The Jewish High Holy Days begin with Rosh Hashanah and continue until Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur, the “Day of Atonement,” or more correctly (Leviticus 16), goes back to Jewish antiquity almost 4,000 years to the time of Moses. This most solemn occasion of the Jewish Festival cycle was the season for annual cleansing from sin, but in time its significance was deepened so that it acquired personal meaning and filled a personal need. It is observed on the 10th day of Tishri, the seventh month, and is the climax of the whole penitential season.

Yom Kippur in Biblical Times

Originally, on one day…

On 9/11, twenty years ago, more Americans were killed on American soil in one day than any attack since Pearl Harbor in 1941. A series of terrorist airplane highjacking attacks occurred in New York City, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon… and the world changed. As the events of December 7, 1941, led to war, so too did the events of September 11, 2001.

Star Trek premiered on NBC TV on September 8, 1966… 55 years ago. It is my favorite show; I was glued to the TV for the first episode and every one after that. It had a significant influence on my life in my choice of a career in technology.

The show represented an optimistic vision of the future where challenges of poverty and hunger had been addressed. But many other issues — relevant to the ’60s — were depicted as still being wrestled with centuries into the future. showed a utopian view of science fiction that is…


Rosh Hashanah designates the beginning of the Jewish new year, starting tomorrow — which according to the Jewish calendar begins at sundown tonight. “Rosh” is Hebrew for “head” and Rosh Hashanah refers to the on the 1st day of , the seventh month of the Jewish ecclesiastical calendar. It marks the beginning of the civil year. Judaism has a solar/lunar calendar system, in which the lunar reckoning predominates. The first in the cycle of months is (which has nothing to do with the automobile manufacturer), the month in which Passover occurs. …

On this date, September 4, 476 AD, Odoacer captured the city of Ravenna and deposed Emperor Romulus Augustus, marking the . What do we mean by the Fall of the Roman Empire?

What do we mean by Roman Empire?

This part of the statement needs clarification first. When we say Roman Empire, we’re really only talking about the “Western Roman Empire.”

There was another Roman Empire?

Correct. Kind of.

Labor Day is the day we celebrate the process our mothers went through to deliver us at birth. Sorry, wrong holiday; Labor Day in the U.S. is the day we celebrate the achievements of the American labor movement.

While it is still disputed whether the holiday was first proposed by Peter J. McGuire, the general secretary of the , or Matthew Maguire, a machinist and secretary of the in New York — observances of the holiday go back over a century in the U.S.

First Celebration of Labor Day

You may have noticed that September sounds like the Latin word for . And you’d be perceptive — is the Latin word for seven, and this month used to be the seventh month of the ancient Roman calendar. This Latin numbering follows with the year’s remaining months, as I’ve highlighted below: eight/oct, nine/nov, ten/dec.

A Little Calendar History

Legend has it that this calendar was started by Romulus, the founder and first king of Rome, at around 753 BC. The months counted up as follows:

  1. Martius — 31 Days
  2. Aprilis — 30 Days
  3. Maius — 31 Days
  4. Iunius — 30 Days
  5. ilis —…

It was 58 years ago today that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. It continues to echo down the halls of history almost six decades later.

On August 28, 1963, the occasion for his speech was the March on Washington at the height of the movement. Over a quarter of a million supporters gathered at the Mall in Washington D.C., where King delivered his public speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, looking over the Reflecting Pool.

President John F. Kennedy had proposed earlier that year in June new civil…

Over a hundred years ago, on August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted. This prohibited both the Federal government and State governments from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States based on sex. Effectively, this meant that the right to vote could no longer be denied to women. The text, in part, read:

On August 19, 1848, the New York Herald reported the news along the American East Coast of the California Gold Rush. It was not news to those further West, as the gold rush had started in January and was publicized in San Francisco in March. However, the New York Herald was then the most profitable and popular newspaper in the US. By the dawn of the American Civil War, the newspaper claimed a circulation of 84,000 copies and called itself “the most largely circulated journal in the world.” …

Bill Petro

Writer and technologist. Author of fascinating articles about history, tech trends, and pop culture. @billpetro

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