The Story of Chanukah

Around the year 167 B.C.E., the Syrian-Greek rulers of Judea tried to force the Jews to assimilate into Hellenic culture. They summoned the Jews to the town squares where they were forced…

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The Book(s) of Maccabees

Chanukah is neither directly ordained in the Torah (like Rosh Hashana, Passover, etc.) nor mentioned in any other biblical text (as Purim is in the Book of Esther). The Books of Maccabees…

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Biur – Burning

The night before the Passover seder, the home is thoroughly searched for any remaining chametz. The chametz found is then set aside to be burned in the morning. Biur Chametz, the burning…

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On the 25th of Kislev

It is not uncommon to find that significant events in Jewish history occurred in different years but on the same day on the Jewish calendar. For instance, Tisha B'Av (9th of…

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What’s With The Cheese

There are few types of food with as many variations as cheese. Like all dairy products, only cheese that has been made with the milk of a kosher animal can be kosher. (For those…

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The Story of Chanukah

Around the year 167 B.C.E., the Syrian-Greek rulers of Judea tried to force the Jews to assimilate into Hellenic culture. They summoned the Jews to the town squares where they were forced…

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A Piece of U.S. History

As much as the United States prides itself on its religious freedom, each of the original 13 colonies had different policies in this regard. Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island…

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On Top of Mount…

Without question, Mount Sinai is the best known mountain in the Bible. In the days before highways, street signs or GPS, geographic landmarks played an important role in people’s lives.…

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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 Tribe of Asher

As the forefathers of the tribes of Israel, the lives and personalities of each of the twelve sons of Jacob impacted on the history and behavior of the tribe members who descended from…

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Vayeitzei 5781-2020

“The Role of Mother Rachel in Jewish History” (updated and revised from Vayeitzei 2000-5761) by, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Vayeitzei, we encounter Jacob…

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Mikeitz 5781-2020

“A Dysfunctional Family Becomes Functional” (updated and revised from Mikeitz 5762-2001) by, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Mikeitz, the soap opera, (just…

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The Eyes Have It

January is Eye Care Month! Close to 2,000 years ago, the importance of treating even basic eye disease was recorded in the Talmud (Shabbat 108b), where the rabbis debate what one may do…

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Calligraphy

In honor of the upcoming National Handwriting Day, which is January 23, Jewish Treats explores the unique calligraphy practiced by a Jewish sofer (scribe). The Hebrew letters used in a…

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The Tribe of Asher

As the forefathers of the tribes of Israel, the lives and personalities of each of the twelve sons of Jacob impacted on the history and behavior of the tribe members who descended from…

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Shabbat’s Angel Companions

In the Talmud (Shabbat 119b), Rabbi Josi the son of Judah is quoted as saying: On the eve of Shabbat, two ministering angels accompany a person home from the synagogue. One angel…

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Biur – Burning

This year, because the first night of Passover falls on Saturday night and it is not allowed to burn Chametz on Shabbat, Bedikat Chametz, the search for Chametz takes place on Thursday…

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The Great Sea Monster

In honor of World Ocean Day, we present a treat about the Great Sea Monster. For most of history, sea monsters were considered among the greatest perils of sea travel. Most probably, the…

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Lions and Jerusalem Day

The original city of Jerusalem, conquered by King David from the Jebusites, is now known as Ir David, situated in the Silwan neighborhood, south of the Temple Mount. Over time, Jerusalem…

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The Disputation of Paris

The month of June in the year 1240 C.E. was not a good time for the Jews of Europe. The trouble began with a Jewish apostate named Nicholas Donin. Wanting, perhaps, to prove his loyalty…

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