Jewish Treats Jewish History

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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.

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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.


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.


Hebrew Literacy Jewish Treats

Jewish Treats about

Hebrew Literacy

Browse our archive of Hebrew related Jewish Treats.

Hebrew

Throughout Jewish history, Hebrew has been a connection between Jewish communities around the world. For many modern Jews, learning Hebrew is the first step to reconnecting with their roots.

Learn more

Hebrew Reading

NJOP has already taught more than 250,000 North American Jews how to read Hebrew through our innovative Hebrew Reading Crash Courses (HRCC).

Learn more

Hebrew Writing

NJOP’s Hebrew Writing Crash Course is specially developed to give students Hebrew writing skills while reinforcing previous reading lessons.

Learn more

RHA/C

Read Hebrew America and Canada (RHA/C) is NJOP’s continent-wide Hebrew literacy campaign to win back the hearts of North American Jews.

Learn more

Run a Hebrew Reading Class FAQs

Hebrew Reading and Writing Courses

How to Run A Hebrew Class FAQs

While NJOP welcomes you to run our free Hebrew classes at any time during the year, we have a special Hebrew literacy campaign in the fall as part of Read Hebrew America and Canada.

What Hebrew programs are available?

Synagogues/Jewish Organizations can offer one or more of the following free Hebrew courses:

How are the Hebrew classes designed?

Both the Hebrew Reading Crash Course Level I and Level II can be offered in as few as five weeks. Each of the five classes is an hour-and-a-half long and is held on the same day and time each week. Some instructors opt to teach the Level I and II classes in additional sessions. The One Day Review and Hebrew writing courses are one day programs.

What is the cost?

FREE! NJOP is proud to be able to present our Hebrew programs at no cost to the students or the synagogues/Jewish centers offering the program.

Who can participate in these Hebrew classes?

The program is intended for members of the Jewish faith. NJOP’s mission is to foster Jewish continuity through free educational programs, and we raise funds with the commitment that our efforts will bring unaffiliated and marginally affiliated Jews back to the synagogue. We limit our courses to Jews so that we do not misrepresent our mission and our activities when we fund-raise.

Why should I offer NJOP’s Hebrew programs if my synagogue currently offers a successful year-long Hebrew course?

Your successful program most likely only engages a small portion of your membership, possibly because of the long-term commitment. NJOP’s Hebrew courses, on the other hand, can be offered in as few as one (the One Day Review & Hebrew Writing) or five (Levels I & II) sessions. It’s designed to engage those who are not prepared to attend a long-term program or who do not currently regularly attend Jewish study programs. NJOP provides you with Teacher’s Guides and lesson plans for each program, so there is minimal preparation necessary on your part. Engage your membership as well as those in your community by teaching them Hebrew and helping them reconnect to Jewish life by participating in this short five week program.

What will NJOP provide if I offer the program?

You’ll receive an email providing you with links to download the Teacher’s Guide, lesson plan, a copy of the first lesson, a press release and flyers you can personalize and NJOP’s publicity packet to help you promote the program locally. We will send you our Reishith Binah Hebrew primers after you provide us with your class roster with the names and contact information of your students. NJOP will also provide you with our mnemonic wall chart and training videos to help make your program successful.

Internet Promotion: Your class will be promoted via our website njop.org and to our social media audience of over 80,000.

Professional Assistance: Our team of trained professionals are here to walk you through the necessary steps to ensure a successful program.

What NJOP asks of you?

  1. Register your class and let NJOP know when you would like to begin.
  2. Identify a teacher and location for your class.
  3. Provide NJOP with a list of your participants’ names and addresses.*
    *NJOP needs participant names to confirm to our supporters that real students are learning to read HebrewThis also tells us how many free textbooks to send.
  4. Please note that you may not charge for the classes as this is a FREE program.

How can I offer the course if I don’t have time to teach the course?

