Five Names of Rosh Hashana

In Jewish tradition, Rosh Hashana has several names that can help us understand the importance and power of this holiday.Rosh Hashana literally means "Head of the Year" because Rosh…

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The Four Species

The waving of the four species is one of the most beautiful and symbolic mitzvot of the year.Indeed, there is a special commandment (Leviticus 23:40) that one make a specific effort to…

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The Antidote For Baseless Hatred

The calendrical period between the Fast of the 17th of Tammuz and the Fast of Tisha B’av is known as Bein Hame’tzarim (in the midst of distress) and is referred to colloquially…

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The Four Species

The waving of the four species is one of the most beautiful and symbolic mitzvot of the year.Indeed, there is a special commandment (Leviticus 23:40) that one make a specific effort to…

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Festive Poems

Take a survey of the most common adjective used to describe the Jewish High Holidays and the word might just be “long.” One reason for the long services is that in addition to the usual…

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Spin the Dreidel

I have a little dreidelI made it out of clayAnd when it’s dry and readyWith dreidel I shall play!The dreidel is a four sided top, with a single Hebrew letter on each of its sides. Before…

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Rock of Ages

“Rock of Ages let our song / Praise thy saving power / Thou amidst the raging foes / Wast our sheltering tower....” This is the first verse of Maoz Tzur as translated, loosely…

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A Dictionary for the Days of Awe

In Maimonides’ Laws of Repentance, he invokes five important and pertinent terms in his first paragraph, that are worth defining.Teshuva – means return, but connotes…

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The Four Mitzvot of Purim

This year, Purim will be celebrated on Thursday, March 5th (beginning Wednesday evening, March 4th, after sunset). Four mitzvot are associated with the holiday:Megillah Reading - Book of…

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Memorial Day Museum

Washington, DC, is a city of museums. Beyond the vast assortment of divisions and galleries at the Smithsonian Institute and the many political memorials, there are also smaller museums…

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May His Name Be Erased

“Purim Holiday/Purim Holiday/A big holiday for the JewsMasks and noisemakers/Songs and Dance/Let’s make noise rash rash rash.”(Classic Hebrew Purim Song - Hava Nareesha Rash Rash…

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Kitniyot and Gerbrouchts…Oh You Ashkenazim

Ashkenazi or Sephardi? Hungarian, Yekke (German), Lithuanian? At no other time on the Jewish calendar is it so important to know your ancestry as it is on Passover. What one does or does…

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Spin The Dreidel

I have a little dreidelI made it out of clayAnd when it’s dry and readyWith dreidel I shall play!The Dreidel is a four sided top, with a single Hebrew letter on each of its sides. Before…

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Where to Wear Tefillin

While Jewish Treats has previously discussed the requirements for kosher tefillin (Click here for a full description of tefillin, including the…

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Spin the Dreidel

I have a little dreidelI made it out of clayAnd when it’s dry and readyWith dreidel I shall play!The dreidel is a four sided top, with a single Hebrew letter on each of its sides. Before…

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Shofar Shorts

The shofar is one of the most recognizable symbols of Rosh Hashana. Although it is preferable that a shofar be fashioned from a ram’s horn, the horn need only come from a kosher animal.*…

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Shofar Shorts

The shofar is one of the most recognizable symbols of Rosh Hashana. Although it is preferable that a shofar be fashioned from a ram’s horn, the horn need only come from a kosher animal.*…

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Pidyon Ha’ben – Redeeming the Firstborn

“You must redeem the firstborn of a person ... when he is one month old, for the value of five silver shekels” (Numbers 18:15-16). God sanctified the firstborn male Israelites when He…

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Chag Ha’matzot

The name of the holiday “Passover,” is an allusion to God’s passing over the Israelite households during the plague of the firstborn, a critical element in the events of the Exodus. The…

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What Are Tefillin?

“And you shall bind them [the words that I command you today] for a sign upon your arm, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes... (Deuteronomy 6:8)” The above verse refers to…

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It’s Electric

In the early 1900s, rabbinic authorities had to determine exactly what electricity was from a halachic (Jewish legal) perspective. The first uses of electricity were, of course,…

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One Goat…and a Host of Other Things

Most American children know the play song, There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. It’s a fun song that has a building pattern that helps develop children’s memory…

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First On The Court

Born in 1856, in Louisville, Kentucky, Louis Dembitz Brandeis was the child of European immigrants who maintained a minimal Jewish identity. However, his maternal uncle, Lewis Dembitz,…

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The Haftarah

Every week, on Shabbat, a portion of the Five Books of Moses is read in synagogue. This portion is known as the parasha. In addition to the parasha, a section from the…

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Two Pillars of Five

Jewish law, and thus Jewish life, rests on two pillars, the mitzvot between a person and God and the mitzvot between one person and another. These two pillars of law are laid out in the…

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Symbolic Foods

Since Rosh Hashana is the Day of Judgment, it is customary to eat simanim,* foods with symbolic meanings that invoke God's blessing. We also recite a short prayer before eating them.…

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The Foods of Tu B’Shevat

This Shabbat, Jews around the world celebrate Tu B'Shevat, the new year of the trees. Tu B'Shevat is often celebrated with the 7 species for which the Torah praises…

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Chol Hamoed

Most holidays in Western society last for a single day, which is often extended into the weekend. And while most people are aware that Chanukah is celebrated for 8 days, many people are…

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Chol Hamoed

Most holidays in Western society last for a single day, which is often extended into the weekend. And while most people are aware that Chanukah is celebrated for 8 days, many people are…

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Oh My Gosh! Passover Is Coming!

The intensive physical and emotional preparations for Passover come from one seemingly simple commandment: "Seven days you will eat only matzah, but on the first day you shall have put…

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