There are quite a lot of religious holidays in the Jewish calendar, and if you add to them our national holidays, chances are that in a span of a few weeks you are likely to stumble into one holiday or another.
The Jewish holiday begins on the eve of the given date and ends on the evening of the next day, when things go back to normal.
The same rule applies to the Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest, which begins Friday at sundown and ends Saturday when the three stars are out.
Israel might be the only country in the world where the work week starts on Sunday and the weekend is Friday-Saturday. That means that everything is up and running on Sundays, while from Friday evening to Saturday evening, everything slows down but the party and bar scenes.
Many places of business, mainly in the center the city, are closed down during the Shabbat, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be hard pressed to find a bar (way more crowded on Friday evening than any other day), a café, a restaurant or a movie theater. If it’s Shabbat and you walk in desolate and unlit streets – you’re in Jerusalem.
Here is a list of the 2011-2012 holiday calendar, accompanied with explanations as to what the city is like during each holiday. Officially, Israel uses the Gregorian calendar, but all Jewish, national and Muslim holidays are celebrated according to a lunar calendar.