Here's a guide to scheduling around
the Jewish holy days that I thought you might find useful. I didn't write it, only edited it slightly
and updated it each year, but I vouch for its accuracy.
I. MOST JEWS PARTICIPATE. Please do not schedule meetings around these
ROSH HASHANAH (Jewish New Year) begins at sunset Monday, September 6, 2021 and continues through Wednesday, September 8.
YOM KIPPUR (Day of Repentance) begins at sunset on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 and continues through Thursday, September 16. While Yom Kippur is a fasting day, meals are prepared in advance for the breaking of the fast at the end of 27 hours.
Typically, even some of the least religiously observant members of the Jewish community do not work on Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashanah. Please keep in mind that even though the holy day may begin at sunset, these are home ritual centered holy days, so a great deal of advance preparation is required. In other words, please don't schedule a meeting for the afternoon preceding the holiday because I will be cooking!
PASSOVER (Celebration of Freedom from Slavery in Egypt) begins at sunset
on Friday, April 15, 2022; continues through nightfall on Saturday, April 23. THE FIRST TWO DAYS (through Sunday evening, April 17, 2022) require refraining from work. LOTS of cooking and preparation before this holy day.
Category II. Many observant Jews refrain from work. I count myself as observant.
SUKKOT (Festival of Booths, or Tabernacles) begins at sunset Monday, September 20, 2021 and lasts through Monday, September 27. THE FIRST TWO DAYS (through Wednesday, September 22, 2021) traditionally require abstaining from work.
SHMINI ATZERET (Eighth Day Assembly, ending Sukkot) begins at sunset on Monday, September 27, 2021 and lasts through Tuesday, September 28.
SIMCHAT TORAH (Rejoicing with the Torah) begins at sunset on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 and lasts through Wednesday, September 29.
The LAST TWO DAYS of PASSOVER begin at sunset Thursday, April 21, 2022 and last through Saturday, April 23.
SHAVUOT (Festival of Weeks, or Pentecost to our Christian friends) begins at sunset on Saturday, June 4, 2022 and continues through Monday, June 6
TISHA B’AV (fast day marking the destruction of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem) begins at sunset on Saturday night, August 6, 2022 and continues through Sunday, August 7.
Category III. Observance doesn't require refraining from work.
HANUKKAH (Festival of Lights) begins at sunset on Sunday, November 28, 2021 and
continues through nightfall Monday, December 6. Every night, candles on the
Hanukkiah (eight-armed candelabra, sometimes called "menorah") are lit.
PURIM - Begins at sunset on Wednesday, March 16, 2022; continues through Thursday, March 17.
And a few other seasonal and historical holy days that I won't mention, because enough already! If you want to know more about the meaning of these holidays, you might consult www.jewfaq.org or the book Seasons of Our Joy, by Arthur Waskow.
[Dennis] A final note which I thought worth adding from my own experience: Even if someone (who might be Jewish) tells you "It's no big deal" to schedule meetings and
conferences on these days, doesn't mean that that's true for all Jews. People maintain different levels of observance, and a more secular Jew may work on a day when I would not.
When in doubt,
please ask! I can't speak for other Jewish consultants, staff, board
members, and interns, but I know I always prefer to be asked.