Category: Jewish Education

Although we maintain a glossary as well, for a quick definition of a term, here we will feature some in depth explanations of topics from the every day to the once a year. If we’re missing a topic that you need help with, let us know! We want this to be a useful place for you.

History of the Jewish Menorah

menorah

Two-toned heart menorah by Gary Rosenthal One of the oldest symbols of the Jewish faith is the menorah. The first menorah in the Temple of Jerusalem was a seven-branched candelabrum that was used, not to light the Temple, but to symbolize the Jewish mission to be “a light unto the nations” (Isaiah 42:6). This artifact… Read more »

Challah

challah

One of our favorite challah cookbooks! Challah refers to a portion of dough, separated from that used to make the family’s bread, and given as a gift to the Kohen (priest). His wife would then use the many gifts from the community to make her own bread to feed their family. In the absence of… Read more »

The Mezuzah

mezuzah

The word “mezuzah” literally means “doorpost” in Hebrew. The mezuzah itself consists of the protective casing, or bayit/בית, and the sacred parchment inside, or claf/קלף. The parchment is a holy document, written by a scribe who concentrates on the spiritual meaning of each word. The text inscribed on the parchment is the first three paragraphs… Read more »

Learn About the Ketubah

ketubah

  Its history: The ketubah initially came about in the first century C.E., and was designed as a marriage contract guaranteeing a woman financial and familial support from her husband. The document was unambiguously non-mutual and served to ensure that a woman be supported throughout her and her husband’s life, and after her husband’s passing. The ketubah… Read more »

Tu B’Shvat

tubshvat

“The almond tree has blossoms and the sun is shining brightly…” השקדיה פורחת ושמש גם זורחת Tu B’Shvat is the Jewish Holiday celebrating the New Year of the Trees. It is known as the Holiday of the Trees, or chag ha’ilanot/חג האילנות, and is mentioned in the Mishnah as one of the four new years that pepper our… Read more »

Purim

purim

The Four Mitzvot of Purim “They were to observe them as days of feasting and merrymaking, as as an occasion for sending gifts to open another and presents to the poor” (Megilat Esther 9:22). On the 15th day of Adar, we celebrate Purim, a day of celebration, mirth, and joy. It tells the story of… Read more »

Counting the Omer

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From the second night of Passover until the night before the holiday Shavuot, we add a blessing to the end of each day’s evening prayer. This blessing and the verses, psalms, and mystical words that accompany it mark the Counting of the Omer. Literally, an omer is a measure of weight used during the times… Read more »