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Maintaining the Jewish heritage and community is the core of the mission of the Springfield JCC. Come celebrate and observe with us...

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Shabbat Programming @ the J

Seasonably Shabbat Programs

The J welcomes everyone to participate in “Seasonably Shabbat” Programs. This cultural-but-not-religious gathering includes music, braiding challah (bread), and food. Children enjoy lighting candles, sipping grape juice, and “welcoming in Shabbat.” No matter what you believe in, this is an opportunity to join with other families in a relaxed, fun, and yummy atmosphere.
The J will host Seasonably Shabbat 5:30-7:30 pm, Fridays, November 1, January 10, April 3, and June 12. To participate, contact Sonia Wilk, 413.739.4715.
art gallery at the jewish community center

Hanukkah

Hanukkah First Light Community-wide Celebration featuring Marilyn Price, puppeteer and storyteller

Sunday, December 22 | 22 Kislev 5780
at the Springfield JCC, 1160 Dickinson Street

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About Marilyn Price

Marilyn Price weaves a finely- crafted performance filled with storytelling, puppetry and wisdom. From traditional folktales to original works, Marilyn captivates audiences of all ages. Her stories are carefully selected, and told with irresistible wit and detail deserving of the story and the audience. Combining entertainment with some of life’s most treasured values, this nationally–acclaimed storyteller, educator and puppeteer inspires her audiences to open their minds and their hearts.

The show is free and open to the public.

First Light is sponsored by the Springfield JCC and the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts; and supported by the Sklar Family In partnership with PJ Library, Temple Beth El, Sinai Temple, B’nai Torah, and LYA.

For more information about programs at the Springfield JCC, call 413-739-4715 or email us.

Tu B'Shvat

The 15th day of the month of Shvat marks the beginning of the “new year” for trees. Tu B’Shvat is the new year for the purpose of calculating the age of trees for tithing. The Torah states that fruit from trees which were grown in the land of Israel may not be eaten during the first three years; after the fourth year, the fruit can be eaten.

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Each tree is considered to have aged one year as of Tu B’Shvat, no matter when in the year it was planted. It is customary to plant trees and partake of the fruits of the land of Israel to mark the occasion.

The Springfield JCC is collecting junk Mail now through January 18th.  Drop your junk mail off at the JCC front desk for a hands-on community project which will be displayed in the lobby for Tu B’Shvat (January 24th). 

Purim

Purim is a joyful and fun-filled holiday which includes games, festive meals, and community celebrations. It retells the story of Jewish life in Persia and specifically the story of Esther, the Persian-Jewish queen.

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Purim observances often include games, costumes, and yummy triangle-shaped cookies called hamentashen.  On Purim, Jewish tradition teaches that we must “increase our joy.”

Each year, the J hosts a Purim Carnival. Visit the J Calendar section to learn more.

Yom Ha'atzmaut

Yom Ha’Atzmaut – Israel Independence Day
Celebrated the 5th day of Iyar, Yom Ha’Atzmaut is a joyful celebration of Israeli’s independence.  Jewish communities in Israel and around the world celebrate with prayers of gratitude, Israeli food, and music.

Yom Hashoah

Yom Hashoah is a solemn day when many Jewish communities honor the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust through special ceremonies.

Lag B'omer

Lag B’Omer means “the 33rd day of the (counting of the) Omer”. This day is observed as a day of rejoicing because on this day, the students of Rabbi Akivadid not die. We therefore are permitted to take haircuts, listen to music, hold weddings etc., because the signs of mourning which we have been observing are not necessary on this day of great happiness.

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh HaShanah (literally, “Head of the Year”) is the Jewish New Year, which marks the beginning of a 10-day period of prayer, self-examination and repentance. This period, known as the Days of Awe (or High Holy Days), is widely observed by Jews throughout the world, many with prayer and reflection in a synagogue. There also are several holiday rituals observed at home.

