hamoed . We dwell in the sukkah and take the Four Kinds every day (except for Shabbat, when we do not take the Four Kinds).