Holidays and Festivals
Celebrations Through the Year
The Jewish calendar has a festival or holiday for every season. Please join us as we celebrate with prayer, song, dancing, and food–and whatever else is called for by a particular day.
We rely on volunteer and financial support from all to ensure the strength of our synagogue community. We hope that even as you join us, you will support us either financially or by volunteering (or both!) so that we can continue to celebrate Judaism in Southern Maine.
Our family-friendly Hanukkah celebration will be held this year on Friday, December 27. Bring your own menorah and candles and join us to celebrate the miracle of God’s light. “Light Up the Night” also features potato latkes–of course!
We also have a holiday sale in our gift shop. This year, it is Sunday, December 8, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. We will have holiday supplies, sale items, candles of all kinds, jewelry, decorations.
What is a drag queen story hour, you might be asking, and what’s Jewish about it?
Drag Queen Story Hour was created by Michelle Tea and RADAR Productions in San Francisco; it teaches children to celebrate the message of inclusion and self-acceptance. Being proud of who you are isn’t just relegated to the summer days of Pride in June, but should be a part of every day of the year. (Not to mention that the sun sets much earlier in January, allowing this event to be more accessible for more families!)
Havdalah means “separation,” but it also means “distinction.” It is a traditional way to distinguish between Shabbat and the rest of the week, and our Sparkle Havdalah and Drag Queen Story Hour will also celebrate what is unique or distinct about each of us. We begin Shabbat with two candles, two separate wicks. We end Shabbat, at Havdalah, with a braided candle, all of the wicks, and all of our different lights, intertwined.
The first Sparkle Havdalah and Drag Queen Story Hour was created by the Lander-Grinspoon Academy in Northampton, Massachusetts. Sure, there are big LGBTQIA communities in larger metropolitan areas, but kids everywhere need to know that there’s something unique about each of us that makes us a valuable part of the world not just one day, not just one week, but every single day all year long.
Martin Buber teaches, as it appears in the Reform prayer book, Mishkan T’filah, “My God, I thank You for my life, body, and soul; for my name, my gender, my way of thinking and speaking. Help me realize that I am something new, someone who never existed before, someone original and unique in the world. For if there had ever been someone like me, there would have been no need for me to exist.”
We celebrate Tu BiSh’vat, literally “the New Year of the Trees,” with a family seder, potluck dinner, and service. It is still winter in Maine, but all the more reason to anticipate the fruits from our friends the trees.
Our lively and exciting Purim spiel, carnival, and Megillah reading is fun for all ages. Get dressed up in costume, say “booooo!” to Haman, and enjoy fun games. March 8, 2020, 10:00 a.m. This year, our Aladdin-influenced shpiel is “The Magic Lamp…that didn’t contain oil that lasted for eight days…”
We are also proud of our fun Purim for Grown-ups party. We decorate the sanctuary, enjoy festive cocktails and mocktails, read the Megillah, and have a dessert contest. Bring your best Hamentashen for the win. March 9, 2020, at 7:30 p.m.
Our Second Night Passover Seder is one of the biggest events of the year. We load tables up with games and Haggadot, and Rabbi Saks leads a service rich with familiar traditions, new ideas, and song. We provide a simple catered dinner and make the event affordable for everyone.
Our Second Night Passover Seder will not be held in 2020 because of COVID-19.
Shavuot carries a double meaning: it marks the all-important wheat harvest in Israel and it commemorates the day we received Torah from God at Mt. Sinai.
We also celebrate Confirmation, our 10th graders’ opportunity to affirm their commitment to Judaism and the Jewish community.