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Jewish Prayers and Worship

A guide to Jewish prayers and services, as well as important rituals like putting on tefillin or lighting Shabbat candles.



The Jewish Shabbat Morning Service
The shabbat morning service is called shacharit shabbat. Learn more about the different prayers that are said by the Jewish community during this weekly service.

The Priestly Blessing
What does Judaism's Priestly Blessing and Star Trek's Vulcan Greeting have in common?

What is Havdalah?
An introduction to havdalah, a beautiful ritual that brings Shabbat to an end.

Separating Challah
Today "challah" refers to the bread eaten on Shabbat and holidays. Originally "challah" refered to the small piece of dough that was set aside for the kohen (priest) when making bread (Numbers 15:20).

Shehechiyanu Blessing
Judaism's Shehechiyanu blessing thanks God for sustaining our lives so we could experience this moment of joy. Learn more about why and when this Jewish blessing of appreciation for the gift of life is recited.

Mourner's Kaddish
The Mourner's Kaddish expresses the mourner's love of God and acceptance of God's will, even while the mourner is feeling great loss and sorrow over the death of a loved one.

What Is Yizkor?
Yizkor, which means remembrance in Hebrew, is Judaism's memorial prayer.

What Are Tefillin?
Tefillin are two small leather boxes that are worn by observant Jewish men during morning services. One box is attached to an arm and the other is affixed between the eyes, just above the forehead.

The Fast of Gedaliah
Tzom Gedaliah is a minor fast day that highlights the fact that the murder of a righteous individual is as tragic as the destruction of the Temple.

What are the 613 commandments?

Passover: Picking the Right Haggadah
The Passover seder can be a lengthy and daunting experience, so having the right haggadah can make or break the holiday. Having a haggadah chock full of fascinating facts, insights, and graphics can provide you, your guests, and your children with endless possibilities.

What is Shlissel Challah?
There is a tradition of baking the unique "shlissel challah" for the first Shabbat after Passover as a good omen for livelihood throughout the year.

The Gap Year
Check out some of these gap year programs in Israel that offer the chance to study about Judaism, Israel, and Hebrew, volunteer, travel, and more!

What is Bikur Cholim?
The mitzvah (commandment) to visit and help take care of the sick is one of the most important that a Jew can observe. Learn how bikur cholim works!

Tikkun Leil Shavuot
On Shavuot, many Jews participate in all-night Torah study as part of their celebration of the holiday that God gave the Five Books of Moses to the Jews.

The Best of Basic Judaism Books
There are dozens of "how to" and "about guides" to Judaism out there, so how do you know which one is right for you? Check out these Judaism 101 books!

Jewish Women and Tefillin
Books like Rashi's Daughters have muddied the truth behind whether women have historically or religiously worn tefillin. What's the ruling?

What is a Kittel?

What is the Mikvah?
A mikvah is so critical to a Jewish community that the Talmud prioritizes building a mikvah over a synagogue! How much do you know about mikvah?

The Shmita Year
Every seven years, farmers who own land in Israel fulfill the mitzvah of shmita by taking a year off from working their land. What is this ancient and rare mitzvah (commandment)?

What is Tzom Tammuz?
Tzom Tammuz is probably one of the lesser known of Judaism's many fast days. Occuring in the summer, it kicks off the "three weeks" in Judaism.

What Makes Wine Mevushal?
Wine might seem an unlikely candidate for concern about kosher ingredients, but a past of use in pagan ritual means kosher wine has its own rules.

Jewish Hand Washing Rituals

How To: The Three Weeks
The Three Weeks in Judaism, which start on the 17th of Tammuz with a fast and culminate with the fast of Tisha b'Av. Do you know the laws?

Finding Your Bashert
You may have heard a Jewish friend talk about the dating game and finding their bashert, but have you ever heard someone mention finding their zivug?

The Western Wall: A Quick History
The Kotel has stood as a symbol of Judaism for thousands of years, but have Jews always been able to pray there?

What is the Western Wall?
Although many think that the Kotel was an actual wall of the Second Temple, it was actually a retaining wall of the greater Temple Mount area.

Judaism's View on Suicide
Suicide is a difficult reality and has plagued mankind since the times of the Tanakh. But how does Judaism address suicide?

Jews and Shoes
One of the more peculiar Jewish traditions involves the wearing -- or not wearing -- of shoes while praying. So what does Jewish law say about shoes?

The Top 5 Most Misunderstood Things About Judaism
If a rabbi blessed it, it must be kosher, right? Check out this and four other popular misunderstandings about Jews and Judaism.

What's a Segulah?
If you've been to a Jewish celebration of any kind, you might have witnessed a segulah without even knowing it! What are they and what do they mean?


If you’ve ever been to Israel or spotted a Kabbalah-loving celebrity, chances are you’ve seen the ever-popular red thread. Do you know its origins?

Top 5 Myths About Jews and Judaism
Horns? Sex through a hole in the sheet? These myths and urban legends about Jews and Judaism could fill a library!

Shaving in Judaism
Shave and a haircut? If you’re Jewish, you have to think twice. The laws about shaving in Judaism are diverse and different communities observe different customs.

Traditions for the Month of Elul
The Hebrew month of Elul is chock full of holiness and activities that prepare for Jews for judgment on the High Holidays. Are you preparing?

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