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Judaism: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
What Foods Are Kosher for Passover?
Observing Passover requires a certain amount of knowledge when it comes to kosher do's and don'ts. In addition to eating matzah during your seder, Jews are prohibited from eating leavened bread during the entire week of Passover. A number of specific foods are also off limits.
What Really Happened in the Biblical Passover...
The Passover story is recounted in the biblical book of Exodus. It begins with the enslavement of the Hebrews and ends with their freedom from bondage.
What Do the Foods on Your Seder Plate Mean?
Passover is a holiday full of ritual symbols that retell the Exodus story. Many of these symbols are displayed on the seder plate, which is the centerpiece of the seder table.
Everything You Need to Know About Passover
Passover is one of the most widely celebrated Jewish holidays and commemorates the biblical story of Exodus, when Hebrew slaves were released from bondage in Egypt.
Passover Basics: How to Host a Seder
A Passover seder is a service held at home as part of the Passover celebration. It is always observed on the first night of Passover, and in some homes on the second night as well. On both nights, the seder concludes with a dinner.
The 4 Questions to Ask on Passover
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The Basic Beliefs of Judaism
When learning about a religion one of the first questions people ask is: What do members of that religion believe? This article talks about what Jews, in general, believe.
What Does This Hamsa Symbol Mean to Jews?
A hamsa is an amulet shaped like a hand, with three extended fingers in the middle and a curved thumb or pinky finger on either side. It is thought to protect against the “evil eye” and is a popular motif in both Jewish and Middle Eastern jewelry.
Ten Steps to Preparing for Passover - Passover...
If you take it one step at a time, there is no reason to feel overwhelmed by Passover preparation. Use these Ten Steps to Preparing for Passover to reduce the holiday stress.
Passover: The Forbidden Foods
For many, Passover means one thing: no bread. However, with words like kitniyot and gebrokts, confusion abounds. Get to know Passover prohibitions!
Tofu Soybean Products - Kosher for Passover -...
Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner is asked if tofu and soybean products are kosher for Passover for Ashkenazi Jews.
Who Was Jesus According to Jewish Beliefs?
Stated simply, the Jewish view of Jesus of Nazareth is that he was an ordinary Jewish man and preacher living during the Roman occupation of the Holy Land in the first century C.E.
Did Adam Have a Wife Before Eve?
According to Jewish folklore, Lilith was Adam's first wife. When she left her husband God created Eve as Adam's second wife, while Lilith went on to become the Queen of Demons.
Passover Observance in Israel and the Diaspora
An explanation as to why Passover is observed for different numbers of days in Israel and in the Diaspora.
Q. Why do male Chasidic Jews have the long side...
Rabbi Shraga Simmons is asked why Orthodox Jews wear side curls in their hair.
What Do Jews Believe Happens After We Die?
What happens after we die? All of us ask that question at one point or another. Though Judaism does not have a definitive answer, over the centuries a few possible responses have emerged.
Afikomen - Definition of Afikomen
The Afikomen is a piece of matzah that is traditionally hidden during the Passover seder.
How to Light Yahrzeit (Memorial) Candles
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Q. Why do Jews in America have two Passover...
Why in Israel do families celebrate one Passover Seder and in North America Jews celebrate two seders?
Is Baking Soda Kosher for Passover
Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner explains how baking soda can be kosher for Passover.
Asher, Chavivi, Gilad and More Popular Hebrew...
Hebrew boys names beginning with the letters A-G along with their meanings.
What Do Elijah's Cup and Miriam's Cup Symbolize...
The Passover seder incorporates a variety of symbolic items, among them, Elijah's Cup and Miriam's Cup. Learn more about these two vessels, each of which is based upon a biblical character.
Flour Kosher for Passover - Ask the Rabbi -...
Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner is asked why flour can not be eaten on Passover, given that matzo is made from flour and water.
Ayla, Dorona, Eliora, and More Popular Hebrew...
