Wednesday, July 30, 2014 Av 3, 5774
Our tradition offers up contradictory reasons regarding why Chanukah is celebrated for eight days. The Mishnah (the Oral Law - written down in the beginning of the third century C.E.) states that the holiday is celebrated because of the miracle of the oil. Yet the book of Maccabees - the account written by those who participated in the rebellion against...
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According to legend, Jewish freedom-fighters holding secret meetings while plotting against the Syrians, pretended they were merely gambling. Back then, people gambled with a top - called a dreidel in Yiddish - spinning it and letting it fall to see what letter appeared on top. That is why we play dreidel games at Chanukah; it's also why we hand out...
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By:
Gail Naron Chalew, JE Feature
In the first weeks after Katrina, when my husband and I would worry out loud about our home or our "stuff," our 14-year-old son would admonish us, "Look, you are so much better off than those people in the Superdome. You shouldn't feel sorry for yourself." And he was right. We evacuated without enduring suffering, my husband still had his...
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In Israel, even secular Israelis build a sukkah - those makeshift shacks decorated with fruits. Balconies are full of them. But for many American Jews today, Sukkot is an obscure holiday that is celebrated in the synagogue at best. In ancient times, however, when the Temple was still standing in Jerusalem, Sukkot was probably the most popular Jewish holiday -...
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Torah Portion
By:
Rabbi Lisa Malik
SUKKOT, Exodus 33:12-34:26; Numbers 29:23-31 Ba-yom ha-shemini atzeret tihyeh lachem - "On the eighth day, you shall have an atzeret." The word atzeret is derived from the Hebrew verb that means "to restrain," "to be confined," "to hold back." It may refer to an occasion in which people are assembled or confined in one place. It may also mean that...
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