Judaism

Everything you need to know about Judaism and being Jewish: the weekly Torah portion, Jewish holidays, Jewish rituals and more.

European officials, Putin, German FM, extend Rosh Hashanah wishes to Jews

"I wish you enjoyable festivities, despite all the restrictions the COVID‑19 pandemic brings. Stay healthy! May all your good resolutions and your wishes for the new year come to fruition."

18/09/2020
File photo: Divorce.
Screenplay in works about rabbi who tortured men to get religious divorces

Brodesser-Akner, The New York Times journalist and author of the best-selling novel “Fleishman Is In Trouble,” said the subject matter “is extremely close to my heart.”

By CURT SCHLEIER/JTA
18/09/2020
Looking for an online High Holy Day service? Here are some options

The options can be overwhelming. But we’ve collected a non-exhaustive list of High Holidays offerings, arranged by the kind of experience you’re seeking.

By JTA
18/09/2020
Jewish men pray at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, in Jerusalem's Old City. April 1
In courtyards and online, holiday services will look different this year

The rampant COVID-19 outbreak means that synagogues have effectively become no-go zones, even during the week.

Brno boasted a large and imprewssive synagogue, the "large temple" later destroyed by Nazis
Rosh Hashanah of 1939: A holiday in the middle of the Holocaust

How did Jews celebrate the Jewish New Year in the midst of the most horrendous period in Jewish history?

By CHARLES TICHO
17/09/2020
A suggestion: Wear a head covering that is lightweight and has holes.
Do head coverings damage the hair and scalp?

Follow these steps to avoid hair today, gone tomorrow.

By DEBORAH RUBIN FIELDS
17/09/2020
Blowing shofar in Jerusalem's Nahlaot neighborhood
Rosh Hashanah: The year when hope is fulfilled

We must admit that the unknown is far greater than the known.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
17/09/2020
I’m going to miss singing in synagogue, what does that say about prayer?

Since I’m Orthodox, I can’t use technology during the holiday, so I’m left with toughing it out alone at home or braving what will certainly be a pared-down in-person service.

By YOSEF LINDELL/JTA
17/09/2020
How Jews are adapting to the sudden disappearance of communal singing

Singing together in person is dangerous right now. The alarming reports of superspreader choir rehearsals gave rise to an early recommendation.

By PHILISSA CRAMER/JTA
17/09/2020
Recently discovered 13th-century prayer by Ramban goes online

A recently uncovered prayer by the 13th-century Spanish rabbi, kabbalist and renowned author of commentaries on the Bible and the Talmud has been translated into english and published online.

By MARCY OSTER/JTA
17/09/2020
American, Canadian and Israeli flags are displayed in the S.H. and Helen R. Scheuer Chapel
Why do reform rabbinical schools deny those in interfaith relationships?

All my life, my community had told me that no matter who you are or who you love, you are equal in our community. But now it feels like I’ve been betrayed.

By EZRA SAMUELS/JTA
17/09/2020
Days of Awe - A time for reflection and a call to action

Will any of the prayers and poems that we recite on these holidays help us deal with these issues?

By RON KRONISH
15/09/2020
It only hurts to pray

Anyone raised in an Orthodox Jewish home who has spent tens of thousands of hours in prayer can immediately spot a Johnny Come Lately at the Western Wall.

The rooster and the peacock

Peace through strength is not a new principle at all.

Is the Israeli song ‘Oof Gozal’ a subconcious midrash for Sefer Dvarim?

The song, about a chick leaving the nest, is commonly viewed as an analogy for parents’ emotions as their child leaves home, but can it also be read on a deeper level?

15/09/2020
Parashat Nitzavim-Vayelech - A moment of honesty

Teshuva is primarily an emotional process that has practical implications.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
10/09/2020
High Holy Day Torah readings tell the stories of our lives

Rather than moral direction and finger-pointing preaching of punishment, we are given stories.

Rosh Hashanah: Marking the world’s birthday

We must recognize that life itself is a gift from the Almighty and that it has a sacred purpose.

‘ROSH HASHANAH is the birthday of the collective – of the Jewish people; and, from the Jewish perspe
Jewish organization prepare for High Holy Days amid coronavirus pandemic

In Israel, where coronavirus infections has spiked as of late, organizations are moving towards prayer services that will be limited in size as well as scope in order to stymie the infection rate.

Prayers to end the plague

A number of Jewish prayers have been composed since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

By JOEL RAPPEL
17/09/2020
Jewish prayer - Alone and together in Jerusalem during the pandemic

Praying for an end to this the 21st century twilight zone where we are alone and together simultaneously.

