Holiday Workshops on Zoom

Holiday Workshops with Rabbi Buchwald

Get ready for Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot with three exciting Zoom workshops, led by Rabbi Buchwald!

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Sept. 15, 2020 - 7:00PM EDT

Make Rosh Hashana Come Alive!

Join Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald for an exciting one hour Rosh Hashana Prayer Workshop on Tuesday evening, September 15th, at 7pm EDT on Zoom to help us prepare for the holiday. Explore the significance of the shofar, the impactful Torah readings and develop a greater appreciation for some of the most significant prayers.

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Sept. 22, 2020 - 7:00PM EDT

Demystify Yom Kippur!

Rabbi Buchwald will lead an enriching one hour Yom Kippur Prayer Workshop on Tuesday evening, September 22nd, at 7pm EDT on Zoom.  Delve into the underlying significance of Yom Kippur, learn how one can achieve repentance and explore the meaning of the some of the most significant prayers.

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Sept. 29, 2020 - 7:00PM EDT

The Joyous Festival of Sukkot!

Join Rabbi Buchwald for an uplifting one hour Sukkot Workshop on Tuesday evening, September 29th, at 7pm EDT on Zoom to help us prepare for the holiday of Sukkot. Learn the beautiful symbolism of the four species, what constitutes a Sukkah and develop a whole new understanding of the joyous celebration that is Sukkot.

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High Holidays

Participate in one of our renowned, interactive High Holiday Beginners Service programs or workshops this holiday season.  We’ll help you host a program with our comprehensive materials and videos or find one to attend.

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Rosh Hoshana

The Jewish New Year starts with a celebration of the very creation of the world and a recognition of humankind’s relationship to the Creator.

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Yom Kippur

The High Holidays culminate with The Day of Atonement.
There is a mysticism in that almost all Jews recognize the holiness of the day.

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Articles

Browse our collection of High Holiday Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about Jewish histories and traditions.

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Crash Course in Basic Judaism Lecture Series

Crash Course in Basic Judaism Lecture Series

NJOP Director Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald delivers this thought-provoking Crash Course In Basic Judaism lecture. In this five part lecture series, participants will explore: Belief in God, Prayer, The Sabbath, Jewish Observance and Sexuality. Click on the below links to hear him speak on the following topics.

Judaism

Enhance your understanding and appreciation of Judaism through NJOP’s Crash Courses, Articles, Lectures, and more! See how Judaism is not only a part of your life, but creates the person you are.

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Classes

Learn or teach about the readily available Basic Judaism Crash Courses provided by NJOP and find out how you or your community can participate.

Jewish Treats Jewish History

Discover Judaism in ways that you may not have known before. NJOP's Jewish Treats articles are created to educate others of their Jewish Heritage.

Jewish Treats Judaism

Browse our collection of Judaism Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about Judaism.


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Jewish History

Browse our archive of Jewish History related Jewish Treats.

Judaism

Enhance your understanding and appreciation of Judaism through NJOP’s Crash Courses, Articles, Lectures, and more! See how Judaism is not only a part of your life, but creates the person you are.

Learn more

Classes

Learn or teach about the readily available Basic Judaism Crash Courses provided by NJOP and find out how you or your community can participate.

Jewish Treats Jewish History

Discover Judaism in ways that you may not have known before. NJOP's Jewish Treats articles are created to educate others of their Jewish Heritage.

Jewish Treats Judaism

Browse our collection of Judaism Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about Judaism.


Jewish Treats Judaism

Jewish Treats about

Judaism

Browse our archive of Judaism related Jewish Treats.

Judaism

Enhance your understanding and appreciation of Judaism through NJOP’s Crash Courses, Articles, Lectures, and more! See how Judaism is not only a part of your life, but creates the person you are.

Learn more

Classes

Learn or teach about the readily available Basic Judaism Crash Courses provided by NJOP and find out how you or your community can participate.

Jewish Treats Jewish History

Discover Judaism in ways that you may not have known before. NJOP's Jewish Treats articles are created to educate others of their Jewish Heritage.

Jewish Treats Judaism

Browse our collection of Judaism Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about Judaism.


The Creation of the State of Israel

THE JEWISH PRESENCE IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL

Since the times of Joshua, when the newly formed Nation of Israel conquered the kingdoms of Canaan (c. 1250 B.C.E.), not a decade has gone by when there was not a Jewish presence in the land that was to become the Land of Israel.
As the crossroads between three continents (Africa, Asia, and Europe), the Middle East has always been a “hot spot” of activity. Throughout history, conquering armies have swept over the land of Israel, attacked its residents, and still the Jewish people have clung to their land. The Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks and the Romans each marched through as they struggled to amass their vast empires. Each trying to eliminate the Jewish nation, either through forced assimilation, death or exile. The Jews, however, always remained committed to their faith, their people and their land.

Since the Romans destroyed the Second Temple and exiled the Jews in 70 C.E. (renaming the land Palestina), the vast majority of the Jews have lived in a diaspora (dispersion) in virtually every corner of the world. No matter the country in which they sojourned, their longing for their own land has continued to burn in their hearts and dreams as they turned their prayers towards Jerusalem. The saga of the modern State of Israel comes from this more than 2000 year old longing for Jerusalem.

By the mid-1800’s, as anti-Semitic violence increased in Europe, more and more Jews began making their way to Ottoman-ruled Palestine. When these new immigrants arrived, they found it impossible to blend in with the existing Jewish population, a community of scholars living in squalid Ottoman cities that were locked each night to keep out marauders. After all, the new Jewish immigrants had come to work the land.

When studying the pattern of settlement leading to the State of Israel, the history between 1882 and the creation of the State of Israel is divided into five Aliyah* periods.

*Aliyah means going up. The term Aliyah is used for those moving to Israel implying that one is rising spiritually.

ISRAEL BEFORE THE IMMIGRATION

In order to understand the history of the establishment of Israel, it is important to know the political condition of the land of Israel prior to the waves of Jewish immigration. The Ottoman Empire, ruled over large expanses of land, its reach broken into smaller ruling districts. The Ottomans governed the land of Israel for 400 years, from 1517-1917. The area of Israel, along with the current area of the Kingdom of Jordan, was known as Palestine and was under the jurisdiction of Damascus (Syria). With time, the Ottoman Empire became known for its stagnation. The intricacies of the vast bureaucracy were manipulated through bakshish, bribes. The majority of the territory of Palestine was broken into landholdings, and absentee landholders came once or twice a year to collect the rent from the shareholders who lived in squalor. Modern technology, such as plumbing, was unheard of in the backwaters of the Empire. The cities of the Ottoman Empire were no better. The people of Jerusalem lived only within the walls of the city (today known as the Old City) and the doors were locked each night for fear of the bands of robbers that terrorized the lands. Poverty and disease flourished in the cities that had none of the amenities of sanitation.

The situation of the land can best be understood by an excerpt from Mark Twain’s letters from his travels there in 67:

We traversed some miles of desolate country whose soil is rich enough but is given wholly to weeds–a silent, mournful expanse…We pressed on toward the goal of our crusade, renowned Jerusalem. The further we went the hotter the sun got and the more rocky and bare, repulsive and dreary the landscape became… There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those
fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country. No landscape exists that is more tiresome to the eye than that which bounds the approaches to Jerusalem… Jerusalem is mournful, dreary, and lifeless. I would not desire to live here. It is a hopeless, dreary, heartbroken Land (“The Innocents Abroad or the New Pilgrim’s Progress” Volume II, p.216-359 (Harper and Brothers 1922).