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Rosh HaShanah is celebrated on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, which, because of differences in the solar and lunar calendar, corresponds to September or October on the secular calendar.

The customs and symbols of Rosh HaShanah reflect the holiday’s dual emphasis on both happiness and humility. Customs observed on Rosh HaShanah include the sounding of the shofar and eating special foods including round challah, symbolizing the circle of life, and sweet foods, such as apples and honey, for a sweet New Year. It is also customary to extend wishes for a good year. In Hebrew, the simple form of the greeting is “L’shanah tovah.”

One especially meaningful practice associated with Rosh HaShanah is Tashlich, a ceremony in which Jewish people go to a body of water, such as a river, stream, or ocean to cast away their sins by symbolically tossing bread into the water. This physical act inspires us to remember our actions, right our wrongs, and refocus ourselves for the New Year.

Yom Kippur

Wishing You A Meaningful Fast May you be written in the book of life

Yom Kippur is a day of Atonement. The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are days focused on self-reflection and seeking forgiveness. It is during this time we make peace with anyone we may have hurt during the previous year.

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On Yom Kippur, Jewish adults fast and spend the day in synagogue praying. Children under the age of 13 are not required to fast. This year, the holiday begins the eve of October 7th with a big meal and a service, Kol Nidra. The holiday ends with the Ne’ilah service and one long final blast of the Shofar. It is custom to read the story of Jonah during the Yom Kippur service. This story shows that G-d forgives everyone who is truly sorry for doing wrong. The greeting for Yom Kippur is: L’Shanah Tovah Tikatayvu V’tichataymu, which means “May you be written and sealed for a good year in the Book of Life.

For more information about programs at the Springfield JCC, call 413-739-4715 or email us.

Sukkot

The Festival of Sukkot begins on Tishri 15, the fifth day after Yom Kippur. It is quite a drastic transition, from one of the most solemn holidays in our year to one of the most joyous.

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Sukkot is so unreservedly joyful that it is commonly referred to in Jewish prayer and literature as Z’man Simchateinu, the Season of our Rejoicing. Sukkot is the last of the Shalosh R’galim (three pilgrimage festivals). Like Passover and Shavu’ot, Sukkot has a dual significance: historical and agricultural. Historically, Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters. Agriculturally, Sukkot is a harvest festival and is sometimes referred to as Chag Ha-Asif, the Festival of Ingathering.

For more information about programs at the Springfield JCC, call 413-739-4715 or email us.

Simchat Torah & Shimini Atzeret

Simchat Torah and Shimini Atzeret are celebrations marking the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings, and the beginning of a new cycle. Simchat Torah is a component of the Biblical Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret (“Eighth Day of Assembly”), which follows immediately after the festival of Sukkot in the month of Tishrei (mid-September to early October on the Gregorian calendar).

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The main celebration of Simchat Torah takes place in the synagogue during evening and morning services. In many Orthodox and Conservative congregations, this is the only time of year on which the Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark and read at night. In the morning, the last parashah of Deuteronomy and the first parashah of Genesis are read in the synagogue. On each occasion, when the ark is opened, all the worshippers leave their seats to dance and sing with all the Torah scrolls in a joyous celebration that often lasts for several hours and more.

The morning service is also uniquely characterized by the calling up of each male member (in some Orthodox and the majority of non-Orthodox congregations, male and female members) of the congregation for an aliyah, as well as a special aliyah for all the children in attendance.

For more information about programs at the Springfield JCC, call 413-739-4715 or email us.

Pesach

Passover (Hebrew: Pesach) commemorates the story of the Israelites’ departure from ancient Egypt, which appears in the Hebrew Bible’s books of Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, among other texts. Jewish people observe the week-long festival with a number of important rituals, including traditional Passover meals known as seders, the removal of leavened products from their home, the substitution of matzo for bread and the retelling of the exodus tale.

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For more information about programs at the Springfield JCC, call 413-739-4715 or email us.