Barbados Jewish Community

President’s Message – October 22

Word of the week:

Dear all,

I love the Jewish calendar. It is always a surprise to see in what month a Holiday will fall each year, that is, if you follow the Gregorian calendar. This year the first night of Chanukah falls on Sunday, November 28th. Scott and I will be in the USA with all our grandchildren and children celebrating Thanksgiving so fortunately for us, it will be an extra special Chanukah.  But let’s look at the Lunar calendar and answer a few often-asked questions.

When did the Jewish calendar first start?
“According to the biblical Book of Exodus, it’s precisely when the Israelite slaves are about to go free that we see the first appearance of the Jewish calendar – as a map for their journey into freedom, because free people have control over their own time. It says: “This month of Aviv (literally, “springtime,” later renamed Nisan) will be the first month of the year [because it marks your exodus from Egypt].”

How does the Lunar calendar work?
“In contrast to the solar (Gregorian) calendar, the Jewish calendar follows the moon: a new moon signals a new month, and 29.5 days later, the next new moon – and its month – comes. (To make things “round” in the Jewish calendar, some months have 29 days and others 30 days.) If you do the math, a 12-month lunar year lasts 354 days – 11 days short of a solar year. So if you only follow the moon, your holidays fall 11 days earlier each solar year, and before you know it, the springtime holiday of Passover shows up in winter and the winter holiday of Hanukkah has crept into summer”.

What is a leap year in the Jewish calendar?
“Every two or three years (to be precise, 7 times every 19 years), the twelfth month of the Jewish year – Adar – is simply repeated. A leap year in Hebrew is called a shana me’uberet – a “pregnant year.” The holiday of Purim (Festival of Esther’s Bravery) falls in Adar. In a leap year – when Adar I is followed by (déjà vu!) Adar II – Purim falls in Adar II”.

BJC LECTURE SERIES: Our lecture series continues Sunday November 07th at 11am (Barbados time) 10AM (EST).

Bernd Lewkowitz- October 26
Ellen Steinbok- October 29

(If I have missed anyone’s Yahrzeit please email me at

This Friday night services will be on ZOOM at 6:30pm.  Please click this link to join us.  If you need the pass code for any reason, please email

Please click this link for a copy of our Sim Shalom siddur.

Shabbat Shalom!

Sharon Oran
President, Barbados Jewish Community