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.
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.
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.
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.
Rabbi Shraga Simmons is asked why Orthodox Jews wear side curls in their hair.
Hebrew names for girls beginning with the English letters G-K, as well as their meanings.
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 boys names beginning with the letters N-Z.
Hebrew names for girls beginning with the English letters R-Z, as well as their meanings.
This article is about the religious ceremony and party referred to as a bar mitzvah.
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.
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.
Learn more about the origin and meaning of the Star of David.
A look at different interpretations of what it means for Jews to be the Chosen People.
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.
An explanation of why some Jews write G-d instead of spelling out the word
Is Judaism a race, a religion or a nationality?
What is the history of Israel in the Gaza Strip? How has Israel gotten herself into a situation where Disengagment from Gaza is so complicated and painful?
: Chai (××) is a Hebrew word and symbol that means âlife.â It is spelled with the Hebrew letters Het
Verklempt is a Yiddish word that means
I was invited to a bar/bat mitzvah. Should I bring a gift? If so, what kind of gift is appropriate?
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights. It usually falls in late November or December on the secular calendar.
Tisha B'Av is a Jewish day of mourning - and a fast day - that commemorates the destruction of the two Temples.
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.
After the Star of David, a kippah is one of the most recognizable symbols of Jewish identity.
These funds and organizations offer you a way to show solidarity with Israel and support Israeli soldiers and Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
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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.
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.
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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.
: 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).
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.
Find a small list of contributions Jewish people have made to society, from Galileo to Levi Strauss.
The Five Books of Moses are the biblical books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
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.
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 a mezuzah? Why hang a mezuzah? Where to affix a mezuzah? Which blessing is said when affixing a mezuzah?
When the Israelites accepted the Ten Commandments from God at Mount Sinai, they committed themselves to following a moral code of behavior.
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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.
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.
When does the Jewish Sabbath (Shabbat) begin and end each week? How can I find beginning and ending times for Jewish holy days?
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.
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 biblical Book of Esther, Vashti is the wife of King Ahasuerus, the ruler of Persia.
What is the Tallit - tallis - that Jews wear during prayer services?Why does Jews wear tzitzit - fringes or tassels?
Rosh HaShanah is the Jewish New Year. It falls once a year during the month of Tishrei and occurs ten days before Yom Kippur.
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.
Judaism can explain why bad things happen to good people - including murder.
Rabbi Shraga Simmons explains why Jews say L'Chaim when they drink wine.
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Midrash is a form of rabbinic literature. There are two types of midrash: midrash aggada and midrash halakha.
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
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.
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.
Use this list of popular Biblical names and modern Israeli names to find a Hebrew name for your son.
A festive Jewish holiday that celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from their enemies in the biblical Book of Esther.
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.
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 Great Revolt was the first of three major Jewish rebellions against the Romans. It eventually resulted in the destruction of the Second Temple.
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.
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.
Reform Rabbi Jeff Goldwasser answers the question "Am I Jewish if my Jewish great-grandfather married a non-Jew?"
Satmar Hasidism, which originated in the town of Szatmárnémeti (now Satu Mare, Romania), is a branch of ultra-orthodox Judaism founded by Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum in the 18th century. Like other Haredi Jews, Satmar Hasidic Jews live in insular communities, separating themselves from comtemporary secular society. Like other Hasidic Jews, Satmar Hasidim approach Judaism with joy. Like the Neturei Katra sect, Satmar Hasidim oppose all forms of Zionism.
What is the Jewish view of marriage? Learn about marriage according to Judaism. Learn about the Jewish wedding ceremony. What makes Jewish weddings special?
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?
Albert Einstein was a Jewish theoretical physicist who developed the Theory of Relativity.
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.
Learn about the history of Hebrew as an ancient language and the development of Hebrew as a modern language today.
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.
Required before eating a meal at which bread is served, hand washing is a mainstay in the religious Jewish world beyond the dining room table.
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.
Sukkot, also known as the Festival of Booths, is a Jewish harvest holiday that falls five days after Yom Kippur.