By ROBERT HERSOWITZ
17/09/2020
Five new year resolutions

What New Year’s resolutions can we set for ourselves and for our institutions? How can we inspire our colleagues, students, and children to believe in a more positive future?

By ARIEL ERANI
17/09/2020
Jewish acapella group release Selichot medley in time for Rosh Hashanah

The newest Selichot medley is intended to "add an energetic twist to give [listeners] something fresh to take into the new year,"

09/09/2020
The Western Wall plaza has been divided into prayer sections to comply with restrictions on gatherin
Western Wall raffles off tickets for High Holy Days amid COVID-19

Normally packed with tens of thousands of worshipers, this year only 2,500 will be permitted to attend main Selichot events.

By MAYA MARGIT/THE MEDIA LINE
09/09/2020
Of poetry and prayers

Ahead of Rosh Hashanah, some superb reading.

17/09/2020
US Kosher
OU Kosher opens new education division to support communities online

The OU Kosher first virtual event was attended by no less than 1,100 people in 23 countries around the world.

Understanding the conundrum of Uman amid the coronavirus

RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS: A deep look at the religious origins and the pandemic-fueled political storm that’s emerged over the annual pilgrimage to the grave of Rabbi Nahman of Breslov

How to blow the Shofar in the coronavirus age

Priority should be given to hearing the shofar blowing over attending the rest of communal prayer.

By SHLOMO BRODY
03/09/2020
Parashat Ki Tavo: A successful society’s foundations

Prohibitions that ‘merit’ being cursed are all acts that damage relationships between people.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
03/09/2020
Learning to reclaim my Jewish-Indian heritage as an adult

My mother downplayed her Indian Jewish heritage to assimilate. As an adult, I’m learning to reclaim it.

By LISHAI PEEL/JTA
02/09/2020
RABBI MOSHE SILVER blows a Yemenite shofar at the Jerusalem Promenade
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, how risky are High Holy Day activities?

“Should I go to Uman?” was one item in Glatt’s latest update to members of his community. His answer: “NO. Absolutely no. … Uman could be the world’s worst COVID-19 super-spreader event.”

By SHIRA HANAU/JTA
02/09/2020
Rabbinate OKs external supervision in kashrut licensing, market opens

Tzohar kashrut division describes development as ‘historic’ and ‘revolutionary’ in allowing independent kashrut supervision authorities to operate legally

Ahead of High Holy Days, Chabad offers free online shofar-blowing courses

Due to their communal nature, many of the rituals and obligations of the High Holy Days will be difficult if not impossible to keep when forced to stay at home.

27/08/2020
Teshuva - Unpacking Jewish repentance

We do not confess to rabbis; they are not Catholic priests, nor do they possess the power of absolution.

By AHARON E. WEXLER
27/08/2020
Parashat Ki Tetze: A Jewish practical lifestyle

Why was the continuity of the story connecting the Jewish nation’s past and future broken so that the speech could review a succession of halachic directions on such a wide range of subjects?

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
27/08/2020
Cardozo on the Parashah: From robotic practice to meaning

The opening passages of the book remove whatever lingering doubts the reader might have clung to that the book is in any way comparable to the run-of-the-mill parasha-based Torah commentaries.

By SHMUEL PHILLIPS
27/08/2020
Children are returning to school in Israel amid the coronavirus pandemic. August 24, 2020.
A Jewish prayer for the start of this pandemic school year

”all beginnings are difficult,” our rabbis teach. Starting anew is always a challenge; as humans, we crave familiarity and routine.

By RABBI SARI LAUFER/JTA
27/08/2020
The blessing of Elul

Soon, each of us will begin our heshbon nefesh, our soul-searching.

By DAVID GEFFEN
02/09/2020
The Wild Ox, the Leviathan and be sure what you pray for!

In this real world of disappointment and weakness, as the High Holy Days come nigh, we recall Isaiah speaking for God who promises “Shalom, shalom to those far and those near.”

No business like shul business

Everything has changed now that synagogues reopened with small minyanim and no Kiddush served.

By SHOSHANA TITA
02/09/2020
What’s in a name?

Why do we have names, and what is their significance? They are the means by which we identify each other. But they also have a deeper significance.

Tel Aviv synagogues to expand to public spaces for High Holy Day prayers

Synagogues will be permitted to hold prayer gatherings in public spaces during Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret.

23/08/2020
The obsession with Rabbi Nachman and Uman is the new idolatry

MIDDLE ISRAEL: Absurdly, Reb Nachman’s memory is now an engine not of Exile’s ending, but of its renewal.

The Book of Life and the plague

Thus ‘Sefer Hahayim’ was born during a plague.

