Judaism: Most Popular Articles
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.
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.
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.
Hebrew boys' names beginning with the letters A-G along with their meanings.
Hebrew names for girls beginning with the English letters A-E, along with their meanings.
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights. It usually falls in late November or December on the secular calendar.
This article is about the religious ceremony and party referred to as a bar mitzvah.
Learn more about the origin and meaning of the Star of David.
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.
Hebrew names for girls beginning with the English letters L-P, as well as their meanings.
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 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.
Hebrew names for girls beginning with the English letters G-K, as well as their meanings.
Hebrew boys names beginning with the letters H-M, along with their meanings and references to biblical characters with those names.
Hebrew names for girls beginning with the English letters R-Z, as well as their meanings.
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.
: Chai (××) is a Hebrew word and symbol that means âlife.â It is spelled with the Hebrew letters Het
Hebrew boys names beginning with the letters N-Z.
An explanation of why some Jews write G-d instead of spelling out the word
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.
I was invited to a bar/bat mitzvah. Should I bring a gift? If so, what kind of gift is appropriate?
The term. Judaism.
Verklempt is a Yiddish word that means
In Judaism, Orthodox women cover their hair beginning when they get married. But why?
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.
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.
Is Judaism a race, a religion or a nationality?
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What is a mezuzah? Why hang a mezuzah? Where to affix a mezuzah? Which blessing is said when affixing a mezuzah?
After the Star of David, a kippah is one of the most recognizable symbols of Jewish identity.
A look at different interpretations of what it means for Jews to be the Chosen People.
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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.
: Mensch (××¢× ××©) a Yiddish word that means "a person of integrity." A mensch is someone who is responsible,
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.
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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.
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.
Hasidic Judaism is one movement within Haredi Judaism. The Hasidic movement is unique in its focus on the joyful observance of Gods commandments (mitzvot), heartfelt prayer and boundless love for God and the world He created. Many ideas for Hasidism derived from Jewish mysticism (Kabbalah).
The Five Books of Moses are the biblical books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
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.
Like many Jewish holidays, Hanukkah has accompanying food traditions. Fried foods such as sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts) and latkes (potato pancakes) are especially popular, as are dairy foods.
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.
In the biblical Book of Esther, Vashti is the wife of King Ahasuerus, the ruler of Persia.
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.
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.
The story of Senator John Kerrys 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.
This calendar contains the 2014-15 Gregorian calendar dates for all Jewish and Israeli holidays, festivals, and days of mourning.
Chutzpah is a Yiddish word that is used by Jews and non-Jews alike to describe someone who is particularly audacious or has a lot of
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.
Midrash is a form of rabbinic literature. There are two types of midrash: midrash aggada and midrash halakha.
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Singing is a wonderful way to celebrate any holiday and Hanukkah is no exception. Here are eight popular Hanukkah songs with lyrics, translations and even the melodies.
A festive Jewish holiday that celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from their enemies in the biblical Book of Esther.
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.
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.
A hanukkiyah is a candelabrum with eight candleholders (branches) in a row and a ninth candleholder set a little above the others. It is different from a menorah, which has seven branches and was used in the Temple before it was destroyed in 70 C.E.
Instructions for lighting the menorah during the holiday of Hanukkah including blessings and a list of materials you will need.
Sukkot, also known as the Festival of Booths, is a Jewish harvest holiday that falls five days after Yom Kippur.
One of the most important Hanukkah rituals involves lighting the Hanukkah menorah. Learn more about this practice and about the blessings that are said in this article.
Rosh HaShanah is the Jewish New Year. It falls once a year during the month of Tishrei and occurs ten days before Yom Kippur.
Holidays give us a wonderful opportunity share Jewish traditions and stories with our children. Here are some ideas for ways you can celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah with your family.
Abraham was the first Jew, the Father of the Jewish People.
What is the Jewish view of marriage? Learn about marriage according to Judaism. Learn about the Jewish wedding ceremony. What makes Jewish weddings special?
Find a small list of contributions Jewish people have made to society, from Galileo to Levi Strauss.
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.
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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.
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.
According to Jewish folklore, a dybbuk is a ghost or disturbed soul that possesses the body of a living person.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
The life of the man sometimes referred to as the “Mob’s Accountant.”
For converts to Judaism, one of the most pressing topics is the risk of having a conversion annulled. But is it even a possibility under Jewish law?
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.
The rabbi is the spiritual leader of a Jewish community. He or she is responsible for leading services, conducting life cycle events and serving as a counselor and role model.
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)?
According to Jewish mythology Lilith was Adam's first wife. Learn more about references to her in medieval texts and modern feminist texts.
Candles have many symbolic meanings in Judaism and are used on a wide variety of religious occasions.
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.
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Learn about common aspects of the Jewish synagogue, from the bimah where the rabbi and cantor conduct services, to the aron kodesh where the torah scrolls reside.
The Great Revolt was the first of three major Jewish rebellions against the Romans. It eventually resulted in the destruction of the Second Temple.
Hamentaschen are triangular-shaped pastries that are traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim.
