The Perfect Species

At this time of the year, Jews around the globe head out in search of the perfect lulav and etrog (Lulav refers to the grouping of lulav,…

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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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The World To Come

“This world is like the eve of Shabbat, and Olam Habah (the World to Come) is like Shabbat. He who prepares on the eve of Shabbat will have food to eat on Shabbat.” (Avodah Zara 3a). Olam…

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The Fast of the 17th of Tammuz

Everyone knows about Yom Kippur. There are, however, several other fast days in the Jewish calendar that are not nearly as well known. Tomorrow, on June 25, the Fast of the 17th of Tammuz…

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Redeeming the Captive

If you’re a fan of swashbuckling historical romance novels, then you’ll know that, for much of history, there was a pretty good chance that people from all walks of life might be taken…

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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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For Dew and Rain

As indicated by Jewish prayer, the rainy season in the land of Israel begins just after the holiday of Sukkot and ends at the start of Passover. During this time, there are two special…

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The Oldest Book of Diplomacy

In the beginning of Parashat Vayishlach, Jacob is informed that his estranged brother, Esau, is approaching with an army of 400 men under his command. Prior to this meeting, the last time…

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Earthshattering Moments in One of Israel’s Holiest Cities

Tzfat (Safed), the Israeli city in the rolling hills of the Galilee, is known as one of the four holy cities of Israel, along with Tiberias, Hebron and, of course, Jerusalem. It was the…

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Give A Little A Lot

Making the decision about to whom and how much tzedakah (charity) one should distribute can be extremely difficult. The pressure of this decision is made even greater by both a constant…

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Pidyon Ha’ben – Redeeming the Firstborn

“You must redeem the firstborn of a person…when he is one month old, for the value of five silver shekels” (Numbers 18:15-16). God sanctified the firstborn male Israelites when He…

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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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Vayigash 5772-2011

"Joseph and Judah: A Confrontation for Posterity" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, we read of the dramatic and powerful confrontation between Judah and Joseph. (For an…

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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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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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Seek Out The Positive

An ethical dilemma: A close friend confides in you that he/she recently purchased an expensive, one-of-a-kind, non-returnable item. When he/she shows it to you, you are immediately aware…

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Finally Buried

On the 4th of Adar 1307, the Maharam of Rothenburg was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Worms–fourteen years after his death. The rabbi’s remains were released from the fortress of…

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Purim Again

Unique to the Jewish calendar, Purim is actually observed on different days depending on location. The majority of the Jewish people celebrate Purim on the 14th of Adar (today). However,…

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Surviving and Leading

Although born in Hungary in 1904, Rabbi Yehoshua (Joshua) Menachem Ehrenberg was living in Krakow when the Nazis began their systematic destruction of European Jewry. The city of Krakow,…

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The Jewish Major General

Jewish Treats; presents a mini-biography of Major General Julius Klein (1901-1984), who served his country in both World Wars. Born in Chicago, Klein was the descendant of Prussian and…

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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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Passover Story in Brief

On Passover, we commemorate the exodus from Egyptian slavery. The following is a brief summary: Jacob’s family came to Egypt to escape a famine in Canaan. Joseph, Jacob’s son and the…

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Can You Count to 49?

There is a 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. This period…

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Seven Days to the Sea

The Passover celebration lasts seven days (eight days, outside of Israel). The first day (and second, outside of Israel) is a Yom Tov, festival day, on which the seder is celebrated.…

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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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Lag Ba’Omer

The period of mourning* (for the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva who died of plague) that is associated with Sefirat Ha’Omer, is not observed on the 33rd day of the Omer, a day known as…

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For Your Jewish Mother

If one were to believe the jokes, Jewish mothers enjoy nothing more than nagging their children to eat, encouraging grown children to get married and bragging about the children’s…

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The First Jewish Museum

According to most internet calendars, yesterday, May 18, 2021, was International Museum Day. This Jewish Treat, therefore provides a brief history of the Jewish Museum of Vienna, which is…

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The Charleston Synagogue(s)

Charleston, South Carolina is home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in the United States. The 1669 charter for the Carolina Colony explicitly included liberty of conscious for…

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