Jewish Holidays: A Brief Introduction for Christians

A book from Jewish Lights, SkyLight Paths’ sister imprint

Holy days and holidays speak deeply to the Jewish soul and animate Judaism_s culture. This easy-to-use guide explains the origins and customs of the major Jewish holidays and shows what they can mean to Christians seeking to understand their own faith.

Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky and Rabbi Daniel Judson

5½ x 8½, 176 pp | 978-1-58023-302-6

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A window into Judaism’s sacred days—throughout history and today.
Written especially for Christians.

Holy days and holidays provide the peak experiences of Jewish life. These moments speak deeply to the Jewish soul and animate Judaism’s culture. They encourage Jews to participate in their shared historical experience, which reflects their covenantal relationship with God, and articulate Jewish values that have allowed for the survival of the Jewish people. But what can they mean to Christians seeking to understand their own faith?

In this special book, Rabbis Olitzky and Judson guide you through the major Jewish holidays and what they mean for the Jewish people. Each chapter explores a different holiday and explains the origin, historical background, customs and rituals that are part of observance and the holiday’s Christian parallels. Examining observance in both home and synagogue—and in all Jewish denominations—this easy-to-use guide to the Jewish holidays will be a valuable resource for your own understanding of Jewish sacred time throughout the year. And by linking the Jewish holidays to familiar Christian holidays and practices, you will be better able to appreciate the roots of Christianity and how the fundamentals of Judaism relate to and reflect your own spiritual foundation.

  • Rosh Hashanah–New Year
  • Yom Kippur–Day of Atonement
  • Sukkot–Feast of Booths (Fall Harvest Festival)
  • Simchat Torah–Rejoicing in the Torah
  • Hanukkah–Rededication
  • Purim–(Festival of Survival)
  • Pesach–Passover
  • Shavuot–(Receiving the Torah)
  • Tisha B’Av (Mourning and Commemoration) and Other Special Days
  • Shabbat (Day of Rest)

“A helpful guide ... will be especially useful for interfaith families.”  

Publishers Weekly

“Clear and concise. Offers Christian readers insight into the wisdom and beauty of Judaism.”  

Mary C. Boys, coauthor, Christians and Jews in Dialogue: Learning in the Presence of the Other

“Marvelous…. Displays sensitivity to Christian readers. Regardless of Christian denomination, this is a book that speaks to the heart and the soul of the believer.”

Rt. Rev. Kirk Steven Smith, PhD, bishop, Episcopal diocese of Arizona

“Indispensable for anyone who wants to be at home in the Jewish world…. This treasure house could serve, by itself, as an introduction to Judaism.”

Rabbi Neil Gillman, author, The Jewish Approach to God: A Brief Introduction for Christians

“Does Christians and Christian-Jewish dialogue a great service. With straightforward explanations, invites the reader to ‘walk the walk’ with Judaism and find in such a pilgrimage a deeper insight into one’s own beliefs. A valuable resource to promote intelligent dialogue between Christians and Jews.”

David L. Coppola, PhD, associate executive director, Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding, Sacred Heart University

“Demystifies Jewish holidays without dumbing-down; paints richly satisfying pictures and invites the reader into home, hearth and temple with warmth and respect. Will make Christian devotees with Jewish friends and partners feel more confident in participating in religious celebrations together, eager to delve more deeply into their own religious heritage and grateful for the roots of our common history and spirituality.”

Rev. Molly Phinney Baskette, MDiv, coauthor, Remembering My Grandparent: A Kid’s Own Grief Workbook in the Christian Tradition




Also available in
Judaism for Christians