No problem.  Find a volunteer who reads Hebrew and has an energetic and upbeat personality and NJOP will help train them to teach the course. Nearly 7,700 volunteers have successfully taught the course, and, no doubt, you have a volunteer who can do the same. NJOP will supply a free training video and will be happy to have Florence Wiener, NJOP’s Hebrew Reading Specialist speak with, and train your volunteer to successfully teach the course. Keep in mind that our classes are designed as “Crash Courses.” The Level I and Level II programs are offered in as few as five, hour and a half classes. Both the One Day Review and the Hebrew Writing Crash Course are be offered in just one day. They can fit in nicely when offered on a Sunday morning while your congregation’s Hebrew or religious school is in session.

How can I be sure that people will attend the program?

NJOP provides you with its Publicity Packet containing helpful hints and suggestions how best to publicize and promote the course. You’ll also receive flyers you may personalize and email to your membership and those in your community about the availability of this terrific program. Tell members to invite neighbors, friends, colleagues and family members to attend the program. Post the schedule for your classes in the community calendar of local newspapers and local institutions. We even send you a press release which you can personalize to inspire members of your community to participate.

What is the minimum number of participants I need in order to make this a successful program?

While we hope that you will actively promote the course and will attract a large audience, this course should be taught even if only one person participates. NJOP recognizes that you will not necessarily know in advance how many participants will ultimately attend. Nevertheless, by promoting the course to membership, and disseminating flyers, post cards and promoting the program through social media outlets, we feel confident that you will succeed in attracting participants. Consider placing ads in local newspapers and using social media to invite friends and followers to attend.

I’m interested in the program but I’d like to charge.

By providing you with the materials free of charge, we ask that you in turn do not charge. Remember that members are already paying synagogue membership fees and sometimes building fees and tuition fees for their child’s Hebrew or religious school education, so a free Hebrew program will sound like a welcome invitation. If the student is not yet a member, this is a great opportunity to share with them a positive experience with your congregation. Please note that if you do insist on charging for the program, we will be forced to charge you for the materials and we will be unable to direct participants to your class since we promote the course as a free program.

How do I register?

Sign up for your Hebrew course or call 1-800-44-HEBRE(W) to speak to your Regional Program Coordinator.

Do you have samples of the Hebrew materials?

Aleph-Bet Wall Chart
HRCC1 Sample
HRCC Sample Teachers Guide
HRCC Teachers Sample
Sample One Day Review
HRCC2 Sample
HWCC2 Sample

Learn more about NJOP’s individual Hebrew Reading and Writing Programs.

Interested in offering other NJOP programs or classes?

Learn more

Hebrew

Throughout Jewish history, Hebrew has been a connection between Jewish communities around the world. For many modern Jews, learning Hebrew is the first step to reconnecting with their roots.

Learn more

Hebrew Reading

NJOP has already taught more than 250,000 North American Jews how to read Hebrew through our innovative Hebrew Reading Crash Courses (HRCC).

Learn more

Hebrew Writing

NJOP’s Hebrew Writing Crash Course is specially developed to give students Hebrew writing skills while reinforcing previous reading lessons.

Learn more

RHA/C

Read Hebrew America and Canada (RHA/C) is NJOP’s continent-wide Hebrew literacy campaign to win back the hearts of North American Jews.

Learn more

What and When

What and When

Like Chanukah, Purim is a Rabbinic holiday in that it is not mentioned in the Five Books of Moses (although some opinions say that it is alluded to). It is, however, prophetically based, as its source, Megillat Esther, is part of the Biblical canon.

Because Purim is a Rabbinic holiday, there is no prohibition of doing creative work, as on Shabbat and Yom Tov. However, it is preferable not to go to work on the holiday.

Like all Jewish holidays, Purim begins at sunset. However, because it is a rabbinic holiday, there is no candle lighting.

Two different Purims: Purim and Shushan Purim

  • Unique to the Jewish calendar, Purim is actually observed on different days depending on the location in which it is celebrated.
  • The majority of the Jewish people celebrate Purim on the 14th of Adar.
  • Shushan and all cities that had walls at the time of Joshua’s conquest of Canaan celebrate Purim on the 15th of Adar.

