Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Date of Yom Teruah and Other Feasts

Karaite Korner Newsletter #561

Date of Yom Teruah and Other Feasts

The Seventh Hebrew Month will begin next week with the feast of Yom Teruah, also known as the "Day of Shouting/ Trumpets." the exact timing of Yom Teruah will depend on the visibility of the new moon in the Land of Israel. Most years it is easy to predict this visibility using modern astronomical methods. This year these modern calculations are inconclusive and there is no way to know when the moon will be visible without going out and attempting to sight it. The question is whether the moon will be visible or not on Monday night September 17. If the moon is not sighted on Monday night, it will push all of the biblical feasts forward one day and Yom Teruah will not begin until sunset on Tuesday night September 18. This will also affect the timing of Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Shemini Atzeret. 

Because of the importance of this sighting, I will be traveling back to Israel with Keith Johnson in order to try to sight the moon. Keith and I will be traveling to southern Israel to a location that has very good weather in order to improve the likelihood of sighting the moon. I undertook a similar journey for the New Moon of Aviv on April 4, 2011. That night dozens of observers all over Israel failed to sight the moon due to clouds and it was only visible from southern Israel by another observer and me. 

In the past year, this observation point in southern Israel has been the target of a number of terrorist attacks by cross-border raids from Egypt. I've been in communication with the Israeli military liaison who said that sighting the moon from this spot is "very dangerous." She warned me that "our enemies loves to attack us on the feast days" and refused to guarantee our safety. Despite the significant danger, Keith & I will attempt to get to the spot and sight the moon. 

We have stepped out on faith, purchasing tickets to Israel with our own money. If the Biblical feasts and the new moon are important to you, please help support this effort by making a donation at:
http://www.nehemiaswall.com/new-moon-mission-to-israel

To learn more about Yom Teruah, please see:
http://karaite-korner.org/yom_teruah.shtml

Nehemia Gordon
The Wandering Jew in Central Florida

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