Friday April 11, 2014
With just a few days left, Jews everywhere are busy with last-minute cleaning and recipe planning. Whether you're observing the holiday or not, there are some interesting tidbits about the holiday out there.
Head over to Matzah 101 for all of the details about the different types of matzah available and which are forbidden when. Also, do you know what foods are forbidden on Passover? Many people think it's just bread, but those people would be wrong! Read more about kitniyot and gebrokts here.
Looking for a haggadah for the seder? We've got some suggestions and explanations for you. If you're feeling like a little fun and have some children (big or small) at your seder, my husband suggests The Children's Haggadah. (He'll always be a child at heart!
However you do or don't celebrate, enjoy the beautiful beginnings of Spring!
Sunday March 30, 2014
Passover is right around the corner (only a few weeks away), which means I'll be busy filling in all the gaps of Passover content in the coming month. So far, I've looked into why Jews drink four cups of wine at the seder and why there are three matzot at the seder, too.
There are a lot of interesting quirks to the seder and a bevy of reasons why Jews do many different things. The Haggadah is a gem of fascinating traditions and storytelling.
Do you have a question about Passover? Let me know!
Friday March 28, 2014
I have a particular fascination with the Middle Ages and, paired with conversion narratives, I've found some excellent bits of history over the years.
It might not be your cup of tea, but you might find it fascinating to know that conversion TO Judaism during the Middle Ages was pretty rare. In many places the persecution was intense and it was simply too dangerous to even consider converting. In other places it was unlawful to convert out of Islam or Christianity. Luckily there were communities known for taking in and providing for these refugee converts.
One of the most detailed accounts of conversion to Judaism comes in the form of Obadiah, whose story was found in the Cairo Genizah -- an amazing collection of records and one-of-a-kind stories of Medieval people living in and around Egypt.
Read more about Obadiah and the experience of other medieval converts and how the commitment to charitable giving in Fustat-Misr, Egypt made life as a convert a tad easier!
Wednesday March 19, 2014
As a convert to Judaism myself, I get a lot of emails from people asking whether, instead of converting, I'd considered following the seven Noahide Laws. These laws are considered by the great sages of Judaism to be universal moral commitments that everyone should undertake as the descendants of original man, Adam, and the eldest surviving progenitor of the flood, Noah.
For me, there was no doubt in my mind about converting completely and wholly to Judaism -- seven Noahide Laws and the other 606 that went with it. That being said, I also didn't know much about the Noahide Laws when I had my first conversion through the Reform movement. Would things be different had I known? Probably not. And now, here I am a hair covering Jewish woman. Who would have thunk it?
Speaking of conversion, have you ever encountered Rahab? Her name means broad and she is considered by the rabbis of the Talmud to be one of the most prolific and awesome converts to Judaism. Her narrative in the Jewish bible is pretty short, but the stories that are wound around her are extensive and fascinating. The rabbis say that Rahab, who was a prostitute, converted to Judaism after the conquest of Jericho by Joshua and gave birth to generations of prophets, including Jeremiah.
How much do you know about conversion to Judaism? Have questions? Just ask!