The Holy Day Cycle at Ruach Israel
Liturgical melodies on holy days are different than on Shabbat, but the basic message is the same: Messiah Yeshua, lifted up as the “diamond in the gold setting of our Jewish worship.”Below is a synopsis of the holy days and our approach to them as a Messianic Jewish community:
High Holy Days
Selichot – On the Saturday evening before Rosh HaShanah, we gather in the evening to confess our sins to the King – the One who has every right to judge and forgive Israel.
Rosh HaShanah – Along with Conservative and Orthodox synagogues, we hold services on the first and second day. We liturgically crown our God as King, thereby acknowledging again his right to evaluate our individual lives, as well as that of the Jewish people. Messiah Yeshua’s presence is woven throughout beautiful liturgy; He is the One through whom God will rule the earth one day.
Yom Kippur – Ruach Israel begins its Yom Kippur experience with the traditional Kol Nidre evening service, the Yom Kippur Morning service, afternoon study of the book of Jonah and concludes with Ne’ilah and community break-fast
Sukkot – Five days later begins the joyful Sukkot celebration with sukkah decorating, eating and service in the traditional temporary shelter. Our sukkah is quite large, so there is plenty of room for you and your family!
Simchat Torah – Sukkot comes to joyful close as we gather around the Torah to sing, dance and, once again, celebrate our annual reading cycle
Chanukah – Chanukah is celebrated in our homes, but we observe the holiday as a community by eating latkes with applesauce (or sour cream!) and hosting a children’s party. And while this is the time of the year when Christians celebrate the birth of Yeshua Ruach Israel has no specific liturgy for commemorating the birth of the Messiah at this point in our liturgical development.
Purim – At Purim we celebrate the victory of Esther and Mordechai over the evil intentions of Haman by reading the Megillah (the biblical book of Esther), dressing up in costumes and generally making merry!
Passover – Again, in the tradition of Conservative and Orthodox Judaism, we celebrate Passover Seders on both the first and second nights and encourage folks to treat the seventh day as holy as well. Some of our members who have kosher kitchens will do special cleaning and kashering utensils. We eat matzah for the eight days of Pesach.
Picking up on a developing custom in some Jewish circles to celebrate the Messiah with a special eighth night seder, we have developed a “Meal of Messiah” seder where we celebrate Yeshua our Messiah and the magnificent moment in our Jewish experience and history of His resurrection and redemptive work.
Shavuot – One of the Shalosh Regalim (three pilgrim Festivals,) Shavuot is also an important day for us. Not only do we remember the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai, but we also recall when Yeshua’s apostles stood in the temple Courts during this festival and received the Ruach HaKodesh (The Holy Spirit.)
After gathering for evening prayers, we create a sacred space in our sanctuary for what we call “soaking prayer” — a quiet and reflective time for people to just be with God. Soft music is played in the sanctuary to create an environment where all feel welcome to find a cozy spot to sit or lie down with a pillow and blanket and receive gentle healing prayer from members of our Ruach Israel Tefillah team.
Following soaking prayer we hold a discussion on the book of Ruth that runs into the late night hours.
Tisha b’Av – On the 9th of Av, we fast and mourn the loss of our two temples. The furniture in our sanctuary is overturned and we sit on the floor to read Lamentations, as well as the accounts of Yeshua’s betrayal and death on this bitter day.
Minor Holy Days
Other observances include Tu Bishvat seders, Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) and Israel Independence Day.
Kids and Nursery
As always, we encourage you to bring the kids! They are always welcome to stay with parent and experience our services, or take advantage of our childcare and nursery programs.
Learn about our weekly readings on the next page…