THE FIRST ALIYAH

Between 1882 and 1903, the period known as the First Aliyah, approximately 30,000 Jews made there way to the land of Israel. Impoverished refugees, they worked land purchased by European Jewish philanthropists and the newly created Zionist organizations. Life was a constant struggle against harsh conditions and many died of disease, exposure and malnutrition. Draining swamps, clearing land, and learning new farming techniques were major challenges for the immigrants, but they fought hard, and by the end of the First Aliyah period, several settlement towns, such as Rishon L’tzion, had been established and the Hebrew language had begun its revival as a modern, spoken tongue.

During the period of the First Aliyah, “Zionism” became an official movement, spearheaded by Theodore Herzl. The First Zionist Congress convened in Switzerland in 1897, giving focus to the movement and adding political weight to the cause.

THE SECOND ALIYAH

As the First Aliyah petered out, the spirit of Zionism was revitalized by a new surge of pogroms in Russia, particularly after the failed revolution of 1905. The Second Aliyah was characterized by the Socialist Zionists who saw the rebuilding of the land of Israel as an opportunity to bring to life their socialist ideology. Unlike the First Aliyah, which relied, in part, on Arab labor, the Second Aliyah promoted a society in which Jews viewed craftsmanship and laboring the land as virtual mitzvot.

During the Second Aliyah period, the first kibbutz*, Kibbutz Deganiah, was created, and the first all-Jewish city, Tel Aviv, was founded. The Jewish National Fund (JNF), founded in 1901, facilitated the purchase and development of land, and numerous organizations were organized to help new immigrants find housing and adjust to their new environment. By the end of the Second Aliyah, there were approximately 85,000 immigrants working to establish a Jewish homeland.

*A Kibbutz is a collective, Socialist settlement.

THE THIRD ALIYAH

World War I marked the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. With the defeat of the Turks, Palestine became a British colony. In 1917, the World Zionist Organization successfully negotiated with the British government, and the British Foreign Minister, Lord Balfour, pledged British support for the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine.
Thus began the era of the Third Aliyah (1919-1923), with the world at peace and support for a Jewish homeland seemingly guaranteed by the Balfour Declaration. Again large numbers of Jews came from Eastern Europe following new pogroms instigated by the successful Bolshevik Revolution. The new immigrants came far better prepared by European Zionist organizations with Hebrew education and labor training, and proved critical in helping develop new settlements, build roads and strengthen Jewish communities.

Since the beginning of the Zionist movement, the Jews had been purchasing the land from the wealthy absentee-landlords of the Ottoman Empire. At first, these landholders were happy to sell their lands at the high prices the Jews were willing to pay. As their Arab tenants’ began to grumble about the growing Jewish presence and the better living conditions of the Jews, the Turks began to sell the Jews tracts of land that they saw as unusable, such as the Jezreel Valley. By the sweat of their brow, the immigrants of the Third Aliyah drained the marshes of the Jezreel Valley, creating an entire region of agriculturally desirable land which flourished in their hands

While the Third Aliyah was bolstered by the hopes inspired by the Balfour Declaration, the period ended in disappointment. At the beginning of the 1920s, the League of Nations (forerunner of the UN) granted Britain the Mandate for Palestine, charging it to administer the land and “facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions…”
With the removal of the Ottoman Empire, and having witnessed the progress made by the Jews in the land, a new movement of Arab nationalism surged. The Arabs began to apply pressure to the British to prohibit Jewish immigration. Arab pressure and riots in Palestine brought about the Churchill White Paper of 1922, which, while it again reiterated the right of the Jews to a homeland in Palestine, detached all of the area east of the Jordan river from Palestine and gave it to the Hashemi family to establish an independent Arab state called (Trans)Jordan – Thus creating a Palestinian state out of 2/3 of the region.

In response to the growing dissonance created by the conflicting promises of the British to the Jews and the Arabs, the immigrants of the Second and Third Aliyah laid the foundations for self-rule. They created the Histadrut (National Labor Organization), which helped create an industrial base while continuing to support agricultural advances. Another important creation was the establishment of the Haganah, the Jewish paramilitary defense organization.

THE FOURTH ALIYAH

Marked as the period from 1924 until the start of World War II, the immigrants of the Fourth Aliyah were composed of primarily middle-class Polish refugees fleeing new persecutions, as well as Jews from Middle Eastern countries. The influx of the middle-class Europeans brought new capital to the region as the newest immigrants invested in small businesses.

Dominating the era of the Fourth Aliyah was the growing unrest between Jews and Arabs. While the Jews had purchased all the land upon which they settled, and were recognized internationally by the League of Nations’ Mandate as having a right to settle the land, there was an increasing opposition from the Arabs. In 1929, the Jews of the city of Hebron, whose Jewish population long predated the Zionist settlement movement and had lived in peace with their Arab neighbors, were ravaged by a violent Arab pogrom. When the rioting stopped, 67 Jews were dead and 70 wounded. The reports spoke of neighbors attacking neighbors and life-long friends suddenly turning into bitter enemies. The violence spread to other cities.

As had all-too-frequently become the case under British Rule, the British authorities did nothing to try and stop the attacks. With the British unable and unwilling to insure their safety, the surviving Jews fled Hebron, unable to return until 1967.

THE FIFTH ALIYAH

The Fifth Aliyah began with the rise of Hitler in Germany and ended in 1939, due to a combination of German emigration restrictions and British quotas. This Aliyah, just prior to World War II, was composed mostly of German Jews and other war refugees. Unlike many of the immigrants of the previous Aliyahs, they came out of necessity, not out of ideology. The new immigrants were often from upper and middle class backgrounds, often professionals who filled the need of the settlements for doctors and lawyers, as well as enhancing the cultural tone of the country. As the immigration increased, neighboring Arab countries accelerated their oppression of the native Jewish populations, causing another influx of Middle Eastern Jews, particularly from Yemen.

WORLD WAR II

As the situation for the Jews in Europe grew more deadly, the doors of the world closed. Responding to anti-Jewish riots by Arabs throughout 1936, ‘37, ‘38 and, ‘39, Britain issued another White Paper in 1939 severely restricting Jewish immigration. At the same time, England and the United States imposed immigration quotas and the Jews were left with nowhere to go. The Jews pleaded with the British government to be allowed to enter Palestine, but to no avail.

The Jews in Palestine, seeing the desperate situation of the Allied forces, put aside their disputes with the British government and formed a special Jewish Brigade to fight the Nazis in Europe. At the same time, the Arab leaders met with Hitler and decided to support the Axis powers. Some members of the Jewish Brigade and other Jews from Palestine, managed to smuggle themselves into the war zone and establish underground forces to help Jews escape.

By land or sea, bribery and fake visas, Jews tried desperately to escape Nazi Europe and enter Palestine.
Tens of thousands did managed to smuggle through the British blockades. Those that were caught were put into British prison camps, reliving the barbed-wire nightmares from which they had fled.

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL

As European Jews faced the horrors of the Nazis, the Jews in Palestine were engaged in their own struggle. Frequent attacks against settlements and individuals by the Arab population were countered by Jewish self-defense and retaliation. After the conclusion of World War II, these attacks continued, and even increased The ruling British often took the side of the Arabs, including confiscating the few weapons the Jews had for self-defense.

