High Holy Days

High Holy Days: A term often used to describe the holidays falling during the Hebrew month of Tishrei (often overlapping with September and October), the High Holy Days/Holidays include Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah:

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, or “Head of the Year,” is the Jewish New Year, starting at sunset and continuing for two days. On Rosh Hashanah, Jews attend religious services and celebratory meals. Rosh Hashanah also marks the beginning of the Ten Days of Repentance, which conclude on Yom Kippur. Brandeis does not hold classes during Rosh Hashanah.

Yom Kippur

Following Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur is also known as the Day of Atonement. Jews observe Yom Kippur with a 25 hour fast (this does not include children, or those unable to fast for health/safety reasons) and religious services. Brandeis does not hold classes on Yom Kippur.


Beginning five days after Yom Kippur, Sukkot is named after the huts the Israelites lived in during their exodus from Egypt, which Jews today build to and dwell in to commemorate this time. Sukkot is also a harvest holiday and the beginning of the season of prayers for rain. Important ritual objects on sukkot include the lulav (a bundle of different types of branches) and an etrog (a species of citrus fruit commonly found in the Middle East).

Shemini Atzeret

Shemini Atzeret, or “The Eighth Day of Assembly,” is the eighth day of Sukkot and marks the beginning of Simchat Torah. Brandeis does not hold classes on Shmini Atzeret/ the first day of Simchat Torah.

Simchat Torah

Simchat Torah, or “Rejoicing with the Torah,” marks the completion of one Torah reading cycle and the beginning of a new one.