A city’s population must celebrate on the day appropriate to its city.

Why:

    • The date for Purim for “cities without walls” is based on Esther 9:16-17.
    • “And the rest of the Jews in the states [not Shushan] of the king grouped together, protecting their lives, and were relieved of their enemies…on the 13th of the month of Adar, and they rested on the 14th, making it a day of feasting and joy.”
    • The date for Purim in “walled cities” is based on Esther 9:18.
    • “But the Jews in Shushan grouped together on the 13th and 14th, and rested on the 15th, making it a day of feasting and joy.”
    • While only the residents of Shushan rejoiced on the 15th, the rabbis decreed that all cities with walls at the time of the conquest share the latter date, in order that Jerusalem should also be separated out for honor.

How does this effect Purim today:

    • All modern walled cities celebrate on the 14th.
    • The only modern city that celebrates Shushan Purim is Jerusalem.
    • In order to extend the joyous celebration, many in Israel first celebrate outside of Jerusalem and then join the Shushan Purim celebrations in Jerusalem.

See details on celebrating Shushan Purim when the 15th is on Shabbat.

NOTE: Purim activities should be performed on the appropriate date for one’s city.

Purim

Purim is a holiday of fun and festivities, like all Jewish holidays it is also an opportunity to fulfill numerous mitzvot.

Learn more

Purim Workshop

Host or attend the exciting Purim Workshop provided by NJOP and find out how you or your community can participate.

Resources

Discover our exciting guide, watch videos and learn about the histories, origins and customs of Purim.

Articles

Browse our archive of Purim Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about history and tradition.


The Fast of Esther

Ta’anit Esther

The Fast of Esther

A fast day is observed in commemoration of the 3 days of fasting by Esther, Mordechai and the entire Jewish community before Esther approached Achashverosh.

The fast begins at the break of dawn and ends after the Megillah (Book of Esther) is read that night.

If one is feeling weak, one may break the fast after nightfall, prior to Megillah reading.

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

Do’s and Don’ts

  1. During the duration of the fast, eating and drinking are prohibited.
  2. Unlike Yom Kippur and Tisha B’Av (The Day of Atonement and the Ninth of Av), bathing, anointing and wearing leather are permitted.
  3. Pregnant and nursing women, and others with health restrictions are 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:
    • Slichot (Penitential Prayers) and Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father, Our King) are recited.
    • At the afternoon service, Exodus 32:11, containing the 13 attributes of G-d’s mercy, is read from the Torah.
    • The Aneinu prayer asking for special forgiveness is added to the morning and afternoon services by the prayer leader. An individual who is fasting includes Aneinu in the blessing of Sh’ma Koleinu when saying Mincha.

If the Fast of Esther falls on Shabbat, the fast is observed on the Thursday before, as it is forbidden to fast on Shabbat (with the exception of Yom Kippur).

Purim

Purim is a holiday of fun and festivities, like all Jewish holidays it is also an opportunity to fulfill numerous mitzvot.

Learn more

Purim Workshop

Host or attend the exciting Purim Workshop provided by NJOP and find out how you or your community can participate.

Resources

Discover our exciting guide, watch videos and learn about the histories, origins and customs of Purim.

Articles

Browse our archive of Purim Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about history and tradition.


Shabbat Parashat Zachor

Shabbat Parashat Zachor

The Sabbath of Remembering

Shabbat Parashat Zachor – The Sabbath of Remembering is named for the special Torah reading that is added to the Shabbat morning Torah service. Zachor is always the Shabbat before Purim.

In addition to the regular weekly Torah reading, Deuteronomy 25:17-19 is read which commands the Jewish people to remember that the nation of Amalek attacked the elderly and weak of the Jewish people three days after the Jews crossed the Red(Reed) Sea. Amalek is a wicked people whose memory must be erased from the world.