By the late 1940s, the British, frequently sabotaged by both sides, gave up trying to keep the peace altogether. They brought the matter before the UN and a proposal was passed to divide the remaining land of Palestine (bear in mind that 3/4 of the original land of Palestine, now called Jordan, was already in Arab hands) into two states, one Arab and one Jewish. The Jews supported the proposal, recognizing that even after the great tragedy in Europe it was the best they could hope for. The Arabs, however, rejected the plan.
In May of 1948, the British completed their withdrawal from the region.

While the withdrawal was supposed to be neutral, many of the British jails, fortresses and munitions were handed over to local Arabs.

On May 14, the day the British pulled out, the State of Israel formally declared its independence. On May 15, the new State of Israel, with no army, navy, or air force, was attacked by the surrounding Arab States.


The Story of the Modern Day Maccabees

The Story of the Modern Day Maccabees

Relive the miraculous 1976 Operation Entebbe which was carried out by a group referred to by former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin as the “Modern Day Maccabees.”

The Story of the Modern Day Maccabees is presented by Rabbi Steven Weil, the Senior Managing Director of the OU.

2016 represents the 40th anniversary of the Israel Defense Force’s miraculous rescue of over 100 hostages whose Paris bound Air France Airbus was hijacked by cruel terrorists. After their heroic return, Menachem Begin referred to the Israeli commandos who risked their lives flying thousands of miles from home as “Dor Makabim Bi’yameinu” modern day Maccabees. NJOP presents the story of this heroic rescue mission, told by Rabbi Steven Weil, Senior Managing Director of the OU. The rescue of many Jewish lives at Entebbe is the equivalent of a modern day Chanukah miracle, mirroring the original miraculous events that we celebrate each year.

 

Video:

 

Trailer:

Chanukah

On Chanukah, Jewish families around the world gather together in their homes and light the Chanukah candles. Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, celebrates the great miracles that happened during the Maccabee revolt in the time of the Second Temple period.

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Programs and Classes

Host or attend the exciting Chanukah programs and classes provided by NJOP and find out how you or your community can participate.

Resources

Discover, read and download our comprehensive guides and walkthroughs, watch videos and learn about the various aspects of Chanukah.

Articles

Browse our collection of Chanukah Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about the histories and traditions of Chanukah.


Shabbat

Shabbat

More than the Jews have kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jews.

An Oasis in Time

The Jewish Sabbath has been called an “oasis in time.” This heavenly gift, “Divine Therapy,” if you will, is a unique opportunity for spiritual and psychological renewal that comes every week, and it’s free! Contemporary observers often speak of the need for “quality time.” Shabbat teaches that there cannot be quality time without quantity time. Shabbat is indeed an idea whose time has come.

Sacred Time

As we enter the 21st century, the world has never needed Shabbat more. Our society desperately needs time to catch its breath, to look inward, not outward, to be introspective. We need an opportunity to hug our children, look our spouses in the eye, and engage in true communication, without constant interruptions of telephones, radios, videos and computer games. For all our valued technological advancements (streaming music, smart phones, internet, smart homes, etc.)  our ability to communicate has greatly diminished. In fact, studies indicate that the average American parent speaks with his/her children no more than 11 minutes a day and watches television 35.5 hours a week!

We, and our families, need “sacred time.” Shabbat provides just that, and much more. It has been said, “More than the Jews have kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jews.” It is an elixir of life. It is G-d’s greatest gift to human-kind. Embrace it! Savor a taste of the world to come.

Jewish Treats Complete Guide to Shabbat

Jewish Treats and our parent organization NJOP, are excited to introduce our Jewish Treats Complete Guide to Shabbat eBook- your online resource to the Day of Rest. This eBook includes a little bit of everything: From how to light the Shabbat candles, the secrets of braided challah, the songs of the Sabbath and much more.  Everything you need to know and have been wondering about Shabbat is now right at your fingertips!

Please share this fun and informative Shabbat eBook with your friends and family!

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Print the Jewish Treats Complete Guide to Shabbat or use the interface on this page to view or download.

*We’d love for you to be able to enjoy this Jewish Treats eBook on Shabbat, as well as during the week. To use it on Shabbat, be sure to print your copy before sunset on Friday to stay within the Shabbat spirit.

Shabbat Programs

NJOP is proud to be able to offer you a selection of informative educational resources for Shabbat.

Shabbat Across America and Canada

“Turn an ordinary Friday night into something extraordinary!” On Friday night, March 5, 2021, hundreds of synagogues across the continent will take part in an historic national Jewish event to celebrate what unifies all Jews — Shabbat! Everyone is invited…

Shabbat Across America at Home

Have you experienced the magic of NJOP’s Shabbat Across America and Canada? Have you wanted to participate but couldn’t? Do you love the idea of creating an evening of warm inspiration, simple peace and beautiful tradition?…

Beginners Service

Designed specifically for the novice worshiper, this free explanatory prayer service is conducted in both Hebrew and English, and provides a comfortable non-judgmental venue for those with little synagogue experience…

CommUNITY

Take the Shabbat Across America and Canada unity challenge and organize a CommUNITY Shabbat Across America and Canada. The CommUNITY initiative requires multiple organizations in one city to work together to create…

Send us message to have us contact you about running any of our Shabbat programs or call 1-800-44-HEBREW.


99 Fascinating Facts About Jewish Life

99 Fascinating Facts You Didn't Know About Jewish Life:

The Jewish Life Hacker

By S.R. Hewitt

What does Jewish law have to say about smiling? What is so kosher about “kosher salt”? Is there a proper way to lend a cup of sugar? What does Judaism say about birth control?

99 Fascinating Facts You Didn’t Know About Jewish Life: The Jewish Life Hacker is an engaging and accessible introduction to some of the finer points of Jewish law.

The mini-essays included in this book, culled from the Jewish Treats archives, strive to make the intricacies of Jewish law familiar and understandable.

Remember to Shop with Amazon Smile so that a portion of your purchase is donated to NJOP!

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99 Fascinating Jewish Personalities

99 Fascinating Jewish Personalities

By S.R. Hewitt

Have you ever heard of Two-Gun Cohen? Did you know that the artist Man Ray was Jewish? And what happened to Elisha ben Abuya that the other Talmudic sages began to refer to him as “Acher,” which means “Other”?

Jewish Treats: 99 Fascinating Jewish Personalities is an enlightening and enjoyable anthology of mini-essays about Jews from all walks of life. From the familiar figures of the Bible to little-known war heroes and even modern day novelists, these biographies have been culled from the popular Jewish Treats blog that presents “Juicy bits of Judaism, daily.”

There have been books written on the history of the Jews and the impact of Jews on history, and even the impact of history on the Jews…but Jewish Treats: 99 Fascinating Jewish Personalities is a simple collection of essays on interesting Jews, some who changed the course of the world, some who gained renown only in their own time and a few who might have been forgotten if not for others’ love of trivia.

Remember to Shop with Amazon Smile so that a portion of your purchase is donated to NJOP!

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Hilly Gross' Speech

Hilly Gross' Speech

At the 10th Anniversary of the Lincoln Square Beginners Service, Hilly Gross describes what happened when he invited (as he often did) participants of Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald's Beginners Service to his home for a Shabbat meal.

