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Judaism: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Asher, Chavivi, Gilad and More Popular Hebrew...
Hebrew boys' names beginning with the letters A-G along with their meanings.
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.
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.
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.
Bar Mitzvahs for Beginners
This article is about the religious ceremony and party referred to as a bar mitzvah.
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.
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.
All 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.
What Does the Hamsa Symbol Mean in Judaism?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >A hamsa is an
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.
What Does It Really Mean to Be 'Jewish?'
Is Judaism a race, a religion or a nationality?
Choose a Hebrew Girl's Name (G-K)
Hebrew names for girls beginning with the English letters G-K, as well as their meanings.
Choose a Hebrew Boy's Name (N-Z)
Hebrew boys names beginning with the letters N-Z.
What Is the Star of David's Significance in...
Learn more about the origin and meaning of the Star of David.
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.
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.
Why a Bat Mitzvah Is So Important in a Jewish...
A Bat Mitzvah is an important rite of passage in a young girl's life, marking her transition into adulthood. Learn more about the history, ceremony, and celebration.
Curious when the 2015-16 Jewish Holidays Are?
This calendar contains the 2015-16 Gregorian calendar dates for all holidays for the Hebrew calendar of the Jewish leap year 5776.
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.
Choose a Hebrew Girl's Name (R-Z)
Hebrew names for girls beginning with the English letters R-Z, as well as their meanings.
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.
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.
Chai: What the Hebrew Word and Symbol Really...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: Chai
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.
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.
How to Use the Yiddish Word 'Verklempt'
Verklempt is a Yiddish word that means
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.
8 Things You Need to Know About Rosh HaShanah
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.
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.
How to Celebrate the Jewish Holiday of Purim
A festive Jewish holiday that celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from their enemies in the biblical Book of Esther.
How to Light Yahrzeit (Memorial) Candles
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >What is a Yahrzeit
What Does the Brit Milah (Bris) Signify for...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Brit milah, which
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?
Judaism 101: What Are the Five Books of Moses?
The Five Books of Moses, also called the Torah, are the biblical books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
Why Do Some Jews Spell 'God' as 'G-d?'
An explanation of why some Jews write G-d instead of spelling out the word
The Legend of Lilith: From Medieval to Modern...
According to Jewish mythology Lilith was Adam's first wife. Learn more about references to her in medieval texts and modern feminist texts.
Why Jewish Men Wear Yarmulkes
After the Star of David, a kippah is one of the most recognizable symbols of Jewish identity.
John Kerry: Irish Catholic or Czech Jew?
John Kerry's Jewish past reflects the story of many European Jews who shed their Jewish heritage en route to America at the turn of the century.
When a Jewish Person Calls You a Mensch, What...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: Mensch
How Jewish People Became the Chosen People
A look at different interpretations of what it means for Jews to be the Chosen People.
Who Was Miriam?
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.
What is the Mourner's Kaddish in Judaism?
In Judaism, there is a well-known prayer called kaddish that takes many different forms. But what is the mourner's kaddish?
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.
What Was the First Temple in Jerusalem?
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.
The Hebrew Language
Learn about the history of Hebrew as an ancient language and the development of Hebrew as a modern language today.
What Is Midrash?
Midrash is a form of rabbinic literature. There are two types of midrash: midrash aggada and midrash halakha.
Names and Judaism
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?
Ultra-Orthodox Judaism
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).
Everything You Need to Know About Jewish...
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.
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.
The Yiddish Word Dictionary
There are many Yiddish words that have made their way into American English, but do you know what kvetch, shiksa, bubkes, mazel tov, and more mean?
The Wedding Ring in Judaism
In Judaism, the wedding ring has become the most vital part of the wedding ceremony. Learn about which hand is used, the requirements, and more.
The 4 Questions to Ask on Passover
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
Rosh HaShanah: A Beginner's Guide to the Jewish...
Rosh HaShanah is the Jewish New Year. It falls once a year during the month of Tishrei and occurs ten days before Yom Kippur.
What Candles Symbolize in Judaism
Candles have many symbolic meanings in Judaism and are used on a wide variety of religious occasions.
What is a mezuzah and how do I fulfill the...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >One of the easy
What Does It Mean to 'Become a Bar Mitzvah?'
