The Jewish calendar, also known as the Hebrew calendar, is used by people of the Jewish faith to set the dates of religious observances, holidays, Torah readings, Yahrzeiths (funerals), and birthdays.
This is the official calendar in Israel, along with the Gregorian calendar, where it is used for civil holidays and agricultural purposes.
The Jewish calendar is a lunisolar calendar (follows the phases of the moon and the time of the solar year), and has 12 months with 29 or 30 days each.
In 2021, we are in the year 5781 of the Jewish calendar (September 19, 2020 – September 6, 2021), and in September the calendar enters the year5782 strong> (September 6, 2021 – May 19, 2022).
the origins of the Jewish calendar
the jewish calendar counts the time from the year 3761 a.c., date of the creation of the world and the universe, according to the bible.
The exact origins of the Jewish calendar are difficult to trace, although it is believed to have been inspired by the Babylonian system.
It is known that since the 1st century B.C. until 70 BC the calendar months were determined by observation. after two reliable witnesses notified the council, the Sanhedrin, that they had observed the first ray of the new moon, the Sanhedrin would then proclaim the beginning of the new month.
in 359 ce, hillel ii, a palestinian patriarch, officially established what we now know as the jewish calendar, based on astronomical calculations. this standardized the length of the months and established the rule for the 19-year cycle of the leap year.
years in the Jewish calendar
The Jewish calendar counts time based on three astronomical events:
the rotation of the earth on itself (one day);
- the orbit of the moon around the earth (one month);
- the orbit of the earth around the sun (one year);
- the first commandment god gave moses before the exodus from egypt concerned the jewish calendar. this commandment established that nissan should be the first month of the Jewish year, and set in motion the creation of the calendar.
- the jewish new year, rosh hashanah, is celebrated during september, the first day of tishrei.
- Each week of the year in the Jewish calendar has its own unique name.
- the Gregorian calendar
- the Islamic calendar
Although there is no correlation between these three events, the Jewish calendar coordinates its dates according to these astronomical phenomena. then, the months have 29 or 30 days, according to the lunar cycle that has 29.5 days. years in the Jewish calendar are 12 or 13 months, to correspond with the solar cycle of 12.4 months.
Because of this, a year in the Jewish calendar is 11 days shorter than a solar year. to keep in sync with the astronomical seasons, every 2 or 3 years, or 7 times in every 19-year cycle, a leap month is added, making that year 13 months. this also ensures that Jewish religious practices happen at the right time.
months in the Jewish calendar
The months of the Jewish calendar are based on the phases of the moon. each month begins during the waxing moon when the first strip of moon is visible after the dark new moon.
here are the months in the Jewish calendar with their corresponding months in the Gregorian calendar:
days of the week in the Jewish calendar
Apart from Shabbat, the different days of the week in the Jewish calendar are known as the first day, second day, third day, etc.
shabbat is a holy day in the Jewish faith, and is the day of rest for Jews.
facts about the Jewish calendar
learn more about other world calendars: