The RP should assist the chaplain in ensuring that all appropriate
supervisory personnel are made aware of special requirements for Jewish
personnel in regard to the observance of the Jewish Sabbath. The RP should
also assist the chaplain, as appropriate, in ensuring that special leave and
liberty are granted when it is necessary for reasons having to do with the
practice of religion.
Since the Jewish day is measured from sunset to sunset, the Sabbath
begins Friday evening just before sunset and ends after dark (24 hours later)
Saturday evening. Other Jewish holy days also run from Friday evening until
Saturday evening. Jewish Sabbath services are conducted on Saturday.
Jewish holy days and festivals are high points in the religious life of Jews.
For Judaism, the annual cycle of observances is as significant as creeds are in
other faiths. The yearly cycle of the holidays serves to focus attention on
fundamental Jewish values: humility, penitence, gratitude, dedication, hope,
freedom, and loyalty. All Jewish personnel should be encouraged to
celebrate these sacred occasions. Jewish holy days are characterized by
prohibitions of work comparable to those which pertain on the Sabbath.
ROSH HASHANAH (New Year) .Celebrates the anniversary of
creation. Many Jews allocate 2 days for Rosh Hashanah services; others
allocate only 1 day. These differences in the celebration of the holy days are
to be expected and should be respected. Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first
and second days of Tishri, the seventh month of the Jewish calendar.
Rosh Hashanah is the first of 10 days of penitence (the Days of Awe)
which end with the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur.
Jews believe that during these 10 days of penitence and prayer, people pass
before the Heavenly Throne and God looks into their hearts and reviews
their deeds. Judgment is passed on Yom Kippur. Each persons deeds are
weighed and judged in a Heavenly Book of Accounts.
The Shofar (rams horn) is blown several times, in a prescribed pattern of
notes. The original meaning of these blasts is no longer remembered. Tradi-
tion, however, interprets the sounds of the Shofar as a summons to Gods
Court of Judgment.
In ancient Judea, the rams horn was used as a communication device to
send signals from one mountain peak to another. In the Talmud, it is
suggested that the Shofar helps to confuse Satan who tries to influence God
when He judges people.
Orthodox and Conservative Jews observe 2 days of Rosh Hashanah;
Reform Jews celebrate only 1 day.
YOM KIPPUR (Day of Atonement1 day).The evening service on
Yom Kippur eve (beginning the solemn 24-hour period of prayer, fasting,
and self-examination) commences with one of the most famous of prayers,
the Kol Nidre. The cantor chants the plaintive melody of the Kol Nidre just
before sunset; first softly, then louder, then still louder. Kol Nidre means
all vows. The words of the Kol Nidre prayer state that all vows and oaths
made to God and not carried out are hereby canceled and made void.