The First Rabbi In America

The first ordained rabbi to serve in an American congregation was Rabbi Abraham Joseph Rice (originally Reiss, 1802-1862). After studying in Germany, in Wurtzburg and then Fuerth, Rice…

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The Jewish Honeymoon?

Where are you going on your honeymoon? Rather than announce an exotic location like Hawaii or Tahiti (or even Niagara Falls), most traditional Jewish couples answer that they are going to…

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It’s A Segulah

A segulah is an action that is reputed to lead to a change in one’s fortunes. For instance, acting as the kvatter (the one who brings the baby into the brit…

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Why Laban is in the Haggadah

In honor of the upcoming holiday of Passover, it is time to review the important narrative featured in the Haggadah...the story of Laban. Many Jewish Treats readers are, perhaps,…

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Nice Invitations

“Rabbi Meir used to say: A man should not urge his friend to dine with him when he knows that his friend will not do so. And he should not offer him many gifts when he knows that his…

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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 difference between the box worn on the head…

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Shabbetai Zvi, False Messiah

Born in Smyrna, Turkey, in 1626, Shabbetai Zvi was considered a promising Talmudic scholar who showed strong skills in the study of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism). However, he was noted…

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It’s A Segulah

A segulah is an action that is reputed to lead to a change in one’s fortunes. For instance, acting as the kvatter (the one who brings the baby into the brit milah/circumcision) is…

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Invitation To Give Thanks

The verse found in Deuteronomy 8:10, “You shall eat, be satiated and bless God,” is the source of the biblical mandate to recite the Birkat Hamazon (Grace After Meals, also known in…

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Lech Lecha 5769-2008

"A Blessing on Your Head" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald Blessings play a key role in Judaism. Not surprisingly, there are a vast number of them in Jewish life. There are blessings for…

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Terumah 5767-2007

"G-d's Love Letters" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week's parasha, parashat Terumah, we begin a series of five parashiot that deal rather extensively with the details of erecting…

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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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Celebrating with a Parade

Name a Jewish celebration, that is not a wedding, but includes a chuppah, music and dancing. The answer is a Hachnassat Sefer Torah, literally “Welcoming the Torah Scroll,” the ceremony…

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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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