I am here tonight on what I fear is a totally vain effort to restore some perspective to this orgy of self-congratulations that you have staged for yourselves this evening. Because I think that somehow it’s important that you beginners, B.T.s, leave tonight with at least a sense of how we, the F.F.B.s, as you call us, the frum-from-births, the “lifers,”day-by-day Lincoln Square everyday congregants, feel about you–we don’t like you!! And if you’ll just indulge me for two to three minutes, I will tell you why it is that we don’t like you–aside from the fact that you won’t talk to us during davening!

For ten years now, you have been coming to my house on Shabbasim and Yomim Tovim; just this once try to see it from my perspective. I am what the sociologists and the demographics experts would call the “tired Jewish businessman.” My fantasy of the ideal Friday night is to daven as fast as I can, eat as fast as I can, jump under the covers, assume a pre-fetal position, and conk out until Shacharis.

So, I come to shul Friday night and invariably Rabbi Buchwald approaches and says: would I mind taking three or four of his beginners home for Shabbat dinner? Since Rabbi Buchwald insists on posing this question in front of the people involved, it makes it very difficult to say no! Fine, I’ll take them.

Introductions are made and we begin to make our way home. Invariably, one of you will screech, “Wait!! Don’t go on Broadway–that’s the goyish way, go through Lincoln Towers, that’s the Shabbos way.” Fine, Lincoln Towers.

We get home, and again one of you is screeching, “Stop!! Don’t go in the elevator. Take the stairs, like Effie does.” Effie lives on the third floor! . . . Ten flights later, we arrive home… breathlessly, introductions are made and we take our places around the Shabbat table. You want to sing Shalom Aleichem–each verse three times, because it says so in the siddur. Fine, Shalom Aleichem three times. Then, you want Ayshes Chayil read in English–because it’s more meaningful. Fine. Then one of you has a question — “We just made kiddush in shul, why are we making kiddush a second time?” Well, to paraphrase Renee Leicht, “How the hell do I know why we’re making kiddush a second time?” After kiddush, one of you decides you’d like to make your own kiddush, because you forgot to ask me before my kiddush if I had you in mind. Fine, make your own kiddush–at the rate of three Hebrew words a minute!

Then, after washing, we sit down, and during the course of conversation, usually mine, one of you will interrupt with undeniable sincerity and politeness and say: “Excuse me, but isn’t what you’re saying Loshon Hara?” Yeah, I suppose you could say it’s Loshon Hara. Fine, no more Loshon Hara! Then you want to sing Zmiros, the ones with eight verses–all of them! Fine. Then you want to do D’var Torahs; every D’var Torah you ever heard up there you want to do. Fine. Then you want to bentch, singing each verse, “cause that’s the way Effie does it.”

Fine. At this point, I bleary-eyed excuse myself and again, with unfailing politeness you say, “Thank you for having us, we’d love to come back next Shabbos!!” You’ll be back next Shabbos all right, over . . . .

But you see, it’s not that we dislike you, Chas V’shalom (G-d forbid), it’s that you make us uncomfortable. We’re uncomfortable because after 20-30-40 years of saying Shemoneh Esrei three times a day, when we’re with you we sense that perhaps our Shemoneh Esrei has become flat, routine, mechanical, while yours is vital and exuberant. We’re uncomfortable because in the solitude of our souls we ask ourselves (and don’t believe for a second that we don’t ask ourselves), we ask ourselves if we could do in our 20’s and 30’s and 40’s what you’ve done. Could we uproot the habits of a lifetime, the occupations, change our jobs if necessary, confuse our friends, antagonize our families, just to commit ourselves to our Judaism? And if we articulate this question, few of us dare to answer it.

So, I suppose in the last analysis, we’re uncomfortable because you practice what we preach. By your enthusiasm, by your embrace of everything that’s Jewish, you challenge us. By your insatiable thirst for knowledge, you provoke us. And by your open-hearted love affair with Judaism and everything about it, you ultimately shame us.

We pray that under the inspired leadership of Rabbi Buchwald you will continue to shame us, to provoke us, to challenge us, to lead us, until the coming of the Redeemer, Moshiach, speedily in our days,

Amen.

What this is:

With brilliant humor (virtually every line is a zinger!), Hilly Gross describes what happened when he invited (as he often did) participants of Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald’s Beginners Service to his home for a Shabbat meal. Many will recognize themselves in this extraordinary piece, and just about everyone will see how these encounters profoundly impact on both hosts and guests.
This video was recorded at the 10th Anniversary celebration of the Lincoln Square Synagogue Beginners Service on February 23, 1986 held in Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Manhattan. While the audio and video quality is at times uneven, the message is resoundingly clear.

Why is it important?

Hachnasat Orchim–welcoming guests into one’s home–is one of the premiere and most fundamental mitzvot in the Jewish religion. Its origin, in fact, is traced back to Sarah and Abraham. Hachnasat Orchim impacts profoundly on Jews who are distant from their religion. Many Ba’alei Teshuvah, if not most, relate that they were deeply influenced in their quest to learn more about their identity by experiencing the warmth and beauty of Judaism in a Shabbat home setting. For many it was the Shabbat experience that made “the difference,” resulting in their religious transformation. As Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald has often said, “For the price of a chicken you can bring a Jew home.”
Welcoming guests for Shabbat and Yom Tov helps not only the guests. Hosts and host families are also impacted significantly, resulting in a higher level of commitment, and a more spiritual Shabbat for them as well.

How we can help you:

NJOP is available at any time to help coordinate hospitality between hosts and newly observant Jews or those who are just beginning to explore their Jewish heritage. We will happily offer prospective hosts copies of A Gourmet Shabbat  to use at the Shabbat table, and gladly help you answer the inevitable questions that arise at the Shabbat table (or at the kitchen sink). NJOP can tell you where local Beginners Services may be found. We will also recommend texts for Divrei Torah, or even just advise you how to successfully ask someone to be your Shabbat guest.

With brilliant humor (virtually every line is a zinger!), Hilly Gross describes what happened when he invited (as he often did) participants of Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald’s Beginners Service to his home for a Shabbat meal. Many will recognize themselves in this extraordinary piece, and just about everyone will see how these encounters profoundly impact on both hosts and guests.This video was recorded at the 10th Anniversary celebration of the Lincoln Square Synagogue Beginners Service on February 23, 1986 held in Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Manhattan. While the audio and video quality is at times uneven, the message is resoundingly clear.

Judaism

Enhance your understanding and appreciation of Judaism through NJOP’s Crash Courses, Articles, Lectures, and more! See how Judaism is not only a part of your life, but creates the person you are.

Learn more

Classes

Learn or teach about the readily available Basic Judaism Crash Courses provided by NJOP and find out how you or your community can participate.

Jewish Treats Jewish History

Discover Judaism in ways that you may not have known before. NJOP's Jewish Treats articles are created to educate others of their Jewish Heritage.

Jewish Treats Judaism

Browse our collection of Judaism Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about Judaism.


History of the State Since 1948

THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE

From May 1948 until July 1949, the newly declared Jewish State waged what seemed to be a war for survival against impossible odds. Out-manned, out-gunned and nearly friendless, the survival of the fledgling state was unlikely. The trained armies of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and contingents from both Saudi Arabia and Iraq, together with an untold number of reinforcements, battled against a make-shift army composed of sabras (native-born Israelis) and refugees, many just arriving from European DP camps.

