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We’ve fixed a timezone issue for Arizona that was affecting Apple iCal, Google Calendar, and other iCalendar users. Hebcal.com now uses the “America/Phoenix” timezone instead of “US/Mountain” for all candle-lighting and havdalah times in the state of Arizona. Our apologies if you were getting times that were fine on the hebcal.com website but one hour off when you exported. Try again and let us know if you’re still seeing the problem.
Shana Tova u’Metukah.

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By popular demand, we are pleased to announce a Hebrew-only calendar. Previously users had to see both Hebrew and transliterations, but we’ve added more flexibility in how the results get displayed.

On the Hebcal Custom Calendar page, there is a new Event titles user interface section which offers the “Hebrew only” option. There are actually 5 options:

  • Sephardic transliterations
  • Sephardic translit. + Hebrew
  • Ashkenazis transliterations
  • Ashkenazis translit. + Hebrew
  • Hebrew only

These options are available both for display on the page and download to iCal, Google Calendar, etc.

Here’s an example of what a Hebrew-only calendar looks like:

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The haftarah for Parashat Vayishlach is now listed as Obadiah 1:1 – 1:21. It was previously listed as Hosea 11:7 – 12:12 for Ashkenazim and Obadiah 1:1 – 1:21 for Sephardim.

According to scholar Aryeh Cohen,

Further research indicates that while Ovadyah has been normalized as the reading for Ashkenazi communities, this wasn’t the case even some decades ago. The Hertz Chumash has Hosea and sources from the 19th century have Hosea as an alternative but the overwhelming predilection today seems to be for Ovadyah.

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The Israeli government changed the dates of Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut a couple of years ago. They added a new rule to prevent Yom HaZikaron from beginning on motzei Shabbat. In 2007, these holidays begin at sundown on 22 and 23 April, respectively (the 5th and 6th of Iyyar).

See Memorial Day and Independence Day Bill (amendment) 2004 for an English translation of the law that the Knesset passed.

The Wikipedia article on Yom Ha’atzmaut explains the recent change, and their dates agree with ours. Here the relevant excerpt:

Yom Ha’atzmaut falls on the 5th day of Iyar on the Hebrew calendar, the anniversary of the day in which Israel independence was proclaimed, when David ben Gurion publicly read the Proclamation of the establishment of the State of Israel. The corresponding Gregorian date was May 14, 1948.
The festival is celebrated on the Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday closest to that date. This is to avoid having the festival either on Shabbat, the Jewish sabbath, or immediately before or after it. If Iyar 5 falls on Saturday, the festival is advanced to Thursday, Iyar 3, and if on Friday, then it is advanced to Thursday, Iyar 4. In 2004, the law was changed to provide that if Iyar 5 falls on Monday, the festival is postponed to Tuesday Iyar 6, so that Yom Hazikaron will not be immediately after the sabbath. (The rules of the Hebrew calendar are such that Iyar 5 does not fall on Sunday.)

If you’re using hebcal for UNIX, be sure to upgrade to version 3.7 to see the updated rules for these two holidays.

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Hebcal.com is now running hebcal 3.5, which uses the new rules for Daylight Saving Time starting in the Spring of 2007. In particular:

Clocks will be set ahead one hour on the second Sunday of March instead of the current first Sunday of April. Clocks will be set back one hour on the first Sunday in November, rather than the last Sunday of October.