    • Not only was Amalek the first nation to attack the Jewish people after witnessing the miracles of the ten plagues in Egypt and the splitting of the sea, but they attacked from behind, aiming at the weak and the stragglers.
    • The nation of Amalek is considered Israel’s opposing force in the world – something akin to evil incarnate.
      Parashat Zachor is read on the Shabbat before Purim because Haman was the direct descendent of Agag the Amalekite king who was defeated, but temporarily spared, by King Saul (as recorded in Samuel I 15).

While women are not obligated to hear Parashat Zachor, because they are not obligated in the commandments of war, it has become obligatory since Jewish women have taken it upon themselves to hear the parasha.

For a more in-depth discussion of this see: Hanging Haman: The Commandment to Wipe Out Amalek

Purim

Purim is a holiday of fun and festivities, like all Jewish holidays it is also an opportunity to fulfill numerous mitzvot.

Learn more

Purim Workshop

Host or attend the exciting Purim Workshop provided by NJOP and find out how you or your community can participate.

Resources

Discover our exciting guide, watch videos and learn about the histories, origins and customs of Purim.

Articles

Browse our archive of Purim Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about history and tradition.


Shabbat Parashat Shekalim

Shabbat Parashat Shekalim

The Sabbath of the Shekels

The Sabbath of the Shekels is named for the special Torah reading that is added to the Shabbat morning Torah service, Shekalim is always read on Rosh Chodesh (the beginning of the month of) Adar or on the Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh Adar.

In addition to the regular weekly Torah reading, Exodus 30:11-16 is read, which commands that a census be taken of the Jewish people through the giving of a half-shekel by all men over the age of 20. The money was then to be used for the work in the Tabernacle and later for the communal sacrifices in the Holy Temple.

    • Each person had to give a half-shekel at the time of the census (i.e. no “payment plans”).
    • Everyone gave the same amount – the rich could not give more and the poor could not give less.
    • The census counted every male over the age of 20 under the assumption that every male over the ago of 20 had established a household, thus the census counted all Jewish households.

Why we read Shekalim at the very beginning or just before the month of Adar :

    • In the time of the Temple, the half-shekel was contributed during the month of Adar, so the reading of Shekalim served as an announcement of the upcoming obligation. The contribution was made in Adar, because the fiscal year of the Temple began in the month that followed, Nisan.
    • The sages teach that Haman A chashverosh offered 10,000 silver pieces for the right to destroy the Jews, assuming this would off-set the total sum of the Jews’ half-shekel donation in the wilderness.

Purim

Purim is a holiday of fun and festivities, like all Jewish holidays it is also an opportunity to fulfill numerous mitzvot.

Learn more

Purim Workshop

Host or attend the exciting Purim Workshop provided by NJOP and find out how you or your community can participate.

Resources

Discover our exciting guide, watch videos and learn about the histories, origins and customs of Purim.

Articles

Browse our archive of Purim Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about history and tradition.


Hebrew Reading Crash Course Bonus Class

Hebrew Reading Crash Course

Bonus Class

Welcome to NJOP’s Bonus Class for Read Hebrew America’s Hebrew Reading Crash Courses!
We’ve included a list of more than 100 words and phrases that every Jew should know. You will find the female version of the word or phrases in parenthesis.

(Swipe Left and Right)

