Holidays

People often say: “The Jewish holidays are late this year” or “The Jewish holidays are early this year.” In fact, the holidays never are early or late; they are always on time, according to the Jewish calendar. Unlike the Gregorian (civil) calendar, which is based on the sun (solar), the Jewish calendar is based primarily on the moon (lunar), with periodic adjustments made to account for the differences between the solar and lunar cycles. Therefore, the Jewish calendar might be described as both solar and lunar. The moon takes an average of 29.5 days to complete its cycle; 12 lunar months equal 354 days. A solar year is 365 1/4 days. There is a difference of 11 days per year. To ensure that the Jewish holidays always fall in the proper season, an extra month is added to the Hebrew calendar seven times out of every 19 years. If this were not done, the fall harvest festival of Sukkot, for instance, would sometimes be celebrated in the summer, or the spring holiday of Passover would sometimes occur in the winter.

Click on the calendar below to download a printable copy of it.

Lag B’Omer

Wednesday, May 22    6 pm
Ventura Cove, Mission Bay

Join us to celebrate Lag B’Omer Israeli-style with a barbeque and bonfire at Ventura Cove. Bring your own dinner to cook over the fire and enjoy a beautiful San Diego sunset at the bay. Ventura Cove is located in the 1100 block of West Mission Bay Drive on the right hand side of the street after crossing the channel. Bring dinner, lawn chairs, blankets and a jacket or sweater. Friendly dogs on leashes are allowed after 6 pm. No glass containers or alcohol.

Click here for a map and directions to Ventura Cove.

From the “My Jewish Learning” website:

Lag B’Omer is a minor holiday that occurs on the 33rd day of the Omer, the 49-day period between Passover and Shavuot. A break from the semi-mourning of the Omer, key aspects of Lag B’Omer include holding Jewish weddings (it’s the one day during the Omer when Jewish law permits them), lighting bonfires and getting haircuts.

Why We Celebrate
There are a few explanations why we celebrate Lag B’Omer, but none is definitive.

The Omer is a time of semi-mourning, when weddings and other celebrations are forbidden, and as a sign of grief, observant Jews do not cut their hair. Anthropologists say that many peoples have similar periods of restraint in the early spring to symbolize their concerns about the growth of their crops. But the most often cited explanation for the Jewish practice comes from the Talmud, which tells us that during this season a plague killed thousands of Rabbi Akiva‘s students because they did not treat one another respectfully. The mourning behavior is presumably in memory of those students and their severe punishment.

According to a medieval tradition, the plague ceased on Lag Ba’Omer, the 33rd day of the Omer.  (The Hebrew letters lamed and gimel which make up the acronym “Lag” have the combined numerical value of 33.) As a result, Lag Ba’Omer became a happy day, interrupting the sad­ness of the Omer period for 24 hours.

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