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Lorne E. Rozovsky (1943-2013) was a lawyer, author, educator, health management consultant, and an inquisitive Jew.

This article is based on the author’s article which originally appeared in The Jewish News, Richmond, Virginia.
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Joseph Geiser Pennsylvania, USA April 18, 2013

For Janice - Explanation It is a bit confusing, isn't it.

In the Bible, in Exodus 12 - starting in v.2, God commanded to Moses that "This month shall be the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you." This would be the month of Nissan - the month when Pesach is celebrated and is considered the "biblical" new year.

As for what is known as the "civil" calendar, where Rosh HaShanah is denoted as the New Year, that I cannot explain - but today, this is when the new year is celebrated.

Hope this helps a bit. Reply

Janice Israel January 1, 2013

Nissan is the first month? First of all, this is a fascinating article.

You explain that the Hebrew year begins on the first day of Tishrei, which is Rosh Hashana. but then you go on to say that the first month is actually Nissan Please explain. Reply

anonymous Leicester November 21, 2010

EERRRRRRRR maybe a bit simpler Reply

Itche Brooklyn August 23, 2010

Re: Bronwen Price See this link: Reply

bronwen price swansea, wales/UK August 20, 2010

jewish calendar this is just fascinating - I know this is a big question, but how does one then reconcile this belief with archeology and the "age of man". Is it, for example, possible to say the world is millions, or billions of years old, but human kind is less than 6000 years old. I'm not a doubter, and consider myself a "creationist", but often feel inadequate when faced with the so-called evidence from the scientists etc. Reply

Jeffrey August 19, 2010

Bronwen's question Yes. We even know that Creation day1 took place on a Saturday night/Sunday morning (day1 of a Jewish week, now equivalent to 25 Elul), yet year1 began on the following Friday (1 Tishrei): the day that Adam was created. Reply

bronwen price swansea, wales/uk August 17, 2010

jewish calendar thank you so much for enlightening me - I've often wondered about the jewish year as it appears in the pocket diaries one may purchase - so, does this mean that according to jewish traditional belief the world is only 5,770 years old ? Reply

Lorne Rozovsky Bloomfield, CT, USA January 13, 2010

month names Jews living exile in Babylon were bound to be influenced by the culture and language of the place, just as we are to-day. On return from exile, many of these influences had become part of Jewish life, including the linguistic influence on the names of the months.
My reading reveals the following Jewish names of the months with the Babylonian in brackets: Nisan (Naisannu), Iyar (Ajaru), Sivan (Simanu), Tammuz (Du'uzu), Av (Abu),Elul (Ululu), Tishri ((Tasritu), Ceshvan (Arahsamna), Kislev (Kislimu), Tevet (Tebetu), Shevat (Sabatu), Adar (Adar Bet in leap years) (Addaru). Reply

Jeffrey Sheffield, UK January 3, 2010

Month names The month names now used (Nisan, Iyar, etc.) are Babylonian. I know the Hebew-equivalent names of only three (Nisan=Aviv, Sivan=Asif, Tishre=Eisan) so:
a. why have we never reverted to the originals; and
b. what are the 'missing' nine anyway? Reply

Tamar Liani Brooklyn, NY September 9, 2009

not true,
not everyone uses the gregorian callendar.
there are parts of the world that still do not count gregorian. Reply

Lorne Rozovsky Bloomfield, CT, USA March 27, 2009

Soviet 5 day week and Shabbat I have not been able to find a published discussion of this issue, though some of our readers may know of one. My understanding and those of rabbinical and Judaic studies experts seems to be that, Jews who wished to observe Shabbat did so every seventh day regardless of the secular calendar. To do so however, they often were self-employed and earned their living by "piece work" which they worked on in their homes at their convenience. However, there would be many who were not in a position to do this. Quite apart from the experiments with changing the secular calendar, the enormous anti-religious political, social and cultural pressures over time eroded the observance of Shabbat by many people. Reply

Cindy MA/U.S.A. February 27, 2009

Saturday Sabbath From 1929-1931 the U.S.S.R. mandated a 5-day week rathern than a 7-day week. this means that the sabbath was not always on a Saturday -- so how did Jews keep the 7th day holy? they also went to a 6-day and 10-day week. Again, how did Jews adjust their sabbath observances? Reply

Mark Wagner San Antonio, Texas November 27, 2008

Calanders Thanks for the insight. Your article was concise and to the point. I have been enriched because of your effort. Reply

Lorne Rozovsky (author) Bloomfield, CT March 10, 2008

Leap Month The question of whether Adar I or Adar II is the "leap month", that is the month which is added, in a leap year, seems to be a disputed issue with contradictory opinions. Rabbi Eliezer Posner in his article on the subject, In a Jewish leap year, during which Adar do I observe Yahrtzeit?, states that different communities have different customs. While he was addressing the problem of when to observe Yahrzeit that fell during Adar, the article does outline this issue. Reply

Itche brooklyn, ny March 2, 2008

Leap Month I think the 1st Adar is usually considered the "Leap month" Reply

Lorne Rozovsky (author) February 18, 2008

To Nancy: Right on! Thanks for picking this and for contributing to the discussion. The article has been amended accordingly. Reply

nancy Princeton, NJ February 17, 2008

AD is properly used before the numerical year; e.g., AD 2008 -- In the Year of Our Lord, 2008. It's a common mistake to put it after the year. Reply

Lorne Rozovsky (author) December 12, 2007

Sabbath Long before the Gregorian calendar, the Christian Church at the Council of Laodicea in 364 CE attempted to distance itself from its Jewish roots. They did this by forbidding Christians from resting on the Sabbath (canon XXIX) and requiring them to work on that day which we know as Saturday. They designated the next day, Sunday, as The Lord's Day, when religious observances were to be held. When the Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1582, while the year numbers were changed, the number of weeks in the year, and the length of each month, the number of days in the week that is seven, remained the same. For this reason what Jews call "the sabbath" did not change, nor did the Christian "Lord's Day". It is interesting to note however, that a number of Christian denominations retained Saturday as their sabbath, most notably the Seventh Day Adventists. The Jewish practice of celebrating the sabbath on Saturday continued to be followed in various parts of the Christian world. As late as 1435 the Catholic Church suppressed the practice in 1435. In 1560 Francis Xavier called for an Inquisition to stamp out what he referred to as "Jewish wickedness" regarding the day of sabbath worship in Goa, India. Reply

Anonymous Ahoskie, NC December 12, 2007

Sabbath I was wondering, if we are using the Gregorian calendar in the US, is our sabbath the same as on the Jewish calendar. Reply

Tenaye Merid Arlington, VA via September 23, 2006

Calendar Very good article. Thank you. Reply

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