While the odds were vastly against them, the Jewish fighters had two major advantages: the desire to survive and unity. With victims of the Holocaust streaming in with tales of horror and despair, the Jews understood that independence was their only option. If they were defeated by the Arab nations, they would be massacred, and those who survived would have no place to go. And while the Arab nations were unified in their hatred of Israel, they fought amongst themselves, each seeking to expand its own territory.

Battling for every dunam of land, the Israelis slowly drove back the Arab armies, overcoming the impossible odds and breaking the siege on the roads.
In July 1949, armistice agreements were signed with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. At the end of the war, the borders of the State of Israel encompassed a slightly larger territory than originally mapped out by the UN partition plan, but the city of Jerusalem was divided between Israel and Jordan.
While the fighting was over, there was no real peace. The Arab nations refused to recognize the State of Israel. In the divided capital of Jerusalem, gun shots often rang out. The captured Jewish quarter of the Old City was laid to ruin as the Jordanians destroyed synagogues, schools, homes and even cemeteries. The holy Western Wall was rendered inaccessible to all Jews.

POPULATION SHIFTS

Certain of their victory in the war, the attacking Arab nations encouraged the Arabs living within Israel to flee, telling them that the Jews would surely massacre them, and assuring them that after the Zionists were defeated they would have priority in acquiring the Jewish lands. Many hundreds of thousands of Arabs believed their comrade’s propaganda and fled. When the Arabs lost the war, these Arabs were now without a home. Lebanon, Syria, Jordan…all refused to take them in and declare them citizens. Instead, they created refugee camps, vowing that they would soon disgorge the Zionist enemies and “drive them into the sea.”

But the Arabs who fled Israel during the War of Independence were not the only ones who suddenly found themselves displaced. An almost equal number of Jews who had been living in Arab countries now found themselves regarded as enemies in their own countries. Driven from their homes, these Jews were resettled in Israel.

For the next decade, Israel continued to grow. The population constantly increased by a flow of Jews from around the world. Life in Israel was not easy. Basic amenities were looked upon as luxuries, and constant infiltrations by Palestinian Arab terrorist groups called “Fedayeen” took the lives of over 1,000 Israeli citizens.

1956- THE SINAI CAMPAIGN

During the early 1950s, on top of the continued Fedayeen attacks, Egypt disrupted Israeli trade by blocking shipping routes in the Red Sea and through the Suez Canal. At the same time, Egypt nationalized the Suez canal, angering the French and English.

At the end of October 1956, Israel launched the Sinai Campaign, capturing the entire Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula. Two days later, France and England joined the battle. By early November, the campaign was over, Egypt was humbled and an uneasy truce prevailed. At the insistence of the United States and the UN, Israel withdrew from Gaza and Sinai. UN troops were stationed on the Egypt-Israel border, but the Egyptians continued to hinder Israeli shipping.

1967 – THE SIX DAY WAR

In 1967, military movements throughout the Arab nations surrounding Israel made it apparent that a major Arab military attack was imminent. Egypt ejected the UN peace-keeping forces that had served as a buffer at the Israel-Egypt border, and blocked Israeli shipping in the Straits of Tiran, an action Israel had warned would lead to war. At the same time, infiltration attacks increased on the Syrian border at the Golan Heights and large troop movements in Syria alarmed the Israeli Defense Force. Throughout the Middle East there was an increase in troop movements and anti-Israel rhetoric. Soldiers arrived in Jordan from Iraq, Algeria and Kuwait.

Using diplomatic channels, Israel tried to re-open the international shipping routes to their vessels. The previously pledged support by allies, France and Britain, evaporated, and the United States was unable to create an international force to pressure Egypt to back down. Faced with a major international challenge and surrounded by increased troop movements in enemy countries, Israel launched a pre-emptive attack on June 5, 1967, swiftly capturing the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula. Ignoring Israeli pleas not to join the war, Jordan launched heavy artillery attacks on western Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Israel responded with a hard defensive push and gained control of all of Judea and Samaria (also known as the West Bank). When the Syrians attacked from the north, Israel fought back and succeeded in capturing the Golan Heights from which the Syrians had been launching terror attacks since the creation of the State.

The war ended on June 10th, again without any official peace. The State of Israel had added to its territory the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the West Bank, all areas from which there had been constant attacks against Israel’s civilian population.
Perhaps the greatest moment in the 1967 war was the unification of Jerusalem. On June 7, 1967, for the first time since 1948, Jews stood before the holy Western Wall and were free to pray. Since the unification of the city, Jews, Christians and Muslims have all had open access to the holy sites of the ancient city.

1973 – THE YOM KIPPUR WAR

Despite the noted increase in movements of Egyptian and Syrian troops, the Israeli Defense Forces deemed the situation secure enough to allow the majority of Israeli soldiers to return home and spend Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, with their families.

When the Syrians and Egyptians attacked on the holiest day of the Jewish year (October 6, 1973), the Israelis were taken by surprise, which nearly cost them the war. The Egyptians and Syrians were supported by troops from other Arab nations as well as extensive training and arms from the Soviet Union. What was originally a regional Mid-East conflict, became a battle ground for Cold War issues as the Soviet Union backed Egypt and Syria, supplying them with airlifts of weapons and advisors. At the very last moment, in response, the United States, sent Israel the military replacement parts it needed to recover from its initial losses. Israel eventually struck back and recovered, but only after suffering extraordinarily heavy losses.

Technically, the war ended on October 22, 1973, but fighting continued on the Egyptian-Israeli front. When the cease-fire went into effect, Israel had captured an additional 165 square miles of territory from Syria, and had encircled the Egyptian Third Army on the west bank of the Suez Canal. Egyptian forces held two areas of Israeli territory along the east bank of the canal. Israel, Egypt and Syria all held prisoners of war. After months of diplomacy, Israel withdrew from the area it seized from Syria during the 1973 war, in addition to some area gained in 1967, as well as from parts of the Sinai. Prisoners of war were exchanged.

THE BEGINNINGS OF PEACE

The visit of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in November 1977 was a monumental moment in Mid-East history. Sadat’s two-day visit, at the invitation of Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, began a process that ended two years later at Camp David, Maryland, when, through the good offices of American President Jimmy Carter, a peace treaty was brokered. It was the first time in history that an Arab nation recognized the State of Israel. As a result of the treaty, Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt.

LEBANON

In the late 1970s, southern Lebanon became a formidable launching zone for terrorist attacks against Israel. The continued attacks became untenable and all diplomatic resources failed to secure peaceful living conditions for the residents of Northern Israel. In 1982, Israel could endure no more, and entered Southern Lebanon to do battle with the Palestinian Liberation Organization. While numerous cease-fires were arranged in the 1980s and 1990s, each time fighting broke out again, and the security of Israeli citizens was continually at risk. In June 1985, the majority of Israeli troops were withdrawn from Southern Lebanon. A small residual Israeli force and an Israeli-supported militia remained in Southern Lebanon in a “security zone,” which Israel established to serve as a necessary buffer against attacks on its northern territory.

