Inside Prayer

Jewish prayer is a complex, multi-layered activity. The sages refer to prayer as avodah, service, the same term used to describe the sacrificial service in the Holy Temple. However, since…

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The Three Ts

On Rosh Hashana we declare: “Repentance, prayer and charity remove the evil of the decree!” In Hebrew, these constitute the 3 Ts: Teshuva, Tefilah and Tzedaka. Teshuva (repentance) a…

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Forgiveness: An Elul Treat

Many feel that the three hardest words to say are: “I am sorry.” Yet, we all know how very important those words are. Indeed, saying one is sorry, or at least admitting one’s guilt, is a…

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Seeking God in Elul

Psalm 27 is read twice daily from the beginning of the month of Elul through the holiday of Sukkot in order to help each Jew connect to the beautiful relationship that one can have with…

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The Three Prayers

Our sages teach us that each of the three daily prayer services were established by one of the patriarchs and reflect the foremost character trait of that patriarch: Shacharit, the…

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Sing the Songs of Shabbat

Music is said to raise a person’s spirit (Berachot 57b), and there is no time more appropriate for joyousness than Shabbat, the day of rest. To honor Shabbat, and to bring it more…

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Birkat Hamazon

Have you ever forgotten to tip the waiter after eating at a restaurant? Probably not, because that’s society’s conventional manner of thanking the wait-staff. While we do not usually have…

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The Words Are The Things

In Hebrew, the Book of Deuteronomy is known as Sefer D’varim. Its name is derived from the fact that the Hebrew word d’varim is the first noun that appears in the book, which begins with…

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The First Jewish Senator

David Croll was the First Jewish Senator -- of Canada. Having served as the Mayor of Windsor (Ontario), as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and as Ontario’s Minister of…

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Boom! Flash!

There’s nothing quite as spectacular on a hot, humid summer day as a thunderstorm. Thick clouds gather, heavy winds blow and a “show” is presented that stimulates all of our senses. A…

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The Bread of the Sabbath

Challah, known to some as "Jewish bread," is one of the essential elements of the Shabbat table. Each of the three Shabbat meals begins with the blessing over two loaves of Challah, which…

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A Vow Like No Other

Jews are not ascetics. In fact, according to Jewish philosophy, the Jew’s job is to take the physical and draw out its spiritual nature. One can’t do that when trying to avoid the…

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Abraham ben Abraham

Legend has it that Valentine Pototski, the son of a Polish nobleman, met an old Jew at a tavern and promised to convert to Judaism if the Jew convincingly argued the superiority 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 ends on the 33rd day of the Omer, a day known as Lag Ba’omer. In…

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The Father of Political Zionism

Theodor Herzl (Vienna, Austria 1860-1904) was 35 years old when he realized that European society would never see Jews as anything other than foreigners. An assimilated journalist, Herzl…

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The Hope

In November 2004, the Israeli Knesset formally adopted Hatikva as the national anthem of the State of Israel. The preceding 56 years since the founding Israel, Hatikva had only been the…

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Pure Water

When God created the world, it was all water. As stated in Genesis 1:2 - “Now the earth was unformed and void...and the spirit of G-d hovered over the face of the waters.” On the second…

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There’s A Key In My Challah!

It's a fact that many people spend much time thinking about, or even worrying about, par'nassah (livelihood). Jewish tradition teaches that different seasons have different spiritual…

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Can You Count To 49?

There is a Biblical commandment (Leviticus 23:15) to count the 49 days that immediately follow the first night of Passover and, on the 50th night, to celebrate the holiday of Shavuot.…

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The 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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You Are Royalty

Passover is known as the festival of freedom. And who is more free than royalty? At the Seder, all Jews are supposed to consider themselves royalty. Some of the ways we demonstrate this…

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Sheep Shearing

While giving charity appears to be one of the fundamental good deeds a person may perform, it is, in all honesty, one of the hardest. Our possessions, our wealth, our outward signs of…

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Tu b’Shevat is Coming

While it has been a difficult winter for many of us, it may be time to look beyond the turbulent weather and see that spring is just around the corner. You might wonder how one can…

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An Eye For Civil Law

You’ve heard the phrase “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand...” And you’ve likely heard frightening stories of societies in which this biblical rule is applied…

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The Fruit That Is Not A Fruit

Eating a healthy diet is important. In fact, it is so important that many governments allocate significant budget funds to analyze the best diets for people. The U.S. Department of…

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Jews Ruled Where?

Before the Arabian Peninsula became the stronghold of Islam, it was home to a collage of tribal nomads and fierce warriors, most of whom were Arabs. There were, however, several famous…

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What’s In A Name

What’s in a name? Lots, especially when you are talking about a person’s Hebrew/Jewish name. (Henceforth to be referred to as “Hebrew name,” even though some traditional names are…

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The Story of Chanukah

Around the year 167 BCE, the Syrian-Greek rulers of Judea tried to force the Jews to assimilate into Hellenic culture. They summoned the Jews to the town squares where they were forced to…

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Honoring Those Who Have Passed

Sometimes the world seems a bit like alphabet soup. There are organizations that function by acronym alone (such as NJOP -- the National Jewish Outreach Program, not to be confused with…

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The Star Symbol

Looking for a nice piece of Judaica? Why not go for something really Jewish, like a Star of David. This ancient symbol of Judaism is...well, actually, although the Star of David is a…

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