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I know something about most Jewish holidays. I can tell you that Hanukkah is about miracles, Passover is about slavery and freedom, and Shavuot is about cheesecake. (I have no idea why, but when it comes to matters of cheesecake, it is not mine to question.)

The one holiday that has baffled me for years is Shemini Atzeret. I can’t remember the first time I became aware of it, and to be honest, I didn’t care much about it until last year when my older daughter started attending Jewish day school. I understood why we needed two days off for Rosh Hashanah and why we needed to get out of school early on the day before Yom Kippur. I was even willing to accept the two days off at the beginning and the end of Sukkot and Passover. But Shemini Atzeret? What exactly is this holiday, and why does it merit yet another day off school, another day in which I have to scramble for childcare in hopes of getting a little work done while feeling guilty for not spending the day with my girls?

You can read the rest of this post over at Kveller.com.