In the summer of 2000, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak unilaterally withdrew Israeli troops from Southern Lebanon. Hundred of members of the Southern Lebanese army, that had allied itself with Israel, fled to Israel for protection from retribution from anti-Israel forces. Since the unilateral withdrawal, there has been an increase in attacks by Hizbullah, the major terrorist organization.

THE GULF WAR

During the Gulf War, despite its non-involvement, Israel once again came under attack as Scud Missiles were launched at Israeli territory from Iraq. In total, 39 scuds landed in Israel, many of them on homes and other occupied buildings. Pressured by the United States and other international influences, Israel did not respond to the attacks. Miraculously, Israel suffered only one death.

THE INTIFADA and OSLO ACCORDS

In 1987, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), recognized internationally as a terrorist organization headed by Yassir Arafat, led an internal uprising known as the Intifada. A non-conventional war, the Intifada continued until the mid-1990s. The methods of the Intifada included guerilla warfare, terrorist attacks, stabbings and highjackings.

As the situation became unbearable for both sides, Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin agreed to meet with PLO chief Yassir Arafat. Thus began the Oslo Peace Process in 1994. Under the Oslo agreement, Israel agreed to trade land for peace. Included in the terms of the Oslo agreement were: the removal of troops and the creation of self-governed Palestinian areas, the creation (and arming) of a Palestinian police force, as well as the removal from the PLO charter of the declaration of violence against Israel. Critical to the furtherance of the peace process was an educational system based on peace. The agreement was designed to slowly move towards a separate Palestinian entity governed by the Palestinian Authority, but only after accepted steps and signs of change on both sides. Important “final status” issues were left unresolved until the initial agreement had been fulfilled.

Over the five years during which the “land for peace” transfers were expected to build mutual trust and confidence, the two sides would proceed with negotiations on the “final status” issues left unresolved at Oslo. These included some of the thorniest issues dividing the two sides: Palestinian statehood, Jerusalem, and the right of Arab refugee return.

The Oslo period lasted from 1994 until 2000. Peace talks and negotiations gave Israelis hope that peace would soon be achieved. Yet the agreements being made by the leaders of both sides were not necessarily acceptable to their constituents. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist organizations continued to disrupt any hopes for peace, staging numerous bus bombings and other attacks. Right-wing Israelis fought for their voices to be heard as they countered that “land for peace” would not bring peace. Still, the talks continued, and in the summer of 2000, Prime Minister Ehud Barak, at the behest of President Bill Clinton, offered chairman Arafat control of over 90% of the West Bank, Gaza and a shared capital in Jerusalem. The offer was rejected. Arafat wanted all or nothing.

THE AL AKSA INTIFADA

Just before Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, in September 2000, violence again erupted in what is now called the Al Aksa Intifada. The Israeli people wearied by concessions that did not bring peace, elected Ariel Sharon as Prime Minister in the elections in February 2001.

The Al Aksa Intifada took the lives of hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians. Every time it appeared that peace-talks would resume, and that the Palestinian Authority might make a serious attempt to deter the terrorism, there was another attack: suicide bombers attacked pizza shops, night clubs, cafes and Passover Seders, killing young and old indiscriminately. Gunmen infiltrated Bar Mitzvah parties, bombers blew up commuter buses — the one common thread was that the Palestinian terrorists made no distinctions. Even Arabs were murdered. Entire families were wiped out and many children were left without parents.

In 2002, Israel began constructing a Security Fence. While this move was controversial internationally, statistics have shown that there was a significant (90%) decrease in terrorist attacks from the areas where the wall was completed. The protection of human life, however, has come at a cost, as those Palestinians wishing to cross into Israel proper for legitimate reasons of work or recreation, are impeded by long backups at check points.

The Al Aksa Intifada definitively came to an end when Yasser Arafat died in November 2004. In January 2006, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a debilitating stroke, effectively ushering in a new generation of political leadership to this seemingly never ending struggle. Mahmoud Abbas became the President of the Palestinian Authority, while Ehud Olmert assumed the Prime Ministry of Israel.

DISENGAGEMENT

Perhaps the most significant action of Ariel Sharon’s government was the unilateral withdrawal of Israel from Gaza and the removal of its settlers from Gush Katif and other Gaza settlements. Over 8,000 Jews were evacuated from their homes so that the Palestinians could govern themselves in Gaza.

In preparing for the Palestinian takeover, the Israeli army bulldozed every settlement structure except for several synagogues, Israeli soldiers formally left Gaza on September 11, 2005, and closed the border fence at Kissufim. The synagogues were later looted and burned to the ground.

The absorption of the former residents of Gush Katif into Israel proper was not smooth. Housing and employment still remain a problem for many who were relocated.

Gaza itself degenerated into chaos. In 2006-2007, it became the focal point of a power struggle between Hamas and Fatah. In June 2007, Hamas, a group recognized worldwide as a terrorist organization, seized control of Gaza from Abbas’ Fatah military entity. The smuggling of arms from Egypt and constant rocket firing into Western Israel – most notably the city of Sderot – have become the norm.

THE SECOND LEBANON WAR – Summer 2006

While Israel had withdrawn its troops from southern Lebanon in 2000, the northern border was still a hotspot for violence. Hezbollah regularly sent katusha rockets into northern towns – thankfully, they often missed. In July 2006, Hezbollah terrorists attacked two Israeli border patrol Humvees, killing 3 Israeli soldiers and kidnaping 2 more, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev . This incident followed only a few weeks after Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier, had been kidnaped in Gaza by Hamas. The Hezbollah kidnaping and Israel’s desperate attempts to have the soldiers returned was the starting point of the Second Lebanon War

The Second Lebanon War lasted 33 days and was ended by a United Nations Cease-fire. All told, over one thousand people were killed, including many civilians. Over one million people on both sides were displaced from their homes during the fighting, though most were able to return when the hostilities ended.

* In August of 2008, the bodies of Goldwasser and Regev were returned to Israel in a prisoner/body exchange. The two Israelis were believed to have been dead even at the time of the Lebanese action.

OPERATION CAST LEAD

While the U.N. cease fire was upheld on the Lebanese border, the violence throughout the rest of the country did not cease. On March 6, 2008, a gunman entered Yeshivat Mercaz Harav in Jerusalem and killed 8 students and wounded 11 others. Rocket attacks out of the Gaza Strip increased, and over 12,000 rockets were launched into Israel between 2000 and 2008. As the vast majority of these rockets did not, miraculously, take any lives, the ongoing bombardment was not widely noted and condemned.

In December 2008, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, a three week military air and infantry operation in Gaza meant to end the ongoing rocket attacks and to weaken Hamas and other terrorist organizations in the region. The operation concluded with a unilateral cease-fire.

MORE RECENT HISTORY

Over the course of the last decade, Israel has faced the challenge of negative public relations and has lost important support from the North American Jewish community. Incidents such as the 2010 Gaza Flotilla raid in which Israel forcibly stopped a group of Turkish ships trying to illegally enter Gaza created much negative publicity, even if they were within their rights. One anti-Israel campaign that has gained particular popularity is the accusation that Israel is an apartheid state. Jewish university students have had to fight for Israel’s legitimacy in light of numerous calls for boycotts on Israeli products.

On a more positive note, after a 5 year multi-national pressure campaign, Gilad Shalit, who had been abducted on the Gaza border in 2006, was returned to Israel in 2011 in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian and Israeli Arab prisoners.