Hebrew names for girls beginning with the English letters A-E, along with their meanings.
The Most Popular Hebrew Baby Names for Girls
Naming a new baby can be an exciting (if somewhat daunting) task. Here are a few popular Hebrew names for girls to get you started.
What Is the Star of David's Significance in...
Learn more about the origin and meaning of the Star of David.
Bar Mitzvahs for Beginners
This article is about the religious ceremony and party referred to as a bar mitzvah.
How to Make Sephardic Charoset for Passover...
Learn how to make a Sephardic version of charoset, made with dried fruits and wine.
How to Choose a Hebrew Name for Your Jewish Baby
One of the many things new parents must decide is what to name their baby. Here is a brief guide to choosing a Hebrew name for your child. From the why, to the how, to the when.
Charoset - Definition of Charoset
Charoset is one of the symbolic foods eaten by Jews during the Passover seder.
Jewish How To Pages - How to Make Matzah
Step-by-step instructions on how to make kosher for Passover matza
What Does It Really Mean to Be 'Jewish?'
Is Judaism a race, a religion or a nationality?
Choose a Hebrew Name for Your Baby Girl (L-P)
Hebrew names for girls beginning with the English letters L-P, as well as their meanings.
Meaningful Hebrew Names for Baby Boys (H to M)
Hebrew boys names beginning with the letters H-M, along with their meanings and references to biblical characters with those names.
All About the Jewish Holiday of Hanukkah
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights. It usually falls in late November or December on the secular calendar.
Chai: What the Hebrew Word and Symbol Really...
: Chai (חי) is a Hebrew word and symbol that means “life.” It is spelled with the Hebrew letters Het
Meet Ruth: Judaism Convert and King David's...
According to the biblical Book of Ruth, Ruth was a Moabite woman who married into an Israelite family and eventually converted to Judaism. She is the great-grandmother of King David and hence an ancestor of the Messiah.
Why Do Some Jews Spell 'God' as 'G-d?'
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All About the Torah, Judaism's Most Important...
The Torah is Judaism's most important text. It contains the Five Books of Moses and is the source of the Ten Commandments and the 613 mitzvot.
Branches of Judaism - Denominations Humanistic...
Jewish movements, often referred to as denominations, branches or sects of Judaism, differ from each other in some beliefs and thus in the way they observe Judaism. Main movements include Secular Humanist, Reconstructionist, Reform, Conservative and Orthodox.
Conservative Rabbi - What does Jewish Law say...
What does Jewish Law say about funerals and mourning rituals during Passover?
Eating Lamb for Passover Seder
Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner answers a question asking if Jews can eat lamb for the Passover Seder meal.
Choose a Hebrew Boy's Name (N-Z)
Hebrew boys names beginning with the letters N-Z.
Choose a Hebrew Girl's Name (G-K)
Hebrew names for girls beginning with the English letters G-K, as well as their meanings.
What Is a Kippah?
After the Star of David, a kippah is one of the most recognizable symbols of Jewish identity.
Is Corn Syrup Kosher for Passover
Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner explains how corn syrup can be kosher for Passover.
What Is Sukkot?
Sukkot, also known as the Festival of Booths, is a Jewish harvest holiday that falls five days after Yom Kippur.
The Origins of the Seder
Prof. David Golinkin, President of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, writes: There is no question that the Seder, which is celebrated on the first night of Pesah or on the first two nights in the Diaspora – is the central ritual of the holiday of Passover. But what is the origin of the Seder and the Haggadah?
What It Means When You Say 'Mazel Tov!'
: "Mazel Tov" (מזל טוב) is a Hebrew phrase that literally means "good destiny" but is more commonly understood
Sweet Carrot Tzimmes
Tzimmes is an eastern European recipe for honey baked carrots. Some tzimmes recipes add prunes, sweet potatoes or even meat to the sweet carrots. It is traditional to eat tzimmes on the Jewish New Year, Rosh HaShana.
