Begins at sunset on April 18, 2011
Tonight Jews around the world celebrate Passover. The origin and the name of Passover goes back to the Egyptian days, when the Jews were slaves in Egypt.
According to the second book of the Torah, Exodus, God unleashed ten plagues upon Pharaoh and his people in an attempt to convince Pharaoh to emancipate the Hebrews. Or as the late great Charlton Heston said, to “let my people go.”
The last …Read more
February 7-8, 2012 January 25-26, 2013 15th day of the month Shevat
The evolution of this holiday is a bit unusual. In ancient times Tu B’Shevat wasn’t really a “holy day” at all, but more of a tax day. Fruit-bearing trees were taxed differently depending on their age. And fruit could not be taken until after the tree’s third year. The fifteenth day of the month of Shevat was chosen as the “birthday” for all trees in the …Read more
Today the UK and Germany remember the Holocaust of World War II when 6 million Jews were killed in concentration camps across Europe, along with untold numbers of Roma, communists, homosexuals, the mentally and physically handicapped, and political prisoners.
January 27th marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. It is estimated that as many Jews were slaughtered at this one camp than remain on the entire European Continent today.
To this day …Read more
January 5, 2012
December 17, 2010
Wailing Wall, Jerusalem, early 20th century
The Big Guy of the three consecutive Jewish holy days is the last, the Tenth of Tevet. It is a day of fasting.
The Tenth of Tevet marks the first day of the siege of Jerusalem in 589 BC by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar (630-562 BC). The city would fall thirty months later in 587. It was actually the …Read more
December 20, 2011 December 8, 2012 November 27, 2013
Hanukkah, or “Chanukkah” as those in the know call it, is one of the most misunderstood Jewish holidays. In fact, we don’t even know what “Hanukkah” means. Many believe it means “dedication”; others say it’s an acronym for “They rested on the 25th”. (Hanukkah starts on the 25th of Kislev.)
Hanukkah is a minor holiday in Judaism–in theory if not in practice–and isn’t …Read more
October 20-21, 2011
September 29 – October 1, 2010
October 10-11, 2009
Simchat Torah means “Rejoicing in the Torah.”
The Torah is comprised of the first five books of the Bible, also known as the Pentateuch. Portions are read in the synagogue throughout the year, from the first chapter of Genesis (“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”) to the last chapter of Deuteronomy (“The Death of Moses”).
In Hebrew …Read more
15th of Tishri (October 12-19, 2011)
In the month of Tishri, Jewish holidays go from one extreme to the other. The month begins with the spirited Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) to Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), the most solemn fasting day in the Hebrew calendar. But on the 15th of the Tishri, celebrants are encouraged to eat, drink and be merry for Sukkot, the Feast of the Tabernacles.
Sukkah means ‘booth’ or ‘hut’. It …Read more
October 8, 2011 September 26, 2012 September 14, 2013
The tenth day of the seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and fast, and present an offering made to the Lord by fire. Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement…I will destroy from among his people anyone who does any work on that day.”
And, as if all the above hadn’t …Read more