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Bar Mitzvah literally
What Do Jews Believe? Check Out the 13...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Written in the
Learn the Rabbi's Role in the Jewish Community
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.
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.
Moses
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.
Hanukkah Traditions for Kids
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.
Your Guide to the Most Common Yiddish Words and...
Definition of Yiddish words and expressions.
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.
What is a chumash? How does it differ from a...
There are many different versions of the chumash, and it's different than an actual Torah scroll, but how?
Jewish Contributions to Society
Find a small list of contributions Jewish people have made to society, from Galileo to Levi Strauss.
Is being a shiksa a good thing?
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 Story of 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
Jewish Views of the Afterlife: What is Gan Eden?
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Understanding the Evil Eye and the Tragedy it...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >If you're familiar
Why the Dreidel Is an Important Part of Hanukkah
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.
Why Do Some Jewish Women Cover Their Hair?
In Judaism, Orthodox women cover their hair beginning when they get married. But why?
How Are Tefillin Used in Jewish Prayer?
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.
Your Guide to the Different Forms of the...
The Kaddish prayer is one of the most important prayers in Judaism. Learn more about the Kaddish and its different forms in this article.
Who are the haredim in Judaism?
In the world of Jewish observance and identification, it is the haredim that are perhaps the most visually identifiable and, yet, most misunderstood.
What 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.
Do Jews Believe in Satan?
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.
What does Judaism think about sex?
Does Judaism prohibit premarital sex? You might be surprised at the answer to how Judaism views sex and intimacy.
What You Should Know About Jezebel from the Bible
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 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.
The Process of Mourning in Judaism
There are many steps to mourning in Judaism, from the announcement of death through the next 12 months of mourning. Do you know about Jewish mourning?
Purim Food Customs
From observing the Fast of Esther to eating hamantaschen cookies, food plays an important role in the Jewish holiday of Purim. Learn more about Purim food customs in this article.
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.
Becoming a Bat Mitzvah
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Definition of Chutzpah (Yiddish Word)
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
The Effects of the Holocaust on the Next...
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.
Judaism 101: Learn All About Family 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.
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?
Women in the Bible: Do You Know the Story of...
In the biblical Book of Esther, Vashti is the wife of King Ahasuerus, the ruler of Persia.
What It Means When You Say 'Mazel Tov!'
mazel tov definition yiddish glossary jewish sayings hebrew phrases
The Seven Species
The Seven Species are the seven agricultural products associated with the ancient land of Israel as mentioned in the Torah.
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?
What Do Jewish People Celebrate on Shavuot?
Learn about the origins of Shavuot as well as modern day customs for celebrating this holiday.
Hanukkah Food Traditions
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.
What is Challah in Judaism?
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
Hebrew Calendar
While the secular (also referred to as Gregorian) calendar is based on the earth's rotation around the sun, the Hebrew calendar calculates months according to the moon and years according to the sun.
Branches of 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.
Do Jews Believe in Sin?
There are three kinds of sin in Judaism: sins against God, sins against another person, and sins against yourself.
How Jews Celebrate Sukkot, the Feast of...
Sukkot, also known as the Festival of Booths, is a Jewish harvest holiday that falls five days after Yom Kippur.
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.
All About the Jewish Holiday of Simchat Torah
Simchat Torah marks the completion of the annual Torah reading cycle and is one of the most joyous holidays on the Jewish calendar.
Jewish Wedding Ring
Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner explains why, during the Jewish wedding ceremony, the groom puts the ring on the bride's index finger.
Jewish Accomplishments
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.
What Is a Cantor In the Jewish Faith?
In Reform and Conservative Judaism, a cantor is the person who leads the congregation in prayer along with the rabbi.
What Do Jews Eat Hamentaschen Pastries During...
Hamentaschen are triangular-shaped pastries that are traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim.
Passover: The Three Matzot
During the Passover seder, Jews have on the table a seder plate with three matzot placed one on top of the other. But why?
Rosh HaShanah Food Customs
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.
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.
Shomer Negiah: To touch or not to touch?
Curious why she won't shake your hand? A foreign concept in a modern, tactile world, shomer negiah is a basic observance of Orthodox Jews everywhere.
What is Teshuvah?
Teshuvah is a key Jewish concept that involves repentance and new beginnings.