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
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)?
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.
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.
Rabbi Ari Enkin is asked why Jewish families cover their mirrors after someone dies.
Rabbi Shraga Simmons answers a question about clothing worn by Jews.
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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 Barry Dov Lerner explains why, during the Jewish wedding ceremony, the groom puts the ring on the bride's index finger.
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 prayer can I say for the well-being of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli soldiers?
Am I allowed by Jewish law to get a tattoo? If I get a tattoo, can I still be buried in a Jewish cemetery?
According to Jewish folklore, a dybbuk is a ghost or disturbed soul that possesses the body of a living person.
What does Judaism's view on sex?
What are Sheva Brachot? What are the Seven Blessings recited at Jewish Weddings?
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The life of the man sometimes referred to as the “Mob’s Accountant.”
Rabbi Shraga Simmons answers a question about the number seven in Judaism.
Why did Jews stop making animal sacrifices?
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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.
How does Judaism balance the supreme value it places on human life with the need to wage war?
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Rabbi Shraga Simmons explains the meaning of the Jubilee Year in Judaism.
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.
Virtually experience a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony. This step-by-step guide shows how Jewish weddings are celebrated.
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.
Rabbi Shraga Simmons answers a question about why Jews keep kosher.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In Judaism, Orthodox women cover their hair beginning when they get married. But why?
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
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?
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?
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.
Neturei Karta refers to an ultra-orthodox, anti-Zionist, extremist sect Judaism. Neturei Karta is a loosely governed group united primarily by its anti-Zionistic ideology. The name Neturei Karta is Aramaic for Guardians of the City, as they plan to watch over Jerusalem until the Messiah comes and creates a true Jewish homeland.
According to Jewish mythology Lilith was Adam's first wife. Learn more about references to her in medieval texts and modern feminist texts.
Biography of Rothstein, a New York businessman, gambler and mobster rumored to have fixed the 1919 World Series, and murdered in 1928.
What is the unveiling ceremony.
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
Hamas is a fundamentalist Islamic organization that won the Palestinian general elections in January 2006. Why did the Palestinian people vote for Hamas? What does the United States and Israel think of Hamas?
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.
Teshuvah is a key Jewish concept that involves repentance and new beginnings.
Rabbi Shraga Simmons answers a question about same sex relations or homosexuality in Judaism.
Instructions for lighting the menorah during the holiday of Hanukkah including blessings and a list of materials you will need.
There are three kinds of sin in Judaism: sins against God, sins against another person, and sins against yourself.
Learn about the origins of Shavuot as well as modern day customs for celebrating this holiday.
Tracing the historical Imma Shalom, a well-known woman of the Talmud, is difficult if not impossible given the few texts and traditions available today.
The most important Rosh HaShanah words and terms for you to know.
What prayer can I say for the welfare of the State of Israel?
A Ketubah is a marriage contract between a husband and wife that is signed before a Jewish wedding. The purpose of the Ketubah is to protect the woman's rights during the marriage and in case she is divorced or widowed.
Tips on how to prepare for the Yom Kippur (or any) fast.
An introduction to havdalah, a beautiful ritual that brings Shabbat to an end.
Images of and information about modern Israeli coins.
Candles have many symbolic meanings in Judaism and are used on a wide variety of religious occasions.
The Great Divide: How Westerners and Muslims View Each Other, a large-scale attitudinal survey conducted by The Pew Research Center in 2006, puts the cards on the table when it comes to Muslim views of Jews.
In Judaism, Shiva is the seven day mourning period observed by Jews after the funeral.
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.
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?
Add a Jewish element to your child's bedtime routine with these books, songs and simple bedtime ritual ideas.
Can I be considered Jewish if I am the daughter of a Jewish father and a Catholic mother?
The First Temple, built in the tenth century BCE by King Solomon, served as the religious and national center of the Israelites, until it was destroyed in 586 BCE by the Babylonians.
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.
What was the Ark of the Covenant?
Hamentaschen are triangular-shaped pastries that are traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim.