Celebrating Jewish Holidays!


Amy Kaplan

Amy Kaplan celebrating Hanukkah with her family.

Jefrany D'catry, Staff Writer

Miami is one of the 30 cities in the United States with the most Jewish inhabitants, many of whom live in the Miami Beach Area. Throughout the academic year, school is suspended on several Jewish holidays to allow students to spend the day with their families. Teacher planning days are aligned with these holidays to give students the opportunity to be absent without it counting as an unexcused absence. In the Miami-Dade County Public Schools calendar, four major Jewish holidays are recognized.

The first holiday of the school year is on Sept. 10, the day of Rosh Hashana. Rosh Hashana is the Jewish New Year in which families create special meals and celebrate by eating challah bread. It occurs on the first day of Tishri, which marks the beginning of the Ten Days of Repentance. During those days, they recite prayers and are less involved in worldly matters.

“We spend the whole day at Temple and at night everyone shares a big feast together during Rosh Hashana,” junior Bridget Babani said.

It is then followed by Yom Kippur, called the Day of Atonement, on Sept. 19 during the month of Tishrei. This holiday is believed to be one of the most important and occurs ten days after Rosh Hashana. On the night before, families feast in preparation for the 25-hour fast that follows.

“For Yom Kippur, we go to temple and attend a few hours service held in Hebrew. It’s about feeling sorry effectively for your sins,” sophomore Joah Brooks said.

Hanukkah extends over eight days in December, starting on the 2nd, to commemorate the rededication of the Second Temple. There are eight days in Hanukkah to represent the amount of time that an oil lamp remained burning during the defeat of the Syrians and the revival of the Temple of Jerusalem. A menorah is traditionally used, and as each day passes, a new candle is lit until the all eight are completed.

For Hanukkah we celebrate each of the eight nights with family and friends. Each night is a different theme.”

— junior Amy Kaplan

Pesach, or Passover, is celebrated to commemorate enslaved Jews who escaped from Egypt. The holiday takes place during the month of Nisan on Apr. 19 and lasts for eight days. They have a Seder, a feast to symbolize the beginning of Passover, on the first two days. They avoid eating chametz – a name attributed to any food that contains wheat, barley, oats, spelt or rye which have fermented and risen. A typical food to consume is Matzah, a flatbread that is unleavened.

Having teacher planning days coincide with the major Jewish holidays is important for Jewish students all around the nation and right here at Coral Gables High School because it allows the students to celebrate their families’ traditions without interrupting their academic lives.