Judaism: Most Popular Articles
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.
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.
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.
Rabbi Shraga Simmons is asked why Orthodox Jews wear side curls in their hair.
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.
This article is about the religious ceremony and party referred to as a bar mitzvah.
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 L-P, as well as their meanings.
Learn more about the origin and meaning of the Star of David.
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 names for girls beginning with the English letters R-Z, as well as their meanings.
Hebrew boys names beginning with the letters N-Z.
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.
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.
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?
: Chai (××) is a Hebrew word and symbol that means âlife.â It is spelled with the Hebrew letters Het
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.
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights. It usually falls in late November or December on the secular calendar.
An explanation of why some Jews write G-d instead of spelling out the word
Verklempt is a Yiddish word that means
The term. Judaism.
Is Judaism a race, a religion or a nationality?
Rosh HaShanah is the Jewish New Year. It falls once a year during the month of Tishrei and occurs ten days before Yom Kippur.
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.
A look at different interpretations of what it means for Jews to be the Chosen People.
After the Star of David, a kippah is one of the most recognizable symbols of Jewish identity.
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.
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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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.
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.
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The Five Books of Moses are the biblical books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
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 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.
: Mensch (××¢× ××©) a Yiddish word that means "a person of integrity." A mensch is someone who is responsible,
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).
When the Israelites accepted the Ten Commandments from God at Mount Sinai, they committed themselves to following a moral code of behavior.
What is a mezuzah? Why hang a mezuzah? Where to affix a mezuzah? Which blessing is said when affixing a mezuzah?
When does the Jewish Sabbath (Shabbat) begin and end each week? How can I find beginning and ending times for Jewish holy days?
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.
What is the Tallit - tallis - that Jews wear during prayer services?Why does Jews wear tzitzit - fringes or tassels?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Judaism can explain why bad things happen to good people - including murder.
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.
In the biblical Book of Esther, Vashti is the wife of King Ahasuerus, the ruler of Persia.
Sukkot, also known as the Festival of Booths, is a Jewish harvest holiday that falls five days after Yom Kippur.
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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.
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 most important Rosh HaShanah words and terms for you to know.
Elul, the last month of the Hebrew year, is the month preceding Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur.
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.
Find a small list of contributions Jewish people have made to society, from Galileo to Levi Strauss.
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.
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?
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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.
If a rabbi blessed it, it must be kosher, right? Check out this and four other popular misunderstandings about Jews and 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.
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?
A festive Jewish holiday that celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from their enemies in the biblical Book of Esther.
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What is the Jewish view of marriage? Learn about marriage according to Judaism. Learn about the Jewish wedding ceremony. What makes Jewish weddings special?
Rabbi Shraga Simmons explains why Jews say L'Chaim when they drink wine.
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.
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.
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.
Teshuvah is a key Jewish concept that involves repentance and new beginnings.
Midrash is a form of rabbinic literature. There are two types of midrash: midrash aggada and midrash halakha.
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.
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
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.
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.
Learn about the history of Hebrew as an ancient language and the development of Hebrew as a modern language today.
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?
Use this list of popular Biblical names and modern Israeli names to find a Hebrew name for your son.
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.
Abraham was the first Jew, the Father of the Jewish People.
What does Judaism's view on sex?
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.
Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner explains why, during the Jewish wedding ceremony, the groom puts the ring on the bride's index finger.
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
What are Sheva Brachot? What are the Seven Blessings recited at Jewish Weddings?
Virtually experience a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony. This step-by-step guide shows how Jewish weddings are celebrated.
Haredi Judaism is often translated as ultra-Orthodox Judaism, although Haredi Jews themselves object to this translation. Haredi Jews consider themselves to be the true Jews, and consider all the more liberal forms of Judaism to be unauthentic. Learn more about Haredim.
The Great Revolt was the first of three major Jewish rebellions against the Romans. It eventually resulted in the destruction of the Second Temple.
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Rabbi Ari Enkin is asked why Jewish families cover their mirrors after someone dies.
Albert Einstein was a Jewish theoretical physicist who developed the Theory of Relativity.
The life of the man sometimes referred to as the “Mob’s Accountant.”
According to Jewish folklore, a dybbuk is a ghost or disturbed soul that possesses the body of a living person.
This calendar contains the 2013-2014 Gregorian calendar dates for all Jewish and Israeli holidays, festivals, and days of mourning.
Rabbi Shraga Simmons explains the meaning of the Jubilee Year in Judaism.
Rabbi Shraga Simmons answers a question about same sex relations or homosexuality in Judaism.
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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?
Rabbi Shraga Simmons answers a question about why Jews keep kosher.
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.
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?
These suggestions for ways to observe Elul may help prepare you spiritually for the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah and Jewish Day of Atonement Yom Kippur.
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.
Instructions for lighting the menorah during the holiday of Hanukkah including blessings and a list of materials you will need.
Rabbi Shraga Simmons answers a question about clothing worn by Jews.
Why did Jews stop making animal sacrifices?
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?
Rabbi Shraga Simmons answers a question about the number seven in Judaism.
The Leviathan is a mythical sea monster or dragon that is mentioned in Job 41.
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.
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Tashlich is a ritual that traditionally takes place on the first day of Rosh HaShanah.
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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.
Biography of Rothstein, a New York businessman, gambler and mobster rumored to have fixed the 1919 World Series, and murdered in 1928.
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.
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.
Candles have many symbolic meanings in Judaism and are used on a wide variety of religious occasions.
You can view live video broadcasts of news in Israel from Israeli news sources. It is a great way to practice Hebrew and see how the Israeli media is covering current events in Israel and the Middle East.
What is the unveiling ceremony.
Am I allowed by Jewish law to get a tattoo? If I get a tattoo, can I still be buried in a Jewish cemetery?
There are three kinds of sin in Judaism: sins against God, sins against another person, and sins against yourself.
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.
American Orthodox Rabbi A. Page answers a question about tempting the evil eye during pregnancy and Jewish superstition.
An introduction to havdalah, a beautiful ritual that brings Shabbat to an end.
In Judaism, Orthodox women cover their hair beginning when they get married. But why?
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 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
Hamentaschen are triangular-shaped pastries that are traditionally eaten during 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. Purim is so-called because the villain of the story, Haman, cast the
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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.
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.
Can I be considered Jewish if I am the daughter of a Jewish father and a Catholic mother?
: 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.
Why should you give your Jewish baby girl a Hebrew name? What should you name your Jewish daughter? How are Jewish families today celebrating the births of their daughters?
What does Judaism say about names? Why do Jews often give their children Hebrew names in addition to English names? Is the Bible or modern Israel the best source for Hebrew names?
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.
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.
Add a Jewish element to your child's bedtime routine with these books, songs and simple bedtime ritual ideas.
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.
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.
Rabbi Shraga Simmons explains when the Jewish calendar began.