Whose First Fruits

When the Oral Law was first codified, most Jews lived in agrarian settings. Today, being less familiar with agrarian culture, some people find it difficult to relate to some of the…

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Neilah: The Final Serevice

While one may make requests of God or atone for transgressions at any time of the year, the first ten days of Tishrei (from Rosh Hashana through Yom Kippur) are considered particularly…

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Bloomies

When one thinks of the common denominator of many of the upscale national clothing store chains in the U.S., one finds that many have Jewish names, such as Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks…

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Scapegoat

The Jewish people have often been cast as the proverbial "scapegoat." When millions died during the Black Plague, the Jews were accused of poisoning the wells. Blood libels accusing Jews…

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Women of Vision

Our sages teach that there were seven women famed for their prophecy. (Talmud Megilla 14a states that only prophecies with a message for the future were recorded. In reality, there were…

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The Fast of Gedaliah (Tzom Gedaliah)

The Fast of Gedaliah is observed to commemorate the murder of Gedaliah the son of Achikam, which is described in the last chapter of the Second Book of Kings. This murder resulted in…

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Chanukah-What’s The Mitzvah?

What is the primary mitzvah of Chanukah? a) Eating latkes (potato pancakes) b) Giving Chanukah gifts or gelt (money) c) Publicizing the miracle of the oil that lasted 8 days d) Playing…

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Curly-Headed White Chief with One Tongue

On May 30, 1854, President Franklin Pierce signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which officially defined the territories of Kansas and Nebraska and opened up a significant part of what became…

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The Tenth of Tevet

And it was in the ninth year of [King Zeddekiah’s] reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth (day) of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, came, he and all his legions, upon…

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The Feast of Weeks

Shavuot, which we begin celebrating Tuesday night (May 14th), is the only holiday in the Torah not listed by the date on which it is to be observed. Rather, the Torah teaches that this…

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Is Chanukah Really Eight Days?

Tonight is the eighth night of Chanukah, known as “Zot Chanukah,” a reference to the Torah portion that is read on the eighth day of Chanukah. Chanukah is set apart as an eight-day…

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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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The Longest 250 Miles: Sadat’s Bold Flight

Imagine America’s foremost enemy addressing a joint session of Congress? You can’t; it’s almost impossible to envision such a scenario actually taking place. But, such a miraculous event…

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The Tenth of Tevet, Asara b’Tevet

And it was in the ninth year of [King Zeddekiah’s] reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth (day) of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, came, he and all his legions, upon…

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Vayigash 5781-2020

“Joseph Helps His Brothers Repent” (updated and revised from Vayigash 5761-2001) by, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald Maimonides writes, at the beginning of the second chapter of the Laws of…

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Vayechi 5781-2021

“Revealing the Time of the Coming of the End of Days” (Updated and revised from parashat Vayechi 5761-2001) by, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week’s parasha, parashat Vayechi, is the…

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The Jews of Puerto Rico

On October 18, 1898, the “Stars and Stripes” flag of the United States was raised over Puerto Rico, announcing that the island was now under American sovereignty. Today’s Treat presents…

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The Foods of Tu B’Shevat

Today, 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 Torah praises the land of Israel: “A…

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Just a Half Shekel

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

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Perhaps I Was Wrong

The third book of the Torah, Vayikra/Leviticus, focuses on the sacrificial rites that were an integral part of Jewish life until the destruction of the Holy Temples. For many Jews of…

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Setting the Seder Table

Before beginning the Seder, it is important to make certain that everything necessary is available. No Seder table is complete without the following: 1) Three Unbroken Matzot (Kosher for…

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Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day

Yom Ha’shoah, is usually observed each year on the 27th of Nissan which is this Friday. However, this year, it will be commemorated tonight and tomorrow, so as to not conflict with the…

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A Brief History of the Jews of Georgia

Located between Russia and Turkey, at the intersection of Europe and Asia, Georgia was, until the mid-1800s, a place of relatively little anti-Semitism. According to tradition, Jews first…

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The Second Passover

On the first anniversary of the Exodus from Egypt, the Children of Israel prepared to celebrate their first Passover as free people. God decreed that they should eat matzah and maror…

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Happy Birthday Birkat Hamazon

The Torah (Exodus 16:1) reports that the Children of Israel arrived at the Wilderness of Sin on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Iyar, approximately one month after the exodus from Egypt.…

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Cooked Wine

Among the discussions of the many details of Jewish life recorded in the Mishna, the first written compilation of the oral law, is the following: “If a Jewish laborer is hired by a…

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