Our Sages have taught us that the actions of every Jew have a direct impact on the entire nation. What Jews do in America, in Canada, in Russia, in any part of the world, can help our brothers and sisters in Israel find peace.


How To Keep Kosher

Introduction

We are living in quite unusual times, especially for Jews. Remarkably, perhaps miraculously, Jews of all ages and backgrounds, are now taking steps to return to the heritage of their ancestors. Hence, the growing interest in kashruth, and kosher homemaking. While you may or may not have already decided to kosher your home, it’s important that you realize that making your home kosher is not only the fulfillment of a religious precept, but also a vital social and national action. By making your home kosher, any Jew, from anywhere in the world will feel welcome in your home, and by taking this important step, you will also be saying that you wish to identify with the Jewish people, and be a part of their cultural legacy.

One can become obsessive about almost any activity in life. Koshering one’s home can seem overwhelming, but it need not be. In fact, with all the modern appurtenances, a home can be kashered in very few hours, and even if mistakes are made, now, or in the future, they can be readily corrected. Not only your rabbi, but also many observant lay Jews are knowledgeable enough to help you, and are eager to do so.

Whatever you do, do it slowly and considerately. Ask your rabbi or a knowledgeable advisor to come to your home and explain to you exactly what is going to happen. Let him/her inspect your pantry and examine the products, and teach you how to identify kosher products and the major kosher symbols. Let the advisor review the dishes, pots, pans, utensils, silverware and indicate to you the various actions which need to be taken for kashering, which utensils may be saved and which must be discarded. Kashering your home is a bonding action with the Jewish people, past, present, and future. Be calm, relish the experience, work diligently, and before you know it you will look upon the kashering process as a wonderfully meaningful memory.

The basic principle to bear in mind when kashering is: the way the non-kosher food substances are absorbed into the walls of the utensil, that is the way it is expelled. Hence, a pot used for stewing can be kashered by boiling; a pan used for frying or baking can be kashered only by blowtorching (direct contact with heat).

How To Kasher an Oven

Gas & Electric
The most difficult item to kasher properly is the oven, because it requires an absolutely thorough cleansing. Please note the following steps in cleaning:

  1. The oven should not be used for twenty-four hours prior to kashering.
  2. Spray all internal surfaces of the oven with a chemical cleanser to remove all surface dirt.
  3. Disassemble the inner parts of the oven: remove grates, the shelf separating the oven from broiler, remove the entire broiler and its drawer.
  4. Check all of the above surfaces for dirt. Use chemical cleanser a second time, scrub with steel wool, screwdriver, and/or a scraper to remove remaining spots. Carefully check difficult areas (use a flashlight, if necessary): internal corners, door edges, the area behind the flame burners, and the grooves of the broiler tray shelves. CAUTION: Do not disturb the thermostat wire. The interior of oven should look new.
  5. Reassemble the oven. Set the oven dial at top heat (broil) for 1« hours. Unless the broiler tray is blowtorched (or heated in a self cleaning oven cycle) food should never be placed directly on it. Cover the tray with the aluminum foil or place food in a pot or pan on the broiler tray.
  6. Some have the custom of blowtorching the interior surfaces of the oven in order to assure the removal of any remaining dirt.

Self-Cleaning
Self-cleaning ovens are self kashering. Kasher the oven automatically by putting it through one full cleaning cycle, (approximately 3 hours). Don’t forget to clean the top cooking area, as indicated below.

Gas Range Tops

  1. Disassemble and remove spiders, burner jets, drip trays, and the entire oven top if possible.
  2. Clean with steel wool, soap and water.
  3. Clean the entire surface under top of the oven.
  4. Reassemble the cooking surface and ignite the fire under the spiders at top heat until they glow red (15-20 minutes). If possible, invert spiders so that they get closer to the fire source.

Electric Stove Top
Follow the above cleansing procedures. Set the electric burners on the highest setting until they glow red after a few minutes.

Cooking In A Kosher Oven

There are various customs with respect to cooking milk and meat dishes in the same oven. Some people only cook meat in their ovens, and have small toaster ovens for milk dishes.
A second custom is to wait 24 hours between the cooking of milk and meat. The most lenient custom is to wait until the oven has cooled between the cooking of milk and meat. If the milk or meat is tightly covered (e.g. aluminum foil) it is not necessary to wait. If there is any spillage of meat, the oven may not be used for milk before it is cleaned thoroughly and set at top heat, and vice versa. It is wise to line the oven bottom and check the broiler for any spillage before cooking.

Microwave
Clean the microwave oven thoroughly and put a vessel with a few ounces of water in the oven. Allow the water to vaporize into steam.

How To Kasher Silverware

Silverware made of one piece of metal can be kashered. However, any utensils with a plastic, wood, or bone handle which will be damaged by boiling water cannot be kashered. If the plastic, wood or bone will not be damaged and can be cleaned properly. it may be kashered, employing the following procedure. Clean the utensils thoroughly of food and rust (especially at the joints). Wait 24 hours. Kasher the silverware by dropping them, one by one, into a vat of boiling water. Make sure that:

  1. The water is actually boiling when you place the silverware in the vat (Remember, that placing the utensils in the vat often lowers the temperature of the water below the boiling point).
  2. Large utensils may be purged in the water, one side at a time. But make certain that the part that you are immersing is completely surrounded by water.
  3. Remove the utensil and rinse in tap water. Use tongs or place a soft wire basket into the pot to help with removal.

How To Kasher Pots and Pans

  1. Metal (not enamel or teflon) pots and pans not used for frying, which can be thoroughly cleaned, can be kashered by the boiling method described above. If there is accumulated dirt under plastic pot handles, they must be removed before kashering.
  2. Frying and baking pots and pans can be kashered by slowly and deliberately glowing the utensil with a blowtorch,by placing them in a self-cleaning oven during a full cleaning cycle (not advised). It is usually very difficult to kasher them correctly. If possible, replace these utensils with new ones.

How To Kasher A Sink

A sink made of metal can be kashered by rinsing every square inch of the sink with boiling water (the water must be boiling right before you pour it.) Porcelain sinks cannot be kashered. In both instances it is wise to purchase plastic sink tubs, one for milk dishes and one for meat dishes.

How To Kasher Counters

Counters made of nonporous material can be kashered. (Anything porous like butcher-block counter must be sanded down and then kashered.) Simply follow the procedure applicable to sinks. It is preferable not to place hot utensils directly on the counters.

How To Kasher Dishes

China, earthenware, porcelain, corningware, corrella, pyrex, duralex enamel, glazed stoneware, may be kashered only by reglazing in a kiln at 900 F for one minute, or in a self-cleaning oven for an entire cycle. Extreme caution should be exercised since very delicate items may not be able to withstand the intense heat. Valuable porcelain dishes which were not used for one year, may, in consultation with your rabbi, be kashered by dipping in boiling water 3 times.
Glassware used for cold, or for tea and coffee may be kashered by soaking in room temperature water for 72 hours, changing the water every 24 hours.

How To Kasher A Refrigerator

A refrigerator may be made kosher by thoroughly cleaning with soap and water.

The Mikvah

Metal and glassware utensils used in preparing and serving food require immersion in a Mikvah (ritual pool).

Kosher

Kashruth in the 21 century is far more than a religious ritual. It is, in effect, a profound bond that unites Jew to Jew, a most meaningful tether that secures an individual to a nation, it is the sacred energy that connects a people and a nation to its very essence.