Explanation Transliteration Hebrew
Miscellaneous Words
Conversation seecha
Don’t worry ahl tid’ag
No problem! ain b’aya
Okay b’seder
Everything is okay ha’kol’ b’seder
One day at a time yom yom
So, so kacha, kacha
Quiet sheket
This is, that’s it zeh’hoo
Best wishes for success b’hatzlacha
Thank G-d baruch Hashem
100% may’ah ah’chooz
Lovely, fine, wonderful, very nice yoh’fee
It will be good yeeh’yeh tohv
Certainly, of course b’vah’die
It’s a pleasure, it was pleasant na’eem m’ohd
Peace, goodbye, hello shalom
How are you? mah sh’lohm’cha
(sh’loh’maych)
What is your name? aych kohrim
lecha (lach)
Where are you from? may’ayin atah (aht)
Really b’emet
Maybe oo’lie
May it be at a good time b’sha’ah tovah
Welcome b’roochim ha’ba’im
Thank you very much todah rabbah
Please, you’re welcome, don’t mention it b’vakasha
Excuse me, forgiveness s’licha
It’s nothing ahl lo davar
One more time, again ohd pa’am
Together b’yachad בְּיַחַד
Patience, tolerance savla’noot
See you again, goodbye l’hitra’oht
What’s doing? mah nishma?
How much does this cost? kah’mah zeh oleh
There is nothing that can be done ayn mah la’asoht
Nerve (What nerve!) chutz’pah
Have a good trip, bon voyage
Related Jewish Treat
n’siyah tovah
Best wishes for a speedy recovery, complete recovery (lit.) refu’ah shelaymah
G-d bless you – To your health (said after a sneeze)
Related Jewish Treat
livree’oot
Marriage
Wedding chah’too’nah
Bride
Related Jewish Treat
kallah
Groom
Related Jewish Treat
chatan
Celebration, happiness, joy simcha
Ketuba – Jewish marriage contract
Related Jewish Treat
k’toovah
Chupah – marriage canopy chupah
Rav – Rabbi
Related Jewish Treat
Rav
Chazzan – Cantor Chazzan
Good luck, congratulations mazal tov
To your health, cheers, to life (lit.)
Related Jewish Treat
l’chayim
Joyous Occasions
Family mishpacha
Daughter
Related Jewish TreatRelated Jewish Treat
bat
Son bayn
Circumcision
Related Jewish Treat
b’rit meelah
Circumciser, Mohel
Related Jewish Treat
mohel
Religious duty, obligation, colloquial – good deed mitzvah/mitzvot (pl.)
Bat Mitzvah
Related Jewish Treat
bat mitzvah
Bar Mitzvah
Related Jewish Treat
bar mitzvah
Skullcap, yarmulkah
Related Jewish Treat
keepah
Tefillin, phylacteries
Related Jewish Treat
te’fillin
Seudah – festive meal
Related Jewish Treat
se’oodah
Happy Birthday
Related Jewish Treat
Yom Hooledet Sameach
Death
Kaddish (prayer said by mourner daily or on Yahrzeit Kaddish
Yizkor – remember (memorial prayer) Yizkor
FuneralRelated Jewish Treat l’vaya
Seven (days of mourning)Related Jewish TreatRelated Jewish Treat shiv’a
State of mourning ah’vay’loot
Yahrzeit (Yiddish for the annual memorial of the day of passing) Yom Hashana
Shabbat
Shabbat – SabbathRelated Twebrew School PostRelated Twebrew School Post shabbat
Bracha – blessing b’racha
CandlesRelated Twebrew School PostRelated Twebrew School PostRelated Twebrew School Post nay’roht
Kabbalat Shabbat – inauguration of the Sabbath Kabbalat Shabbat
WineRelated Twebrew School Post yah’yin
Kiddush – blessing said over wine
Related Twebrew School Post
Kee’doosh
Challah – loaf of bread eaten on ShabbatRelated Twebrew School Post challah
Ha’motzee – the blessing on breadRelated Twebrew School Post Ha’motzee
AmenRelated Jewish Treat ah’main
Zemirot – religious songs (sung at Shabbat table)Related Twebrew School Post Z’mee’roht
Grace After MealsRelated Jewish Treat Beerchat Ha’mahzone