By LEVI COOPER
19/08/2020
Parashat Shoftim: Kingship – for a fair justice system

The king is not a god and has no special rights.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
19/08/2020
The Book of Jonah and biblical social justice

To help us understand Jonah as a reluctant prophet, Yanklowitz frames his book through the paradigm of “universal ethics.”

By STEPHEN G. DONSHIK
19/08/2020
ORTHODOX JEWS study Talmud in Budapest in 2012
Is Jewish law frozen or flexible?

In each generation, the author repeatedly stresses, the decisors of that era have the right and responsibility to rule on Jewish law vis-à-vis the specific needs of their communities.

Who were the distinctive Twelve Tribes of Israel?

In Tribal Blueprints: Twelve Brothers and the Destiny of Israel, Nechama Price pieces together a wonderfully cohesive portrait of each brother and his tribe.

Members of Bulgarian Jewish community stand in silence during a service in the Sofia synagogue
Chazzanim upbeat ahead of challenging High Holidays amid COVID-19

Synagogues and communities are struggling to run their services amid the pandemic, and have found alternative ways to at bring people’s hearts together.

By SIVAN TOV
23/08/2020
Memories of the shofar

Listen for it as Elul arrives.

By DAVID GEFFEN
19/08/2020
‘Teki’ah!’ - The ins and outs of the shofar

No other mitzvah entails such high drama as the blowing of the shofar.

By DAVID OLIVESTONE
19/08/2020
THE GLOWING Yismach Moshe Synagogue at night, a major religious center of Ashdod’s Moroccan Jewry.
Amid COVID-19, OTS releases guide on how to safely observe High Holy Days

The High Holy Days, which refer to the holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, are some of the most important in the Jewish calendar, with the communal aspect being very important.

19/08/2020
 PAINTING by the Polish artist Maurycy Gottlieb c. 1878, titled ‘Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yo
Orthodox Union to offer virtual prayer leader boot camp amid coronavirus

Smaller and staggered minyanim are intended to be organized amid the pandemic, which leaves the list of qualified Baalei Tefillot quite thin.

Orthodox Union publishes High Holy Days observance guidance amid COVID-19

"Due to the pandemic, this year we must plan for a Yamim Noraim that will be very different than usual," the OU stated in their guidance.

Jewish practices move home as synagogues close during holidays

To some, the shift in focus from synagogues to homes as the center of Jewish life is a healthy recalibration for a culture in which synagogues had become too central.

By SHIRA HANAU/JTA
15/08/2020
Remembering Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, intellectual wonder and Jewish landmark

MIDDLE ISRAEL: One would assume Steinsaltz spent his days and nights ensconced in his study like Lithuania’s Vilna Gaon, America’s Moshe Feinstein or Israel’s Elazar Shach, but he was different

Cow illustrative
Renewing the ancient New Year for animals with a vegan spin

The focal points of the renewed celebration of the New Year For Animals are three major events which will be held online in the US, UK and Israel.

By Rivkah Lambert Adler
13/08/2020
What we can learn from the ‘Ir Nidahat’?

We will focus on the third offense, the ir nidahat, or an entire city that shows disloyalty to God and is condemned to total annihilation.

By NECHAMA GOLDMAN BARASH
13/08/2020
Parashat Re'eh: In what world are we living?

The words ‘abomination’ and ‘hates’ appear only once in the entire Torah.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
13/08/2020
On my grandfather, Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz

I was blessed to have had the opportunity to experience a private layer of a public man – a little place that was reserved just for me.

By LEAH EVEN-ISRAEL
17/08/2020
Doing this daily Jewish ritual has helped me cope with coronavirus

The pandemic has brought with it monotony, as each week bleeds into the next, but this technique has fortunately given us something to look forward to each day.

By RACHEL HONEYMAN/JTA
12/08/2020
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz died Friday in Jerusalem at the age of 83

The rabbi, who is best known for translating the Talmud into modern Hebrew, had been in the hospital with a lung infection since Tuesday.

Orthodox Jews of the Satmar Hasidim in the village of Kiryas Joel, New York
Rav Tzi Hersh of Liska's 146th yahrzeit commemorated

To this day, on the day of his yahrzeit, the 14th day of Av, thousands of people from all around the world are still traveling to Liska to pray at his grave.

A MODERN-DAY farmer inspects the condition of his cherry tomatoes in Kadesh Barnea.
Did Miriam die from her leprosy?

Judaism 3.0: Is it possible that there is one Kadesh and that Miriam’s death occurred prior to the skip, 38 years prior to what is commonly interpreted?

08/08/2020
Goodness rules the world.
Parashat Ekev: A different kind of theology

God’s strength and power are inextricably connected to His humility, and to the moral values of compassion, justice, and benefiting others.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
06/08/2020
Tangled up in the crowns on the letters

The author's most recent book is a collection of essays on core issues of Jewish thought as they are expressed in the midrashic and aggadic sections of the Talmud.