Recipes

We know you want the good stuff, skip ahead to all the great Kosher recipes on NJOP.

Kosher

Learn more about keeping Kosher and browse our collection of delicious recipes.

Resources

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The Case For Keeping Kosher

The Case For Keeping Kosher

Kashruth – An Interpretation for the 21st Century
by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald
The recent growth in the observance of kashruth – Jewish dietary laws, despite their great antiquity, is rather unexpected. At a time when many Americans have distanced themselves from tradition, the rise in demand for kosher food is particularly surprising. But more remarkably…

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Print Kashruth - An Interpretation for the 21st Century by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald or use the interface on this page to view or download.

Kosher

Kashruth in the 21 century is far more than a religious ritual. It is, in effect, a profound bond that unites Jew to Jew, a most meaningful tether that secures an individual to a nation, it is the sacred energy that connects a people and a nation to its very essence.

Recipes

We know you want the good stuff, skip ahead to all the great Kosher recipes on NJOP.

Kosher

Learn more about keeping Kosher and browse our collection of delicious recipes.

Resources

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The Fast of 10th of Tevet

Asara B'Tevet

The Fast of 10th of Tevet

‘And it was in the ninth year of [King Tzidkiyahu’s] reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth (day) of the month, that Nebuchadnetzar, King of Babylon came, he and all his legions, upon Jerusalem…’
– Second Book of Kings (25:1-4)

When?

1) The fast begins at the break of dawn and ends at nightfall.

a) Some people get up before dawn to have an early morning breakfast (but this is only permitted if a decision to do so is verbally expressed the night before).

b) When the fast falls on Friday, most people fast until they drink the wine or grape juice of the Friday night Kiddush at the Shabbat table.

Do’s and Don’ts

1) During the duration of the fast, eating and drinking are prohibited

2) Unlike Yom Kippur and Tisha Ba’Av (The Day of Atonement and the Ninth of Av), brushing teeth (no swallowing!), bathing, annointing and wearing leather are permitted.

3) Pregnant and nursing women, and others with health restrictions may be exempt from fasting (please consult your rabbi). Children under the age of bar/bat mitzvah (13 for boys, 12 for girls) are not required to fast.

4) Special prayers are added to the synagogue services:

a) S’lichot (Penitential Prayers) and Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father, Our King) are recited during the morning service.
b) At Mincha, the afternoon service, Exodus 32:11, containing the 13 attributes of G-d’s mercy, is read from the Torah.
c) The Aneinu prayer, asking for special forgiveness, is added to the morning and afternoon services by the cantor. An individual who is fasting includes Aneinu in the silent Mincha Amidah.

Historical Significance:

The Second Book of Kings 25:1-4:

‘And it was in the ninth year of [King Tzidkiyahu’s] reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth (day) of the month, that Nebuchadnetzar, King of Babylon came, he and all his legions, upon Jerusalem, and encamped upon it and built forts around it. And the city came under siege till the eleventh year of King Tzidkiyahu. On the ninth of the month [of Av] famine was intense in the city, the people had no bread, and the city was breached.’

      • On the tenth of Tevet, the Babylonians began their siege of Jerusalem.
      • A year and a half later, on the ninth of Av (Tishah Ba’Av), the First Holy Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed.

The Tenth of Tevet marks two additional tragedies for the Jewish people:

    • On the 8th of Tevet during the 2nd Beis Hamikdash Talmai (Ptolomy), King of Egypt ordered 72 sages to translate the Torah into Greek, known as the Septuagint.
    • On the 9th of Tevet, Ezra HaSofer (The Scribe), leader of the Jews who returned from Babylonia to Jerusalem at the beginning of the 2nd Beis Hamikdash period, died.

A Friday Fast:

1) It is a general rule that no Rabbinic fast days fall on Friday so that people will not enter Shabbat while fasting. The exception to this rule is the Tenth of Tevet, which may occur on Friday.

2) That this fast may occur on a Friday, demonstrates the seriousness of mourning on the Tenth of Tevet.

a) Even Tisha Ba’Av, the ninth of Av, on which Jews mourn the destruction of the First and the Second Holy Temple, cannot fall on Friday.

b) The Fast of the Tenth of Tevet is considered more intense since it marked the beginning of the calamities. Had there been no siege, then the walls could not have been breeched (on the 17th of Tammuz), the First Holy Temple would not have been destroyed (on the Ninth of Av), and Gedaliah (the Governor of the Jews) would not have been murdered, causing the remaining Jews to go into exile (the Fast of Gedaliah – 3rd of Tishrei).

An Added Meaning

In Israel, the Tenth of Tevet is also Yom HaKaddish HaKlali, a day on which Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, is recited for people whose date or place of death is unknown, such as the victims of the Holocaust.


Spirituality at Your Fingertips

Judaism Resources

The Spirituality at Your Fingertips series provides you with a concise, uplifting and meaningful explanation of Shabbat rituals and practice. It is hoped that the guides will help you learn about essential Shabbat practices, enabling you to experience the beauty of Shabbat in your own home.

*We’d love for you to be able to enjoy these guides on Shabbat, as well as during the week. To use it on Shabbat, be sure to print your copy before sunset on Friday to stay within the Shabbat spirit.

Welcoming Shabbat:

A Guide to Shabbat Candle Lighting

Here is a great way to take a bit of the Shabbat experience and make it your own. Bring some of the radiance and spirituality of Shabbat into your home each Friday by learning about and lighting Shabbat candles. Our Guide will provide you with inspiration and illumination to welcome Shabbat with candlelight. Your Friday nights will never be the same.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Print A Guide to Shabbat Candle Lighting or use the interface on this page to view or download.

Sanctifying Shabbat:

A Guide to Kiddush and Ha'mo'tzee

Learn why we drink wine as part of Kiddush and recite the Hamotzee blessing and eat Challah each Shabbat. In this comprehensive overview, you’ll discover the reasons behind these Shabbat practices, the significance of the underlying laws and customs.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Print A Guide to Kiddush and Ha'Mo'Tzee or use the interface on this page to view or download.

Enjoying Shabbat:

A Guide to the Shabbat Meals

Ever wonder what makes the three meals of Shabbat so special? Could it be the special foods, the songs that are sung, the invited guests and the special practices and blessings at the end of the meal? You’ll find out after reading this wonderful description of the Shabbat meals.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Print A Guide to the Shabbat Meals or use the interface on this page to view or download.

Leaving Shabbat:

A Guide To Havdalah and the Post-Shabbat Experience

Shabbat ends when the sun has fully set on Saturday night, but Jewish tradition carries the holiness into the week. In this guide, you will find everything from a detailed guide of the Havdalah ceremony to introductions to unique aspects specific to Saturday night.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Print A Guide to Havdalah and the Post-Shabbat Experience or use the interface on this page to view or download.

Shabbat

The Jewish Sabbath has been called an “oasis in time.” This heavenly gift is a unique opportunity for spiritual and psychological renewal that comes every week!

Learn more

Programs and Classes

Host or join one of our renowned Shabbat programs, and find out how you, your family and your community can participate.

Resources

Discover, read, share and download our Jewish Treats Guide to Shabbat, a fantastic resource to the Day of Rest.

Articles

Browse our collection of Shabbat Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about Shabbat.