What Are the High Holy Days?

If the year is a train, the High Holidays (AKA High Holy Days) are its engine. A delicate blend of joy and solemnity, feasting and fasting, prayer and inspiration make up the spiritually charged head of the Jewish year.

The High Holiday season begins during the month of Elul, when the shofar is sounded every weekday morning, a clarion call to return to G‑d in advance of the sacred days that lay ahead.

The two-day holiday of Rosh Hashanah is the head of the Jewish year, the time when G‑d reinvests Himself in creation as we crown Him king of the universe through prayer, shofar blasts, and celebration.

Rosh Hashanah 2018 begins before sundown on Sunday, Sept. 9, and ends after nightfall on Tuesday, September 11. Full Rosh Hashanah Calendar

A week later, the High Holidays reach their crescendo with Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). Like angels, we neither eat nor drink for 25 hours. Dressed in white, we pray in the synagogue—united as one people, children of One Father.

Yom Kippur 2018 begins before sundown on Tuesday, Sept. 18, and ends after nightfall on Wednesday, September 19. Full Yom Kippur Schedule

But it does not end there. The otherworldliness of the High Holidays is then channeled into the festive holidays of Sukkot and Simchat Torah, which bring the annual fall holiday season to a most joyous conclusion.