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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Vayeira 5781-2020

“Mount Moriah: Building for the Future through Love” (updated and revised from Vayeira 2000-5761) by, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald Last week’s parasha, parashat Lech Lecha, began with G-d…

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Sarah’s Whereabouts Determine Jewish Law

Parashat Vayeira begins with Abraham convalescing after his circumcision. Unexpectedly, he sees three “visitors,” whom the Midrash identifies as angels, come toward his home. Excited to…

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President William Howard Taft – Friend of the Jews

Jewish Treats presents a quick look at the relationship of President William Howard Taft (1857 – 1930) and the Jewish people. Taft’s presidency (1909 – 1913) overlapped the era of massive…

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Giving Tuesday- December 1, 2020

Support NJOP on Giving TuesdayDecember 1, 2020 is Giving Tuesday - A global day of giving! DonateYour contributions are…

Favoritism

“A person should never discriminate among his children even to the extent of a thread [garment] weighing only two weight-measures of silk, similar to that which Jacob gave to Joseph but…

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Judah, Son of Jacob

When Judah, the fourth son of Leah and Jacob, was born, Leah said, “This time let me gratefully praise God” (based on the Hebrew infinitive, l’hodot, “to praise”). Judah first…

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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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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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The Challenge of a Cup of Tea

How do you make a cup of tea? Seems like a silly question, doesn’t it? Tea is easy. Simply take a mug, fill it with hot water, and then just add a tea bag. Let the tea steep and remove…

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Is It Almost Spring?

February 2nd, is Groundhog Day, when thousands breathlessly wait to see if the groundhog is scared into six more weeks of hibernation by the sight of his shadow. This tradition reveals…

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Bo 5781-2021

“The Slave Mentality” (updated and revised from Bo 5761–2001) by, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week’s parasha, parashat Bo, concludes the Torah’s narrative of parashat Va’eira, of the…

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The First Ten

If the children of Israel received the Torah at Mount Sinai, why did Moses come down bearing only “two tablets of testimony” luchot ha’aidoot (Exodus 32:15), on which the Ten Commandments…

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When Adar Begins

The month of Adar, the twelfth month of the Jewish calendar year, begins this Friday evening, February 12th (Rosh Chodesh is two days, but Adar begins on Friday night). The Talmud…

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Fulfilling a Holy Name

Rabbi Moshe Shik (1807-1897) is known among scholars as the “Maharam Shik.” The title, Maharam, is an acronym Moreinu Harav Moshe (Our Teacher, the Rabbi Moshe). While his family name may…

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Random Acts of Kindness

An entire generation of North Americans hear the words “random acts of kindness” and immediately think of Oprah Winfrey. Without question, the queen of afternoon television has done…

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Sisterhood Power

Carrie Obendorfer (1872-1961) knew the power, joy and motivation of organized women. Her mother founded and led the Cincinnati branch of the National Conference of Jewish Women (NCJW). It…

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They Make us Laugh

When the hit comedy Funny People was released in movie theaters in 2009, it was frequently noted in the Jewish press that almost all of the comic actors in the film, including the…

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West Point

Several years ago, the Jewish news media delightedly reported that Rachelle David was the first female graduate of an Orthodox Jewish high school to be accepted to West Point. It is a…

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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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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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A Wellspring of Technology

If you follow @JewishTweets or are a Facebook follower of Jewish Treats, you may have noticed the disproportionate abundance of technical and medical breakthroughs that occur in the State…

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Yom Ha’atzmaut – Israel’s Independence Day

On the fifth day of the Hebrew month of Iyar, in the year 5708, corresponding to May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was born. On that day, the British Mandate was terminated and David…

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Remembering Bergen-Belsen

The spring brings with it annual anniversaries that mark the liberation of Nazi concentration camps, death camps and a day of renewed life for tens of thousands of survivors of the Shoah…

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This Land Is Our Land

“Rabbi Simeon ben Yochai said: ‘Three things are weighed equally, and they are earth, humans and rain.’ Rabbi Levi bar Hiyyata said: ‘… to teach you that without earth there would be no…

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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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Courland Jews, an Interesting History

There is no country by the name of Courland, but there is a historical subset of Latvian Jews known as Courland Jews. Their distinction comes from the connection in the 19th century of…

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The Name Jerusalem

Initially, King David ruled from Hebron, but Hebron was not the ideal location for the seat of government. Not only was Hebron in the southernmost part of the Israelite kingdom, but it…

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Lions and Jerusalem Day

The original city of Jerusalem, conquered by King David from the Jebusites, is now known as Ir David, situated in the Silwan neighborhood, south of the Temple Mount. Over time, Jerusalem…

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