Prayer Needs to Pierce Barriers

When we pray to God, we must envision our prayers as being potent enough to breach a wall.

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A Constitutional Congregation

What does the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania have to do with the oldest synagogue in that state? Congregation Mikveh Israel (Originally Kaal Kadosh Mickve Israel) was founded in the 1740s…

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Shabbat Prayers

Learn AboutShabbat Prayers Table of Contents Morning Blessings (Birkhot Hashachar) Verses of Praise (Pesukei Dezimrah)…

Presidentially Approved

As the only territory completely under the control of the Federal Government, it is not surprising that Washington, D.C. is home to the only synagogue whose existence was enacted by an…

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Vayeilech 5761-2001

"Appreciating One's Own Inner Worth" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week's parasha, parashat Vayeilech , is almost always read together with the preceding parasha, Nitzavim. They are…

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Bo 5766-2006

"Transformations" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this coming week's parasha, parashat Bo, we are informed that after the plagues of locusts and darkness strike the Egyptians, the first…

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Tetzaveh 5775-2015

“The High Priest Wears the Names of Israel on His Heart” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week’s parasha, parashat Tetzaveh, contains a number of varied themes, including the oil of…

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Jews in Early Minnesota

It is often surprising to realize just how recent it was that the majority of the United States was wild, unsettled territory. Minnesota, which became the 32nd state on May 11, 1858, was…

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America’s First Synagogue

In 1656, Shearith Israel, the first synagogue was established in the territory that came to be known as the United States. The synagogue, also known as the Spanish and Portuguese…

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December 2001

Table of Contents A Glimmer of Light Read Hebrew America/Canada NJOP Volunteers Boston University Hillel Augusta, GA Governor Pataki Salutes NJOP Sam Domb’s Dedication The…

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Vayikra 5775-2015

“The Primacy of Independent Thinking” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week’s parasha, parashat Vayikra, contains many laws and directives regarding the various sacrifices and ritual…

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Chukat 5773-2013

"Striking the Stone: the Parameters of Anger" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald Among the many topics in this week’s parasha is the report of Miriam’s death and the subsequent lack of water.…

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Can You Be The Tenth?

That the Hebrew word "minyan" derives from the infinitive "lim'not," to count or number, is not at all surprising. A minyan is a quorum of 10, the smallest number necessary to create a…

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The Buttonwood Jews

On the 17th of May, 1792, 24 businessmen met under a buttonwood (sycamore) tree and made an agreement to deal only with one another and to set a .25% commission rate on all…

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The Charleston Synagogue(s)

Charleston, South Carolina is home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in the United States. The 1669 charter for the Carolina Colony explicitly included liberty of conscious for…

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In West Virginia

West Virginia, which became a state on this day in 1863 after breaking away from the more southernly aligned State of Virginia, is not generally thought of as a state with a wealth of…

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Evacuation Day

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln called upon the American people to celebrate a day of Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November. In New York, however, there was already a holiday…

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Can You Be The Tenth?

That the Hebrew word “minyan” derives from the infinitive “lim’not,” to count or number, is not at all surprising. A minyan is a quorum of 10, the smallest number necessary to…

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Montana’s Jewish History

Montana is not a state known for its large Jewish community, and yet the early Jewish settlers made a distinct mark on the cities in which they lived. The first Jewish community developed…

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Re’eh 5761-2001

"Charity! The Investment with the Greatest Return" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This coming week's parasha, Parashat Re'eh, is a truly edifying portion, and is filled with many…

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Re’eh 5779-2019

“Charity! The Investment That Keeps Giving” (Revised and updated from Re’eh 5760-2001) by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week’s parasha, parashat Re’eh, is a truly edifying Torah portion,…

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Tazria-Metzorah 5767-2007

"The Conundrum of Childbirth" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald Again, because of the calendrical nuances, this week's parashiot, Tazriah-Metzorah, are combined. While both parashiot deal…

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Shemini Atzeret / Simchat Torah

- Shemini Atzeret / Simchat TorahThe Gathering of the 8th Shemini Atzeret, literally the Gathering of the…

Ordaining with Both Hands

Semicha, which connotes rabbinic ordination, as understood today, consists of passing proficiency exams and receiving permission from one’s teachers to rule on questions of Jewish law.…

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The Thanksgiving Synagogue Service

While Thanksgiving is most certainly an American festival of gratitude, its founders prominently articulated its religious underpinnings, which ultimately find their source in Judaism.…

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The New Month is Coming

In many synagogues around the world, the monthly calendar contains a special notation marking the last Shabbat of the Hebrew month as Shabbat Mevarchim (The Shabbat When They Bless). It…

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Lancaster Jews

Many people do not realize that Lancaster, Pennsylvania, home to the famous Amish community, was one of the few active Jewish communities during the colonial era and has the fourth oldest…

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From Deadwood to Rapid City

Images of the Wild West are filled with swinging saloon doors, dusty main streets, and small, fenced-in cemeteries. One would not then expect to find a place called Hebrew Hill in…

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Sand, Sun and Jewish History

Ninety-nine years ago today, Saint Croix, Saint John and Saint Thomas (as well as the smaller surrounding islands) were transferred from the dominion of Denmark to the possession of the…

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The Buttonwood Jews

On the 17th of May, 1792, 24 businessmen met under a buttonwood (sycamore) tree and made an agreement to deal only with one another and to set a .25% commission rate on all transactions.…

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