Choose a Hebrew Girl's Name (R-Z)
Hebrew names for girls beginning with the English letters R-Z, as well as their meanings.
What Does It Mean For Jews to Be the Chosen...
A look at different interpretations of what it means for Jews to be the Chosen People.
How to Search for Chametz
Step-by-step instructions on how to search for chometz.
Essential Etiquette for Bar and Bat Mitzvah Gifts
I was invited to a bar/bat mitzvah. Should I bring a gift? If so, what kind of gift is appropriate?
Bat Mitzvah: Why It's One of the Most Important...
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10 Things Everyone Should Know About Judaism
Ten of the most common questions asked about Judaism. From questions about Jewish beliefs to our most sacred text, this article is a great place to begin learning about Judaism.
How To Prepare the Passover Seder Plate
Step-by-step instructions on how to prepare the Passover Seder Plate.
Do Jews Believe in Satan?
Satan is a character that appears in the belief systems of many religions, including Christianity and Islam. In Judaism “satan” is not a sentient being but a metaphor for the evil inclination – the yetzer hara – that exists in every person and tempts us to do wrong.
How to Celebrate the Jewish Holiday of Purim
Purim is a festive Jewish holiday that celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from their enemies in the biblical Book of Esther. Purim is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month of Adar, which usually falls sometime in February or March.
What Is the Significance of Kiddush?
Kiddush is the name of a ritual that involves reciting blessings over a cup of wine. Kiddush takes place at the beginning of Shabbat and before Jewish festival meals.
Passover: The Four Cups of Wine
The reasons for drinking four cups of wine as the Passover seder are many, and here are just a few of them!
John Kerry's Jewish Roots
The story of Senator John Kerry’s Jewish past is of interest because it reflects the story of many European Jews who shed their Jewish heritage en route to America at the turn of the century.
How to Use the Yiddish Word "Verklempt"
: Verklempt is a Yiddish word that means "overcome with emotion." Pronounced "fer-klempt," people use
Meet Miriam: Prophetess and Moses' Older Sister
In the Bible Miriam is the older sister of Moses. She is also a prophetess who plays an important role in the Israelite exodus from Egypt.
Inside the Jewish High Holiday of Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur is one of the most important Jewish holidays and is one of two High Holidays. Yom Kippur falls ten days after Rosh HaShanah and is the day when God decides the fate of each person.
What Is Brit Milah (Bris)?
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On Passover, Ashkenazic Jews do not eat kitniyot, which are legumes such as rice, corn, soy beans, string beans, peas, lentils, mustard, sesame seeds and poppy seeds.
Passover Fun for Kids
Don't slave away looking for fun Passover activities for your kids, because we've got tons of fun and educational ideas right here!
Matzah Brei - Passover Recipe
Matzah brei is a Passover staple in my family. It is easy to make, liked by children, and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is best when served with cinnamon and sugar or with jam.
The High Holidays
What are the Jewish High Holidays, or Judaism's High Holy Days? Are the Days of Awe and Ten Days of Repentance the same? Are Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur part of Yamim Noraim?
Hasidic Judaism - Ultra-Orthodox Jews - Hasidism
Hasidic Judaism is one movement within Haredi Judaism. The Hasidic movement is unique in its focus on the joyful observance of God’s commandments (mitzvot), heartfelt prayer and boundless love for God and the world He created. Many ideas for Hasidism derived from Jewish mysticism (Kabbalah).
Fruit Noodle Kugel (Pareve)
This pareve Fruit Noodle Kugel, loved by adults and children alike, is perfect for both before and after the Yom Kippur fast.
Lilith in the Torah, Talmud and Midrash
According to Jewish mythology Lilith was Adam's first wife. Learn more about references to her in the Bible, Talmud and Midrash.
What Was the First Temple?
