Holidays and Life Cycle Events
The Jewish calendar is filled with annual holidays and life cycle events that are central to maintaining Jewish traditions and preserving Jewish culture – no matter the location. Across individual groups and people, Jewish events are celebrated for religious, spiritual, family, and personal reasons. They also centre communities around the long standing, historically significant traditions that have been celebrated for thousands of years across the globe.
Jewish culture is rooted in traditions that have been practiced for thousands of years by varying and distant Jewish communities. For many Jews, part of what it means to be Jewish is keeping up traditions and preserving cultural practices. Such practices as affixing a mezuzah to a doorpost or keeping a kosher diet are common and important practices in maintaining Jewish culture and identity. From bris to bar mitzvah, weddings to death, Jewish culture emphasizes and celebrates significant milestones throughout a person’s life – and community plays an integral role in it. In hard times and at times of celebration, people often seek connection with the community for support or to share in the celebration.
In modern societies maintaining Jewish traditions can often take personal commitment and initiative, as most modern Jews live in mixed ethnic and religious communities where many of their neighbours and friends may not be practicing the same cultural traditions. Leaders in the Jewish community play an important role in organizing and connecting members of the community and in maintaining such traditions.