What’s Up

Call your local synagogue or Jewish institution(s) to find out what educational programs they are offering.

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The Purim Story in Under 300 Words

At the end of a 180-day feast, the King of Persia-Medea, Achashverosh, banished (some say executed) his wife, Vashti, for refusing to appear at his banquet. He then staged an…

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The Foods of Tu B’Shevat

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

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What’s the Complaint?

People always like to complain. It is a fact. Sometimes they have legitimate complaints, and sometimes they don’t. Suffice it to say, however, that most often the reaction to the…

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What’s With The Salt

At every Shabbat meal, the blessing of Ha'mo'tzee (the blessing over bread) is recited over two complete loaves of bread. This 'bread' is usually the braided loaves known as…

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Bows and Arrows

Lag Ba'omer, the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer, is a minor holiday on the Jewish calendar. Its observance commemorates the end of a tragic plague that took the lives of nearly…

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Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi), whose yahrtzeit is on Lag Ba’omer, was one the five students who began studying with Rabbi Akiva after the horrible plague that…

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Lag Ba’Omer

The period of mourning* (for the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva who died of plague) associated with Sefirat Ha’omer is not observed on the 33rd day of the Omer, a day known…

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Dipping Plagues

On the night of the seder, and whenever one recounts the story of the Exodus, the recitation of the 10 plagues presents a particularly dramatic moment. It is interesting to note that the…

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The Stolen Child

From the perspective of Jewish history, the story of Edgardo Levi Mortara was a minor event in a long history of Christian persecution. Nevertheless, it had an important impact on world…

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Forgiven Love – A Parable

The last parasha (weekly Torah reading) of the Book of Exodus focuses almost exclusively on the conclusion of the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Already though, a fair number of…

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Zmirot (Songs of Shabbat)

Singing zmirot, songs of Shabbat, on Friday night not only expresses joy for the gift of Shabbat, but also offers praise to God. While many of…

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Ahhh…Cholent

The highlight of many Shabbat lunch tables is cholent, a hot stew which simmers overnight in a crockpot, on the stove or in the oven. Known also as chamim by many…

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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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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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Can We Build A Snowman?

With terms like Nor’easter (Northeaster) and Polar Vortex peppering the local weather reports, there is little doubt that winter has arrived. Individuals and families can now look forward…

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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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Nu, Don’t Eat

A popular joke: Most Jewish holidays can be subsumed under the pithy phrase: “They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!” For a nation obsessed with food, what’s with all the fasting?While…

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Pure Olive Oil

While a large number of Jews today light Chanukah candles, the more traditional custom is to light the Chanukah candles using olive oil. This is done in order to most accurately…

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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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Purim Katan

In a Jewish leap year, a second month of Adar is added to the Jewish calendar, creating Adar I and Adar II. The question that arises is, in which Adar does one celebrate the important…

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Seeking Gold

 This week’s confluence of the Olympic Games and Valentine’s Day means many more people than usual will probably have gold on their minds. While gold is not the most expensive…

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The Stolen Child

From the perspective of Jewish history, the story of Edgardo Levi Mortara was a minor event in a long history of Christian persecution. Nevertheless, it had an important impact on world…

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Eikev 5761-2001

"The Intermarriage Conundrum" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald The opening verses of this week's parasha, parashat Eikev, conclude the theme that was the focus of the final part of last…

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Vayeishev 5771-2010

"Tamar: The Paradigm of an Heroic Woman” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Vayeishev, we learn of Judah’s estrangement from his family after the sale of Joseph…

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Emor 5772-2012

"Lessons from a Priest’s Wanton Daughter" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week’s parasha, parashat Emor, highlights the special status of the Kohanim, the priests, in the community of…

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Shemot 5773-2012

“The Role of Exile in Jewish History” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Shemot, the book of Exodus opens with the story of the people of Israel’s enslavement…

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Bamidbar 5775-2015

“Finding Value in Every Task” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Bamidbar, the Torah describes the structure and layout of the camp of Israel in the wilderness.…

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Kinnot

KinnotMany devastating events took place on the 9th of Av. This is why the Jewish people consider it the saddest day on the…

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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