King Solomon built the first Jewish temple as a place of worship and a monument to God. It was destroyed in 587 B.C.E. by the Babylonians - a tragic event that is still remembered every year on Tisha B'Av.
Mezuzah - What, Why and How of Mezuzot
What is a mezuzah? Why hang a mezuzah? Where to affix a mezuzah? Which blessing is said when affixing a mezuzah?
What Is a Mensch?
: Mensch (מענטש) a Yiddish word that means "a person of integrity." A mensch is someone who is responsible,
When does Shabbat begin and end each week?
When does the Jewish Sabbath (Shabbat) begin and end each week? How can I find beginning and ending times for Jewish holy days?
What Is Challah?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Challah is a loaf
The Five Books of Moses
The Five Books of Moses are the biblical books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
What is Midrash?
Midrash is a form of rabbinic literature. There are two types of midrash: midrash aggada and midrash halakha.
A Woman of Valor - Eshet Chayil
A Woman of Valor, Eshet Chayil in Hebrew, is a hymn which is customarily recited on Friday evenings, after returning from synagogue and singing "Shalom Aleichem" and before sitting down to the Shabbat evening meal.
Jewish Jokes - A Priest and a Rabbi
temptations of the flesh rabbi temptation lt faith: Glossary of Jewish Jokes
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.
Meet Jewish American Mobster, Arnold Rothstein
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Q. Why do Jews say "L'Chaim" when...
Rabbi Shraga Simmons explains why Jews say L'Chaim when they drink wine.
Why did Jews stop making animal sacrifices
Why did Jews stop making animal sacrifices?
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.
Walk Through Jerusalem's Old City: Cityscapes
Enjoy a virtual tour through the Old City of Jerusalem. View photos of Jerusalem churches, mosques, burial sites, holy sites, historic sites, and cityscapes.
Who Was Vashti?
In the biblical Book of Esther, Vashti is the wife of King Ahasuerus, the ruler of Persia.
Branches of Judaism - Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism is the most traditional branch of Judaism. Orthodox Judaism believes that both the Written and Oral Torah are of divine origin, containing the exact words of God without any human influence.
Night by Elie Wiesel - Holocaust Literature -...
Night, an autobiographical account of life in the Nazi death camps, is a must-read. Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel takes his readers with him from his home, into the ghetto, on the transport, through Selections, into the concentration camps, on the Death March, and beyond. Reading this book gives one a deeper and more personal understanding of the Holocaust experience. Only with this understanding can one genuinely remember the Holocaust and thus help ensure it won't happen again.
What Is Shavuot?
Learn about the origins of Shavuot as well as modern day customs for celebrating this holiday.
What Is a Shofar?
The shofar is a Jewish instrument most often made from a ram’s horn, though it can also be made from the horn of a sheep or goat. It makes a trumpet-like sound and is traditionally blown on Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year.
What Does 'Shiksa' Mean in Yiddish?
Shiksa is a Yiddish word that refers to a non-Jewish woman who is either romantically interested in a Jewish man or who is a Jewish man's object of affection.
Sex in Judaism
What does Judaism's view on sex?
What are Tzitzit - Why do Jews wear Tallis -...
What is the Tallit - tallis - that Jews wear during prayer services?Why does Jews wear tzitzit - fringes or tassels?
What Was the Great Revolt?
The Great Revolt was the first of three major Jewish rebellions against the Romans. It eventually resulted in the destruction of the Second Temple.
What Is Rosh HaShanah?
Rosh HaShanah is the Jewish New Year. It falls once a year during the month of Tishrei and occurs ten days before Yom Kippur.
Ten Commandments
When the Israelites accepted the Ten Commandments from God at Mount Sinai, they committed themselves to following a moral code of behavior.
Tefillen on Chol HaMoed Pesach
Should one put on tefillin during the week, hol hamoed, of Passover?
Jewish Holiday Calendar 5774
This calendar contains the 2013-2014 Gregorian calendar dates for all Jewish and Israeli holidays, festivals, and days of mourning.
