Jewish Celebrations!

From the Passover Seder table to the Ten Commandments, from the blasts of the Shofar to the joy of Sukkot, from the lights of Hanukkah to the chanting of the Megillah, holiday celebrations are times rich with community, learning and traditions. They create a rich tapestry each year, and connect us to each other, our common past and our shared future.

Each section below describes how that time of the Jewish calendar is celebrated at AAC and in the WIchita Jewish Community. Below each section is a link to the website My Jewish Learning, an outstanding pluralist website for learning more about Jewish living. 

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High Holidays

A Time of Renewal

AAC celebrates Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur all at the WJCC. Lead by Rabbi Pepperstone and Cantor Pepperstone, our High Holiday services provide times of reflection, renewal and celebration. Contact the AAC office for more information about attending our High Holiday services.


A Time of Joy

Cantor Pepperstone will be leading all of AAC's services for the first two days of Sukkot, and Shabbat during Sukkot.

We have at least one communal meal in the Sukkah, as well as making the WJCC Sukkah available for people to come and enjoy a meal throughout all of Sukkot. 

Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah

A Time of Endings

Cantor Pepperstone will lead services for Shemini Atzeret, which include Geshem, the prayer for rain at the beginning of Musaf, as well as the Yizkor services. For Simchat Torah, we will take our our Torah scrolls, and sing and dance with them, as we conclude reading the Torah and begin again with Breisheet. 

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A Time of Miracles

Join AAC for Shabbat and Sunday morning services during Hanukkah. Each year, we also have one or more communal Hanukkah celebrations. The details for upcoming Hanukkah celebrations this year will be announced in the Shofar bulletin and our weekly Hebrew Happenings emails.

Tu Bishvat

A Time of Growth

We mark the end of Winter and beginning of Spring with a Tu Bishvat seder, celebrating the cycles of creation, our connection to and stewardship of the earthIn 2021, AAC and CE held a joint Tu Bishvat Seder. Look at our weekly email and newsletter for details on this year's celebration. 


A Time of Courage

On Purim, we chant the full Megillah (Scroll of Esther), celebrate with a Purim party, and participate in the community Purim Carnival. We also provide opportunities for Mishlaoch Manot (Sending gifts of food to others) and Matanot La'evyonim (gifts to the less fortunate). 

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A Time of Freedom

Cantor Pepperstone leads AAC's  services for the first, second, seventh and eighth day of Passover, as well as Shabbat during Passover. We hold a communal seder each year, usually on the First Night (but sometimes on the Second Night). We also can help you sell your chametz before Passover, and help with locating kosher food for Passover.

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Counting the Omer

A Time of Anticipation

Between Passover and Shavuot, we count 49 days. We count each day when we meet during this time, and Rabbi Pepperstone also creates a daily reflection, which comes by email to encourage everyone to mark this time from Passover to Shavuot, the time of Receiving the Torah.


A Time of Receiving

For Shavuot, we begin the festival with a Tikkun Leil Shavuot, an evening of learning 

from our sacred texts. Cantor Pepperstone leads AAC's  services for both days of Shavuot, which includes the chanting of Akdamut and reading the Ten Commandments on the first day, and the chanting of Ruth and the Yizkor service on the second day.

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Yom HaShoah

A Time of Mourning

Yom HaShoah uGevurah is the Jewish day to remembering those who died during the Holocaust, which is Shoah (catastrophe) in Hebrew. This day also recall those who fought and resisted during World War II, whether it was taking up arms against the Nazis, helping to save lives at the risk of their own, or even just celebrating the Jewish holidays, supporting each other or telling jokes during one of the darkest periods in our history. The Wichita Jewish Community marks this day on the calendar with a communal commemoration, often with the lighting of candles, prayers and poems, and a guest speaker.

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Yom Hazikaron

A Time of Remembering

Yom Hazikaron is the Israeli Day of Remembrance for those who fought in Israel's wars since 1948, and for all victims of terror as well. In Israel, this day is marked with national and local ceremonies at all of Israel's military cemeteries, including Mount Hertzel in Jerusalem, Israel's national cemetery. In the Wichita Jewish Community, we often note this day as a prelude to Yom Ha'atzmaut, which comes right after Yom Hazikaron.

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Yom Ha'atzmaut

A Time of Celebration

Yom Ha'atzmaut is the Israeli Independence Day celebration, which commemorates the declaration of the founding of the State of Israel in May of 1948. In Israel, the day is marked with nationwide celebrations and festivities. The Wichita Jewish Community marks this occasion together as an entire community in different way each year.


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Yom Yerushalayim

A Time of Reunification

Yom Yerushalayim marks the day on the Jewish calendar when the Six Day War ended and all of the Jerusalem was under Israeli auspices. In Israel, the flag of Jerusalem is displayed all over, and there are festivities and special events in Jerusalem. AAC plans to mark this date in 2022 with a special service, based on the emerging liturgy in Israel.

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Tisha B'Av

A Time of Grief

The Jewish calendar includes a series of fast days commemorating the events that lead to the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. The 10th of Tevet (right after Hanukkah) marks the beginning of the Babylonian siege on Jerusalem. The 17th of Tammuz (in early summer) marks the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem. The 9th of Av (mid-summer)  marks the day of Jerusalem and the Temple's destruction, and is the only full day fast in this set of days. Tzom Gedaliah, the Fast of Gedaliah (observed on the day after Rosh Hashanah) marks the assignation of the Judean governor by Jewish zealots. We mark these fast days abstaining from eating and drinking, and special Fast Day services. Tisha B'Av includes the chanting of Eichah/Lamentations and Kinot/Song of Lament.  

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Chodesh Elul

A Time of Turning

Beginning right after Tisha B'Av in the summer, there is a slow turn towards the High Holidays, which picks up in earnest during the month of Elul. During this month, leading up to Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, there is a focus on reflecting on the past year, and a (re)turning back towards God. Each morning the shofar is blown to wake us up to this process, helping us get ready for the New Year.


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