Peaceful Shabbat (greeting) shabbat shalom
Havdalah – prayer at the end of ShabbatRelated Jewish Treat Havdallah
Have a good weekRelated Jewish Treat shavoo’ah tov
Synagogue
SynagogueRelated Jewish Treat bayt k’nesset
Tefilah – prayer t’feelah
The Holy ArkRelated Jewish Treat Aron Ha’kohdesh
TorahRelated Jewish Treat Torah
Siddur – prayer bookRelated Jewish Treat See’doohr
Aliya – being called up to the Torah * see Israel section for another translation of AliyaRelated Jewish Treat Ah’lee’ah
Parsha – portion of the Torah (scripture)Related Jewish Treat parashah פָּרָשַׁת הַשָּׁבוּעַ
Minyan – group of ten adults needed for prayerRelated Jewish Treat minyahn
Talit – Jewish prayer shawl talit
Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah – head of the year, Jewish New YearRelated Jewish Treat Rosh hashanah
Tashlich – prayer associated with casting away one’s sins Tashlich
Return, repentanceRelated Jewish TreatRelated Jewish Treat t’shuvah
Tzedakah – charityRelated Jewish TreatRelated Jewish Treat tzedakah
Shofar – ram’s hornRelated Jewish Treat shofar
(A blessing for) a good and sweet yearRelated Jewish Treat shana tova
oo’m’too’kah
Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur – Day of AtonementRelated Jewish Treat Yom Kippur
Kol Nidrei prayer – a prayer about nullifying vows – all vows (lit.)Related Jewish Treat Kol Nidrei
High Holidays – Days of Awe Yamin No’rah’im
Sukkot
Sukkot – TabernaclesRelated Jewish Treat Soo’coat
Lulav – palm branchRelated Jewish Treat Loolav
Etrog – citronRelated Jewish Treat Etrohg אתרוג
Dancing in a circle with the Torah on the holiday of Simchat Torah (le’ha’keef – to surround)Related Jewish Treat Hakafot הקפות
Sukkah – hutRelated Jewish Treat Soo’kah סוּכָּה
Chanukah
Chanukah – Festival of LightsRelated Jewish Treat Chanukah
Donuts soof’gahnee’oat
Dreidel – spinning topRelated Jewish Treat s’vee’vohn
Menorah – lampRelated Jewish Treat Menorah
Latkes – potato pancakes L’vee’voat
Purim
PurimRelated Jewish Treat Poorim
Mishloach Manot – gifts of food given on PurimRelated Jewish Treat Mishloach Ma’noat
The book of EstherRelated Jewish Treat Megillat Esther
Passover
PassoverRelated Jewish Treat Peh’sach
Seder – order, name of special meal and proceedings for the first and second nights of PassoverRelated Jewish Treat Say’dehr
Haggadah – Telling (of the story)Related Jewish Treat Haggadah
Mah Nishtana – Why is this different?, song sung at the sederRelated Jewish Treat Mah Nishtana
Dayeinu – enough – song sung at the seder da’yay’noo
Bitter herbsRelated Jewish Treat Maror
Afikoman – piece of matzah eaten as dessert at the seder Ahfee’ko’man
Elijah’s CupRelated Jewish Treat Kos Shel Ay’lee’yahoo
Shavuot
Shavuot, Pentacost, weeks(lit.)Related Jewish Treat Sha’voo’oat
The Book of RuthRelated Jewish Treat Megillat Root
Mt. SinaiRelated Jewish TreatRelated Jewish Treat Hahr Sinai
The Ten CommandmentsRelated Jewish Treat Aseret Ha’dib’roat
Israel
Israel Yisrael
Land of Israel Eh’retz Yisrael
State of IsraelRelated Jewish Treat M’deenat Yisrael
“*Aliya – immigration to Israel see “sanctuary” section for another translation of Aliya” Ah’lee’ah
JerusalemRelated Jewish Treat Y’roo’sha’lah’yim
Kotel – The Wall, The Western WallRelated Jewish Treat Ha’koh’tel
Hatikvah – The Hope, Israel’s National AnthemRelated Jewish Treat Ha’tikvah