By ARI KAHN
12/08/2020
Why Yitz Greenberg’s ‘road’ may lead to a stronger Jewish center

A collection of essays about the theories and writings of Rabbi Yitz Greenberg includes 12 thoughtful essays spanning topics such as halacha (Jewish law), theology, and modern norms of observance.

By ROBERTA ROSENTHAL KWALL
12/08/2020
Coronavirus has particular impact on Orthodox Jewish couples

With resurgence of coronavirus infections in Israel, women considering a visit to the ritual bath must weigh marital relations and public safety

By TARA KAVALER/THE MEDIA LINE
04/08/2020
Bagels.tv offers Jewish family-friendly alternative to YouTube

The site features thousands of hours worth of Jewish video content carefully curated to inform and uplift.

On induction cookers, non-Jews and God

The kashrut monopoly in Israel has been somewhat eroded, but is still alive and kicking.

FAITH IN God allows us to see beyond the horizon
Confused about Judaism’s view on the afterlife? Watch ‘The Good Place’

The afterlife is not a major point of discussion in Jewish thought. Religious Jewish texts focus on the life one leads in this world — not the next one.

By PENINA BEEDE/JTA
01/08/2020
People crowd the sanctuary of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C., for a building dedicatio
Synagogues wondering in Holiday season: Will people pay dues?

With regular in-person High Holiday services off the table due to the coronavirus, many synagogues are wondering whether they can survive financially.

By BEN SALES/JTA
02/08/2020
RABBI MOSHE SILVER blows a Yemenite shofar at the Jerusalem Promenade
One rabbi’s efforts to ensure every Jew in Jerusalem hears the shofar

With Rosh Hashanah coming in mid-September, one Jerusalem resident is starting to think about how to help people hear the shofar blasts on the Jewish New Year.

By Rivkah Lambert Adler
29/07/2020
Jewish Law - Preparing for flu season and a coronavirus vaccine

Vaccinations are undoubtedly one of the greater inventions of the modern era – and this blessing sometimes leads to complacency.

By SHLOMO BRODY
29/07/2020
Parshat Va’Ethanan: Innocent addition or destruction of a masterpiece?

Let us imagine someone taking a Rembrandt painting and adding a few of his own lines or drops of paint.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
02/08/2020
Tisha Be’av - Crisis and consolation

By tradition, the Messiah will be born on 9 Av.

Tu Be’av - On love and forgiveness

This Tu Be’av, in a time of masks and social distancing, we need to find a way to reboot, to reexamine ourselves and society.

By YAEL HIRSCH BIDERMAN
29/07/2020
Chief Rabbi: COVID-19 patients can't fast on Tisha B'Av, shorten prayer

"To our sorrow, the plague is intensifying and we need heavenly mercy," wrote Lau.

27/07/2020
Pray ahead of Yom Kippur
Global campaign launched to support yeshivot and seminaries during corona

The 'If I Forget You, Jerusalem' campaign aims to support more than 40 Torah institutions within Israel and their students through the coronavirus crisis.

Tisha Be’av in corona times

Reflections and online inspiration

Chief Rabbi David Lau prays at special prayer service during coronavirus outbreak, March 2020
Rabbi Lau, Rabbi Kanievsky: Avinu Malkeinu prayer should be said daily

"We are going through difficult days, and even doctors aren't finding a cure or medicine and understand that we have nothing to rely on but our Father in Heaven."

23/07/2020
Why the Tzemach Tzedek told his son to beware of dairy

THE TZEMACH TZEDEK acknowledged a letter that his son had sent him and warned his son "not to be stringent – Heaven forfend – at this time, by eating dairy products in the Nine Days."

By LEVI COOPER
23/07/2020
Parashat Devarim: The values that give us the right to exist

The role of a judge is so sensitive and significant, there is no room for mediocrity.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
23/07/2020
‘Fiddler on the Roof’ – What traditions are we passing down?

I feel there is a piece of Yenta, the dedicated matchmaker, in each of us as it doesn’t matter what our religious level is, we have a strong pull to set people up, almost as if it is part of our DNA.

By DEVORAH KUR
23/07/2020
Jewish men attend morning prayer as they keeping distance from one another as part of measures to pr
Reimagining Judaism after COVID-19

Will Jewish life undergo a metamorphosis the day after the pandemic?

By ALAN JOTKOWITZ
23/07/2020
Why we can smile on Tisha Be’av

How can a Jew, living in our vastly altered modern world, experience Tisha Be’av mourning during a period in which history has once again smiled upon us?

By MOSHE TARAGIN
23/07/2020
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