Unlucky 13?

Our culture has planted in our minds that 13 is a particularly unlucky number (Triskaidekaphobia = fear of 13). “Friday the 13th” (Paraskevisekatriaphobia = fear of Friday the 13th) is a…

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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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Should Old Acquaintances Be Forgot?

“Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?” This question is posed by the classic New Year’s Eve song Auld Lang Syne. The song originated in Scotland…

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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 loosely translated…

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A Look at Honesty

In honor of Honesty Day (created by M. Hirsh Goldberg in the 1990s), Jewish Treats presents some fascinating insights into the Jewish view on the importance of honesty.Much of…

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How Many Tribes?

The challenge to name the number of tribes of Israel would fall into the category of  “easy” by trivia fans. However, the term “The Twelve Tribes of Israel” can be enumerated in…

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Aishet Chayil and Esther

On Friday nights it is customary to sing a selection of verses from the final chapter of the Book of Proverbs (31:10-31) known as Aishet Chayil, A Woman of Valor. At this time of…

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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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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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The Food of Yom Kippur

Food on Yom Kippur? Isn’t Yom Kippur the most famous fast day on the Jewish calendar?"One who eats and drinks on the ninth, is considered by the Torah to have fasted on both the ninth and…

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OMG! 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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Matot-Masei 5775-2015

“The Noble Calling of the Levites: Serving as an Exemplar for the Jewish People” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In parashat Masei, the second of this week’s double parashiot, Matot-Masei,…

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Stop and Smell the Roses

There is no common word for people with an impaired olfactory system (anosmia, for those who wish to know) such as there is for one with impaired vision or impaired hearing. Smell,…

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Just a Half Shekel

This Shabbat is Parashat Shekalim (shekels). The Torah portion that speaks of Shekalim (Exodus 30:11-16) is read as the Maftir portion after the regular…

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Foods of Tu B’Shevat

This Thursday, 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…

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The House of Assembly

Did you know that the Greek word 'synagogue' is actually a translation of the Hebrew term Beit K'nesset (English = House of Assembly). The 'assembly' referred to is…

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Post Labor Day Whites

When is it fashionably acceptable to wear white after Labor Day? On Yom Kippur!Many people have the custom of wearing white on Yom Kippur. In the synagogue you will often see women…

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Song of Songs

"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine. Because of the fragrance of your goodly oils, your name is ‘oil poured forth.’ Therefore, the maidens…

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The Sukkot Hoshanot Service

Walk into a traditional synagogue in the middle of morning services during the week of Sukkot and you might have to take precaution not to be trampled upon by the circle of attendees…

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K’tav Ivri: Ancient Hebrew Script

Archaeology is one of the major academic attractions of the Land of Israel. One hardly has to scratch the surface of the land to find coins dating back thousands of years. A walk through…

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The Most Popular non-Holiday Event on Jewish Calendars

Tomorrow night is the 24th annual Shabbat Across America and Canada. Jewish Treats is proud to present a history of NJOP’s SHABBAT ACROSS AMERICA AND CANADA. Jewish…

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Potential Energy

Parashat Ki Tavo begins by juxtaposing two important agricultural laws. First (Deuteronomy 26:1-11), the Torah instructs the Israelites to bring bikkurim, the first fruits…

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The Ba’al Ha’turim

Spain in the Middle Ages was home to scholars of great renown such as Abraham ibn Ezra (1089 - c. 1164), Judah ha-Levi (1086-1145), Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (Maimonides/Rambam 1135-1204)…

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The Sukkot Hoshanot Service

Walk into a traditional synagogue in the middle of morning services during the week of Sukkot and you might have to take precaution not to be trampled upon by the circle of attendees…

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What Not To Buy

The joyous holiday of Passover is now over. While one’s instinct might be to immediately run out to the supermarket and restock the pantry shelves with bread, snacks and all the desserts…

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Just a Half Shekel

This Shabbat is Parashat Shekalim (shekels). The Torah portion that speaks of Shekalim (Exodus 30:11-16) is read as the Maftir portion after the regular…

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The Four Mitzvot of Purim

This year, Purim will be celebrated on Sunday, March 16th (beginning Saturday evening, March 15th, after sunset). Four mitzvot are associated with the holiday: Megillah Reading - Book of…

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Just A Half Shekel

This Shabbat is Parashat Shekalim (shekels). The Torah portion that speaks of Shekalim (Exodus 30:11-16) is read as the Maftir portion after the regular weekly…

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An Act of True Kindness

Death is one of the unquestionable facts of life. Yet, most people would admit being uncomfortable with the idea of being in a room with a dead body. Seeing a corpse is a “too close”…

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