(Swipe Left and Right)

Hebrew

Throughout Jewish history, Hebrew has been a connection between Jewish communities around the world. For many modern Jews, learning Hebrew is the first step to reconnecting with their roots.

Learn more

Hebrew Reading

NJOP has already taught more than 250,000 North American Jews how to read Hebrew through our innovative Hebrew Reading Crash Courses (HRCC).

Learn more

Hebrew Writing

NJOP’s Hebrew Writing Crash Course is specially developed to give students Hebrew writing skills while reinforcing previous reading lessons.

Learn more

RHA/C

Read Hebrew America and Canada (RHA/C) is NJOP’s continent-wide Hebrew literacy campaign to win back the hearts of North American Jews.

Learn more

The Seder Plate

The Sedar Plate

With today’s vast variety of Passover products, grape flavored matzah, chocolate covered matzah, and other assorted flavors of matzah may be readily available. For the Seder, however, plain matzah, made only of flour and water, must be used.

Several items can be found on all Seder tables:
Three Matzahs
Three unbroken matzahs are placed on a plate and covered.

Why Three?

Three matzot are placed on the Seder table in order to properly fulfill two separate mitzvot (commandments). Two whole, unbroken matzot are necessary to make the Festival motzee (blessing over bread). The mitzvah of eating matzah, however, is fulfilled with a piece from a broken matzah, symbolizing that matzah is “the bread of affliction.”
Traditionally, the three matzot represent the division of the Jewish nation into Kohain (priests), Levi (priestly assistants) and Israel (the remaining tribes). By representing all Jews at the Seder, one is reminded of the importance of Jewish unity.

Wine (grape juice) and wine glasses – All participants should be given a glass or cup (minimum size of 3.3 ounces) from which to drink the required Four Cups of Wine (preferably, or grape juice if necessary). Of course, only Kosher for Passover wine should be used. While many are only familiar with the wine sold in supermarkets before Passover, there are many exotic varieties of kosher wine available appealing to all wine drinkers’ tastes.
The requirement of four cups of wine at the Passover Seder is based on the four stages by which G-d redeemed the Jews from slavery, as described in Exodus 6:6-7: “Therefore say to the Children of Israel: ‘I am G-d and I will take you out from beneath the burdens of Egypt, and I will save you from their servitude, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and great judgements, and I will take you for Me for a people…'”

One must drink each of the four cups in its appropriate place in the Seder:

The First Cup – is designated for Kiddush, the prayer said over wine or grape juice to sanctify the holiday.

The Second Cup – is consumed after maggid, the section in which we tell the story of the exodus, as a way of praising G-d. A second blessing on the wine is made because significant time has passed since the first cup.

The Third Cup – is blessed after bentching (birkat hamazon), the Grace After Meals. It is customary that after bentching as a group, a cup of wine or grape juice is blessed and consumed by the person who leads the bentching, but only at the Seder does everyone drink the wine.

The Fourth Cup – is consumed at the conclusion of Hallel, the section psalms praising G-d.
A fifth cup of wine, known as the Cup of Elijah, is filled towards the end of the Seder, representing the fifth language of redemption, “and I will bring you to the land” (Exodus 6:8).
If kosher wine varieties are not available in your locale, visit www.kosherwine.com.

The Shank Bone – The ancient Egyptians considered the lamb to be a holy (Divine) animal. Before the tenth plague, the slaying of the first born, Jews were instructed to prepare a lamb for a feast and to smear some of its blood on the doorpost of their house so that they would be “passed over.” This symbolizes the people’s trust in G-d and rejection of idol worship. The offering brought to the Temple on Passover was, therefore, a lamb. Because we do not have the Temple today, we place the shank bone of a lamb or the bone of another kosher animal or fowl on the Seder plate to symbolize that offering.

Charoset – A tasty mixture of chopped walnuts, wine, cinnamon and apples that represents the mortar the Jewish slaves used to build Pharaoh’s cities (recipes may vary by community).

Karpas – A vegetable, usually a piece of celery, parsley or potato, which is dipped in salt water as required for the Seder ritual.

