Yom Kippur War Marks 37th Anniversary of War

Jews in Israel and around the world are preparing for the upcoming High Holy days, which begin Wednesday night, September 8, with the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, and culminate at the beginning of October. In Israel, it is a time for celebration but also a time to reflect on attacks that terrorists have been carried out in the past to coincide with the holidays.

Jewish High Holy Days:

Rosh Hashanah, evening of Sept. 8th, 2010 (Wednesday) to Sept. 10th, 2010 (Friday);
Yom Kippur, evening of Sept. 17th, 2010 (Friday) to Sept. 18th, 2010 (Saturday);
Sukkoth, evening of Sept. 22nd, 2010 (Wednesday) to Sept. 29th, 2010 (Wednesday);
Shemini Atzeret (also Simhat Torah in Israel), Sept. 30th, 2010 (Thursday);
Simhat Torah (outside of Israel), Oct. 1st, 2010 (Friday).[1]

Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the Jewish calendar and is celebrated with long blasts of the shofar (ram’s horn) in synagogues as well as family gatherings. Businesses are closed in Israel.

Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. Jews fast for 25 hours and spend much of the day praying. In Israel, Yom Kippur is a national holiday and many activities are suspended, including TV and radio broadcasts and public transportation. Some roads are closed, as are entertainment venues.[2]

Sukkoth, also known as the harvest festival, comes five days after Yom Kippur and lasts for a week. Booths are erected all around Israel to symbolize the tents that Jews lived in after their exodus from Egypt. Schools are typically closed and most Israelis take advantage of the break for leisure activities.

In Israel, Shemini Atzeret and Simhat Torah are combined into one holiday and are observed when Sukkoth ends. It is a joyous time during which Jews recite the final and beginning chapters of the Torah (Old Testament of the Bible) as they renew its yearly reading cycle.[3]

While holidays are a joyful occasion, Israel also recalls previous terrorist attacks that occurred during festivals, and must maintain security measures to defend itself.

Terror and Jewish Holidays:

* On Yom Kippur in 1973, Israel was attacked [4] by surrounding Arab armies as many Israelis were in synagogues fasting and praying;

* On March 4, 1996, during Purim, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up outside the busy Dizengoff Center shopping mall in Tel Aviv. Thirteen people were killed and many were injured. Many of the victims were children dressed up to celebrate the spring festivities. [5]

* On Sept. 26, 2003, a 27-year-old man and a 7-month-old infant were shot dead by a Palestinian terrorist who knocked on the door of a home in Negohot, south of Hebron, during a celebratory Rosh Hashanah dinner;

* On March 27, 2002, 22 people were killed and 140 injured — 20 seriously — in a suicide bombing at the Park Hotel in the coastal city of Netanya, in the midst of the Passover holiday seder with 250 guests;[6]

* On Sept. 23, 2002, a man was killed and his three sons were injured by Palestinian gunmen while they were celebrating the Sukkoth festival near Hebron;[7]

* On April 17, 2006, during Passover, nine people were killed and at least 40 wounded in a suicide bombing near the old central bus station in Tel Aviv. The blast ripped through Falafel Rosh Ha’ir, the same restaurant that had been hit by an attack on January 19.



[1] “Jewish Holiday Listing for 2010,” Chabad Web site, accessed Aug. 25, 2010, http://www.chabad.org/calendar/holidays_cdo/aid/672022/jewish/2010-Holidays.htm

[2] “Jewish Festivals and Days of Remembrance in Israel,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Web site, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Facts+About+Israel/People/Jewish+Festivals+in+Israel.htm , accessed Aug. 25, 2007

[3] Ibid.

[4] “1973: Arab states attack Israeli forces,” BBC.co.uk, accessed Sept. 19, 2007, http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/october/6/newsid_2514000/2514317.stm

[5] The Dizengoff Memorial Quilt Web site, accessed Aug. 26, 2010, http://www.geocities.com/dizquilt/index.html

[6] “Major Terror Attacks in Israel,” Anti-Defamation League Web site, accessed Aug. 25, 2010, http://www.adl.org/israel/israel_attacks.asp

[7] Dudkevitch, Margot, “Father killed, 3 sons wounded in Hebron attack,” Casualties of War, Sept. 24, 2002, http://info.jpost.com/C002/Supplements/CasualtiesOfWar/2002_09_24.html

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