Our summer solstice arrives this Sunday, June 21, 2015 at 12:38 p.m. bringing us to a place in space where the entire Northern Hemisphere has its longest day and shortest night along with the highest sun seen in the sky.
The term solstice is derived from the Latin words sol-sun and sistere to stand still, because the sun’s relative position in the sky at noon does not appear to change much during the solstice and its surrounding days.
To many cultures, Solstice represents a turning of the year. The people of Alesund, Norway, set a world record for the tallest, celebratory bonfire. Thousands of people gather at Stonehenge, England to celebrate an ancient druid solstice celebration as the sun lines up with the stones. In Alaska, the Goldpanners of Fairbanks celebrate their status as the most northerly baseball team on the planet with the Midnight Sun Game starting at 10:30 and stretching well into the following morning, without the need of artificial light.
Judaism does have festivals for three of the four major sun-earth events of the year: Chanukah near the winter solstice, Pesach around the vernal equinox, and Rosh Hashanah around the autumnal equinox but not for the summer solstice fearing the idolatry of sun worship. Enter this new age of Judaism with Tel Shemesh, attempting to integrate Jewish faith and practice with earth-based beliefs and ways of living, by offering: Havdalah for the Summer Solstice.