Challah is a loaf of yeast-risen egg bread that is traditionally eaten by Jews on Shabbat, on ceremonial occasions and during festival holidays. The word
Rosh HaShanah is the Jewish New Year. Over the centuries it has become associated with many food customs. Learn more about them in this article.
Rabbi Shraga Simmons answers a question about clothing worn by Jews.
Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner explains why, during the Jewish wedding ceremony, the groom puts the ring on the bride's index finger.
Learn about the history of Hebrew as an ancient language and the development of Hebrew as a modern language today.
According to Jewish tradition Gehenna is an afterlife realm where the souls of the unrighteous are punished.
In Judaism, a cantor is the person who leads the congregation in prayer along with the rabbi. The position of cantor is significant because music plays a major role in Jewish prayer services.
Use this list of popular Biblical names and modern Israeli names to find a Hebrew name for your son.
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.
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?
Learn about the origins of Shavuot as well as modern day customs for celebrating this holiday.
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. Purim is so-called because the villain of the story, Haman, cast the
Add a Jewish element to your child's bedtime routine with these books, songs and simple bedtime ritual ideas.
A unique white robe-like garment, the kittel is worn by Jews on special days and during specific lifecycle events.
The Four Questions are an important part of the that highlight the ways in which Passover customs and foods distinguish the holiday from other times of the year. Although they are called
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.
The Behemoth is a mythical beast that is mentioned in Job 40:15-24. It is said to be a gigantic ox-like beast with bones as hard as bronze and limbs as firm as rods of iron.
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.
One of the most popular and well-known food customs on Rosh HaShanah has to do with dipping apple slices into honey. This sweet combination stems from an age-old Jewish tradition of eating sweet foods to express our hope for a sweet new year.
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There are three kinds of sin in Judaism: sins against God, sins against another person, and sins against yourself.
Deborah Resnick writes about Jewish women breaking through barriers, like the mehitza.
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david and bathsheba king david and bathsheba copper smelting superpower status northern tribes: Biography of King Solomon.
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.
Teshuvah is a key Jewish concept that involves repentance and new beginnings.
Judaism can explain why bad things happen to good people - including murder.
Though Judaism does not have definitive conception of the afterlife, Olam Ha Ba is one rabbinic response to the question of what happens after we die.
Learn who has led the Jewish People throughout the centuries through this Glossary of Jewish Leaders.
What does Judaism's view on sex?
Simchat Torah marks the completion of the annual Torah reading cycle and is one of the most joyous holidays on the Jewish calendar.
Biography of Rothstein, a New York businessman, gambler and mobster rumored to have fixed the 1919 World Series, and murdered in 1928.
The Leviathan is a mythical sea monster or dragon that is mentioned in Job 41.
An introduction to havdalah, a beautiful ritual that brings Shabbat to an end.
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?
Benjamin 'Bugsy' Siegel was a Jewish American mobster during the early to mid-1900's. Bugsy Siegel is also a character on HBO's
Definition of Yiddish words and expressions.
Rabbi Shraga Simmons answers a question about why Jews keep kosher.
Rabbi Shraga Simmons explains when the Jewish calendar began.
HBO's 'Boardwalk Empire' depicts several real-life Jewish characters, among them Arnold Rothstein, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel and Waxey Gordon.
Given that Jews comprise a mere 1/4 of 1% (13 million) of the world's population (6 billion) and that 99% of the world is non-Jewish, the following list of accomplishments by Jews is quite impressive.
The Seven Species are the seven agricultural products associated with the ancient land of Israel as mentioned in the Torah.
Moses, or Moshe in Hebrew, led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. The story of the Exodus from slavery to freedom is told each year at the Passover Seder. Read this biography of a Jewish leader.
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. The intergenerational transmission of trauma is so strong that Holocaust-related influences can even be seen in the Third Generation, children of the children of survivors. Page 2.
Rabbi Shraga Simmons answers a question about the number seven in Judaism.
Images of and information about modern Israeli coins.
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Latkes are potato pancakes that are traditionally fried in oil as part of the Hanukkah holiday celebration.
Many who are considering conversion to Judaism opt to commit to the seven Noahide Laws, the minimum moral duties required by the Torah for everyone.
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According to the biblical Book of Judges, Yael was the wife of Heber the Kenite. She is famous for killing Sisera, an enemy general who was leading his troops against Israel.
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.
: Naches is a Yiddish word that means "pride" or "joy." Typically naches refers to the pride or joy that
Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner explains why Jews refer to their sacred text as Torah rather than as Old Testament.
Rebecca was one of the Matriarchs (Imahot) of Judaism.
If a rabbi blessed it, it must be kosher, right? Check out this and four other popular misunderstandings about Jews and Judaism.
The Mourner's Kaddish is a form of the Kaddish prayer that is recited in memory of a loved one who has passed away. Learn more about this prayer and when it is said in this article.
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.
Most people are well aware of the 10 commandments, or mitzvot, but many do not know that Judaism has 603 additional commandments. Page 2.
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.
Resurrection was an important part of Rabbinic Jewish belief. The ancient rabbis believed the dead would be brought back to life at the end of days.
What should Christian grandparents say at the baby naming ceremony of our Jewish granddaughter?