What to Wear to a Synagogue: The Dos and Don'ts
When attending synagogue services or a Jewish life-cycle event for the first time people often wonder: What should I wear? Find answers to this commonly asked question in this article.
Jewish Sabbath Rituals - Friday Evening in an...
An important part of Judaism is acknowledging the fruits of the earth as a gift from God. Hence, Judaism prescribes the recitation of blessings before and after eating, before enjoying fragrant aromas such as spices, or upon seeing pleasing sights such as rainbows. The blessing serves to elevate the physical into the realm of the spiritual. On Friday evening, as Jews welcome in their holy day of rest, Shabbat, blessings are recited over candles, wine, bread, children and more.
Ask the Rabbi - Reasons for Keeping Kosher
Rabbi Shraga Simmons answers a question about why Jews keep kosher.
Auschwitz Gas Chamber
Auschwitz Gas Chamber
King David
King David was the most brilliant leader of ancient Israel and the first king of a united Israel. Read a biography of this Jewish leader.
Why Are There 4 Jewish New Years?
The Jewish calendar traditionally has four new years days each with a different purpose. While this may seem strange at first glance it is not so different from the modern American calendar. We have the regular calendar year (January-December), fiscal or budget years for businesses which can have various start dates, the government's fiscal year (October-September), and the school year (September-June), just to name a few.
Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur Greetings
What are the correct ways for a non-Jewish (or Jewish) person to respectfully convey warm wishes to Jewish friends on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur?
How Do Jews Count the 49 Days Between Passover...
Learn what it means to count the Omer and how this tradition is based on an ancient Jewish custom.
What Do Jews Eat Hamentaschen Pastries During...
Hamentaschen are triangular-shaped pastries that are traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim.
Population of Jews in Ukraine - Ukrainian Jewry
What population statistics are there about Jews living in Ukraine?
Ask the Rabbi - Kosher Sushi
Rabbi Shraga Simmons answers a question about kosher sushi.
Ask the Rabbi - Clothing Worn by Jews
Rabbi Shraga Simmons answers a question about clothing worn by Jews.
Hebrew Names for Boys
Use this list of popular Biblical names and modern Israeli names to find a Hebrew name for your son.
Passover: Matzah 101
On Passover, Jews remember the harrowing experience of the Exodus from Egypt by eating matzah. How much do you know about the unleavened bread?
The Story of the Jewish Holiday of Purim
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Purim is a festive
Blessing the Children on Shabbat
In many Jewish homes a special blessing is said over the children on Friday evening as Shabbat begins. Learn how to say these blessings and why they are said.
Definition of Chutzpah (Yiddish Word)
: Chutzpah (pronounced huuts-pah) is a Yiddish word that is used by Jews and non-Jews alike to describe
Why Bad Things Happen to Good People - Judaism
Judaism can explain why bad things happen to good people - including murder.
Conservative Rabbi - Why can't Jews eat...
Why can't Jews eat corn tortillas during Passover?
Q. After the Passover Seder, what should we do...
Rabbi Jeffrey Goldwasser is asked what should be done with the Prophet Elijah's cup of wine after the Passover Seder.
Who Was Jezebel?
Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal, King of the Phoenicians, and one of the wives of Ahab, King of North Israel. Her story is recounted in 1 Kings and 2 Kings, where she is described as a worshiper of the god Baal and the goddess Asherah, and as an enemy of God's prophets.
What Is a Haggadah?
The Haggadah is a small book that is used at the Passover table each year.
Crucifixion of Jesus - Death Penalty in Jewish...
Isn't crucifixion against Jewish Law? If so, why do some think the Jews killed Jesus?
All About Judaism's Sabbath Candles
Learn how to light Sabbath candles. Why do Jewish women light Shabbat candles? Which blessings are recited. What rituals are practiced on Judaism's Day of Rest?