What Is a Hanukkiyah?
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.
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?
What Are the Four Mitzvot of Purim?
There are four major mitzvot, or commandments, associated with Purim. Do you know what they are?
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.
It's Shabbat, so pour the wine and get ready...
What is kiddush in Judaism? It is a central part of the every Shabbat, holiday, and other special life event ... and so much more.
Women of the Purim Story
Two women play an important role in the story of Purim, a holiday that celebrates how Jews narrowly escaped tragedy in the biblical book of Esther. Learn more about Vashti and Esther in this article.
Are Jewish men allowed to shave?
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.
The Woman of Valor, Aishes Chayil
Every Friday evening, before the festive Shabbat meal, Jews the world over sing a special poem to honor the Jewish woman: Aishes Chayil or Eishes Chayil.
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 the Shema in Judaism?
One of the most well-known prayers in Judaism is the ​shema, a blessing that finds its place in the morning, the evening, and at bedtime, too.
Why Judaism Has 613 Commandments
Most people are well aware of the 10 commandments, or mitzvot, but many do not know that Judaism has 603 additional commandments.
What is Shabbat in Judaism?
The Talmud says that to observe Shabbat is equal to all of the other commandments combined! But what is Shabbat? How do Jews observe Shabbat?
Ask the Rabbi - Seven
Rabbi Shraga Simmons answers a question about the number seven in Judaism.
Dybbuks: The Ghosts and Spirits of Jewish...
According to Jewish folklore, a dybbuk is a ghost or disturbed soul that possesses the body of a living person.
What Is a Shofar?
The shofar is a Jewish ritual object most often made from a ram's horn that is traditionally blown on Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year.
The 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!
Origin of the Word Judaism - Yahadut
millennium bce rabbi barry hebrew words jewish holidays lifecycle events: What is the origin of the word Judaism?
Latkes: All About the Traditional Hanukkah...
Latkes are potato pancakes that are traditionally fried in oil as part of the Hanukkah holiday celebration.
What Is Tisha B'Av?
Tisha B'Av is a Jewish day of mourning - and a fast day - that commemorates the destruction of the two Temples.
Jewish Genetic Disorders
Jewish Genetic Disorders are a group of conditions which are unusually common among Ashkenazi Jews -- Jews who have ancestors from Eastern and Central Europe. They include Tay-Sachs, Gaucher's Disease, Canavan Disease, Bloom's Syndrome and more.
Jewish Bedtime Rituals for Children
Add a Jewish element to your child's bedtime routine with these books, songs and simple bedtime ritual ideas.
What is a shtreimel?
If you've seen a religious Jewish man walking around with a relic of furry, colder days in Russia, you might be curious about the shtreimel!
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?
How to Make Mishloach Manot for Purim
Mishloach manot are gifts of food that Jews send to one another during the holiday of Purim. Learn more about these gift baskets and how to make your own.
Jewish Definitions: What Is Charoset?
Charoset, a sweet and sticky condiment, is one of the many symbolic foods eaten by Jews during the Passover seder.
Jewish Leaders - Abraham
Abraham was the first Jew, the Father of the Jewish People.
Ask the Rabbi - Reasons for Keeping Kosher
Rabbi Shraga Simmons answers a question about why Jews keep kosher.
What Is the Leviathan?
The Leviathan is a mythical sea monster or dragon that is mentioned in Job 41.
Who Was Yael in the Bible?
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.
What are the tzitzit in Judaism? What is a...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Falling into the
What Is Olam Ha Ba?
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.
What Does 'Naches' Mean in Yiddish?
: Naches is a Yiddish word that means "pride" or "joy." Typically naches refers to the pride or joy that
Top 7 Sources for Israel News Online
There are countless sources for free and live Israel video news online, and we've rounded up our list of the top seven here.
How to Be a Mensch
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >One of the amazing
Hanukkah Songs
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.
Ask the Rabbi - Clothing Worn by Jews
Rabbi Shraga Simmons answers a question about clothing worn by Jews.
What Does the Word 'Shomer' Mean to Jews?
What does it mean when someone is shomer kashrut or shomer shabbat?
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!
What Is a Bracha?
This article explains what a bracha is and also gives examples of different kinds of brachot.

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