Salt Water – in which to dip the Karpas. The Talmud states that a main reason for dipping the karpas is to stimulate the children to ask questions. Salt water also represents the tears of the Jewish slaves.

Roasted (hard boiled) egg – The egg is included as a symbol of the cycle of life, because of its rounded shape. Passover marks the formation of the Jewish nation, as well as the beginning of spring and a new cycle of the earth’s growing seasons. It is also symbolic of the nature of the Jewish people — the more you boil it, the harder it gets. The more the Jewish people are persecuted, the more resistant they become, and their loyalty to G-d increases.

Maror – Bitter herbs are part of the Seder to remind participants of the bitterness and pain of slavery. On the Seder plate, many people place both fresh horseradish and romaine lettuce (which has a bitter tasting root).

Elijah’s Cup – Not actually part of the Seder plate, Elijah’s cup is a central feature of the Seder ritual. It represents the fifth language of redemption cited in Exodus 6:8 “and I will bring you to the land.” Toward the end of the Seder, this cup is filled with wine, the door is opened, and Elijah the prophet, the harbinger of the Messianic age, is invited to come and begin our final redemption.

Passover

The holiday of Passover commemorates the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt which led to the birth of the Jewish nation at Sinai. The Passover Seder, which is held on the first (and second night outside of Israel) of Passover, is perhaps the most widely observed Jewish practice. This outline will provide you with the basics of the Passover holiday, laws and customs.

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Programs and Classes

Host or attend the exciting Passover 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 Passover.

Articles

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


The Interactive Hebrew Alphabet

The Interactive

Hebrew Alphabet

Click on the letter to hear how it sounds.

Pronunciation is according to Sephardic Israeli pronunciation.

Hebrew is read from right to left, but the letters are presented here from left to right.

Hebrew

Throughout Jewish history, Hebrew has been a connection between Jewish communities around the world. For many modern Jews, learning Hebrew is the first step to reconnecting with their roots.

Learn more

Hebrew Reading

NJOP has already taught more than 250,000 North American Jews how to read Hebrew through our innovative Hebrew Reading Crash Courses (HRCC).

Learn more

Hebrew Writing

NJOP’s Hebrew Writing Crash Course is specially developed to give students Hebrew writing skills while reinforcing previous reading lessons.

Learn more

RHA/C

Read Hebrew America and Canada (RHA/C) is NJOP’s continent-wide Hebrew literacy campaign to win back the hearts of North American Jews.

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Twebrew School Orientation

Orientation for

Twebrew School

Twitter + Hebrew School = Twebrew School

NJOP decided to put a twist on Hebrew School by recreating it for the Twitter generation. With bite-sized (just over Twitter’s 140 character limit) lessons about each Hebrew letter and short YouTube videos with a real Hebrew School teacher, you can learn how to read Hebrew at your own comfortable pace. A great refresher for Hebrew Reading Crash Course Graduates!

Finding your way around Twebrew School
New to Twebrew School? Start by watching this introductory video where you’ll learn the How’s and Why’s of our Twebrew School approach!

Enroll in Twebrew School

And receive a copy of our corresponding textbook, the Reishith Binah.

Video Lessons
Follow the links to the “Treat” where you’ll learn more about the letters discussed in each video.

Hebrew

Throughout Jewish history, Hebrew has been a connection between Jewish communities around the world. For many modern Jews, learning Hebrew is the first step to reconnecting with their roots.

Learn more

Hebrew Reading

NJOP has already taught more than 250,000 North American Jews how to read Hebrew through our innovative Hebrew Reading Crash Courses (HRCC).

Learn more

Hebrew Writing

NJOP’s Hebrew Writing Crash Course is specially developed to give students Hebrew writing skills while reinforcing previous reading lessons.

Learn more

RHA/C

Read Hebrew America and Canada (RHA/C) is NJOP’s continent-wide Hebrew literacy campaign to win back the hearts of North American Jews.

Learn more