Q. What is the Jubilee Year in Judaism?
Rabbi Shraga Simmons explains the meaning of the Jubilee Year in Judaism.
Passover Chocolate Mousse Cake
This Chocolate Mousse Cake is a sure-fire hit, both during the week of Passover and throughout the year. We've underbaked it and forgotten to top it with the mousse, and it still gets eaten within hours.
Albert Einstein Quotes
Albert Einstein was a Jewish theoretical physicist who developed the Theory of Relativity.
High Holiday Superstitions
In ancient times and during the Middle Ages some Jews held superstitious beliefs about the High Holidays of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.
The Effects of the Holocaust on the Children of...
Evidence shows that the children of Holocaust survivors, referred to as the “Second Generation”, can be deeply affected – both negatively and positively -- by the horrific events their parents experienced.
What Is a Dreidel?
A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side. It is used during Hanukkah to play a popular children's game.
All About Marriage and Weddings in Judaism -...
What is the Jewish view of marriage? Learn about marriage according to Judaism. Learn about the Jewish wedding ceremony. What makes Jewish weddings special?
Brief Guide to the Passover Seder Service
The Passover Seder is a festive meal that is conducted in an organized way so that all the mitzvot (God's commandments) of Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) will be performed. The Torah commands Jews on Pesach to tell the story of the Exodus and to eat matzah. According to the rabbis, on Passover Jews must eat bitter herbs, eat extra matzah called afikoman, recite psalms of praise, drink four cups of wine, and demonstrate acts of freedom. This is a Brief Guide to the Passover Seder Service.
Judaism and Homosexuality
While traditional Judaism views homosexual acts as wrong, more liberal branches of Judaism are allowing for the ordination of gay and lesbian rabbis and are allowing their rabbis and congregations to perform or host same-sex commitment ceremonies.
Do Jews Believe in Sin?
There are three kinds of sin in Judaism: sins against God, sins against another person, and sins against yourself.
Passover Glossary - Jewish Holidays
Glossary of Passover terms - from afikoman to zeroa.
In the Beginning, There Was the... Androgyne?!
In rabbinic literature the androgyne was a creature that existed at the beginning of Creation in Genesis 1. It was both male and female and had two faces.
Jewish Contributions to Society
Find a small list of contributions Jewish people have made to society, from Galileo to Levi Strauss.
Passover 8 Days - Pesach Eight Days - Ask the...
Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner is asked why Passover is eight days in the United States and seven days in Israel.
The Hebrew Language
Learn about the history of Hebrew as an ancient language and the development of Hebrew as a modern language today.
What Do Candles Represent In Judaism?
Candles have many symbolic meanings in Judaism and are used on a wide variety of religious occasions.
Jewish Identity - Daughter of Jewish Father and...
Can I be considered Jewish if I am the daughter of a Jewish father and a Catholic mother?
How to Light a Hanukkah Menorah
Instructions for lighting the menorah during the holiday of Hanukkah including blessings and a list of materials you will need.
Simchat Bat
How are Jewish families today celebrating the births of their daughters? Does Judaism have naming ceremonies for baby girls like they have the bris for baby boys?
Branches of Judaism - Reform Judaism -...
Reform Judaism, a progressive branch of Judaism, differs from more ritually observant forms of Judaism in its belief that Judaism has evolved and adapted over the centuries and that it must continue to do so. Reform Judaism is the largest Jewish movement in North America today.
The 8 Most Important Things to Know About Rosh...
There's a lot to know about Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year. But if a crash course is what you're after, here are the 8 most important things you should know about Rosh HaShanah.
Unveiling Ceremony
What is the unveiling ceremony.
Four Cups of Wine for Passover Meal
When did the four cups of wine become a part of the Passover meal?
Ask the Reform Rabbi - Will I be denied burial...
Am I allowed by Jewish law to get a tattoo? If I get a tattoo, can I still be buried in a Jewish cemetery?
Becoming A Bar Mitzvah
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