Judaism

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

‘HAVING CHOSEN God, the Torah is God’s response to us.’ Pictured: The Yanov Torah, rescued from the
40,000 participate in Daf Yomi via OU app

Participants on the app recently began the tractate of Pesachim, which focuses on the holiday of Passover.

26/11/2020
74 bar and bat mitzvahs for deaf and hard-of-hearing youth held over Zoom

“2020 has been a particularly difficult year for the deaf and hearing-impaired population," said the International Young Israel Movement director.

The exodus from Babel continues‏

As the debate over Abraham’s exodus from Babel resumes, it is incumbent upon us to try to read that invisible ink that leads to the Promised Land.

19/11/2020
Nir and Rita's wedding
Why shouldn’t a Jew intermarry?

Research has indicated that intermarriage, divorce, and low religiosity are all linked, both within generations and across generations.

Jordan Peterson turns to Genesis for lessons on civilization in peril

Peterson's search is for eternal values – virtues and themes that are “common across all human experience, across all time.”

19/11/2020
Love and hate in the time of corona

Hate ultimately consumes and convicts the hater himself.

Parashat Toldot: Courageous, conservative, or a survivor?

This week, we read the single parasha that describes the life of the Jewish nation’s second, middle, forefather – Isaac.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
19/11/2020
Senior religious-Zionist rabbis denounce contact with Reform leaders

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed participated in panel discussion with Reform rabbis evoking ire of the chief rabbi and most recently leading rabbinical figures in the religious-Zionist community.

How can we keep dry on a winter Shabbat at outdoor prayer services?

Jewish law prohibits building structures on Shabbat.

By SHLOMO BRODY
12/11/2020
Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, of blessed memory - Memorial

Rabbi Sacks led the ship of Torah right into the hearts of some of the world’s most gifted, influential people.

Parashat Chayei Sarah: Avraham Avinu’s wonderful death

‘And they did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him, and tarried all night; and they rose up in the morning, and he said: “Send me away unto my master”’(Chayei Sarah 24:54)

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
12/11/2020
Are bloodsucking pelicans a Dutch Jewish symbol?

Amsterdam's Portuguese Jewish community adopted a seemingly strange image from Medieval Christian art

By DIKLAH ZOHAR
12/11/2020
Remembering Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

We were so privileged that one of the world’s finest minds was dedicated to thinking about these issues and writing about them, with immense sophistication, in a style that was accessible to all.

By GIDEON SYLVESTER
12/11/2020
Thousands sign up with Partners in Torah for Shabbat Project

Thousands of Jews from across the denominational spectrum are signing up to get matched with a study partner and learn about Shabbat with a focus on connection, unity and growth.

Israeli vegan food
Vegan Kosher: New label on offer uniting two major food trends

Rabbi Asa Keisar hopes his new project will reduce animal suffering while promoting better Torah adherence.

The exodus from Israel

This year on Rosh Hashanah, it was pure prayer with no background noise, and even the Shofar blowing was perfect.

By SHOSHANA TITA
08/11/2020
Film festival (Illustrative)
6 Jewish-themed films to watch through this year’s DOC NYC festival

All the movies will be accessible for $12 each, or in special packages of 5 or 10; there are all-access passes as well. The festival runs from Nov. 11-19.

By CURT SCHLEIER/JTA
08/11/2020
Rabbi Sacks' soul-nourishing book on the parsha

It truly lives up to its title, Judaism’s Life-Changing Ideas: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible.

By DEBBIE SANDLER
08/11/2020
Yom Kippur under corona

The coronavirus pandemic was certainly going to make a very different Yom Kippur for me and probably every other Jew on the globe.

By BASIL PORTER
08/11/2020
On Kabbalah and Modern Orthodoxy

Perhaps Kabbalah can serve as both a model and inspiration for Modern Orthodoxy to continue to think ‘outside of the box’ and still remain grounded to its traditional past and to Halacha.

By AHARON E. WEXLER
08/11/2020
Parashat Vayera: Divine revelation vs others’ needs‏

Abraham’s life was based on giving.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
08/11/2020
A challah bake in Tel Aviv celebrates Shabbat with The Shabbat Project
Shabbat project promotes ‘Bring Shabbat Home’ amid coronavirus pandemic

The "Bring Shabbat Home" event will take place November 6 to 7 and offer an array of educational resources.

05/11/2020
Ohr Torah Stone launches interfaith dialogue initiative

The move follows newly normalizes ties between Israel and some of its Arab neighbors.

The Abrahamic House in Abu Dhabi will foster interfaith reconciliation

The site is set to be completed in 2022 on Saadiyat Island, and will contain houses of worship for the three Abrahamic faiths, meaning there will be a synagogue, mosque and church.

Shannon Nuszen: From missionary to observant Jew

An inside look at what spreading the Gospel to Jews implies, in light of the recent controversy oncerning the now-defunct missionizing Shelanu TV.

This experience of direct divine revelation launched the exceptional religious history of the Jews
Are all religions valuable?

The Torah introduces Avraham without providing the important background details that warranted his selection. Shouldn’t this great man be introduced along with his heroic credentials?

By MICHAEL TARAGIN
01/11/2020
Tefillin of famed author Ben Ish Hai to go on auction

Other highlights include silver Torah shields from the 18th century, which are among the finest examples in existence today.

The study of Tanach does not receive the time or attention it deserves in most Orthodox educations
Three ways for Orthodoxy to improve

It comes down to what I categorize as the three “T”s: Tribalism, Tolerance and Tanach.

Sotheby jewelery auction
Sotheby's auctioning 18th-century Torah shield for $1 million

The items are part of a trove from the Sassoon family, a wealthy family originally from Iraq, that the auction house is bringing for sale next month.

By PHILISSA CRAMER/JTA
01/11/2020
Adherents to Faith-Based Diplomacy See Political Boost for Israel

New book claims biblical readings of political events lead to support for Jewish state.

By THE MEDIA LINE
01/11/2020
See yourself as responsible for repairing the world: "Make this world better"
Parashat Lech Lecha: The responsible one

This week’s parasha, Lech Lecha, opens with God’s instructions to Abraham.

Tzipori Park (Israel Nature and Parks Authority)
What does the 'lech lecha' phrase mean?

What does 'lech lecha' mean, and how can we understand it as a calling to search for God?

By MICHAEL COHEN
01/11/2020
Improving the world means widening our circles of care

Our Common Destiny Project: Taking responsibility for one another

By DAVID WOLPE
29/10/2020
President Reuven Rivlin surrounded by the signatories who convened at the President's Residence on S
We must work together to ensure our security

Our Common Destiny Project: Ensuring the well being & security of Israel and Jews worldwide

By DINA SIEGEL VANN
29/10/2020
Participants carry Israeli flags at the 'Celebrate Israel'' parade along Fifth Avenue in New York
Strong Jewish identities will safeguard Israel's future

Our Common Destiny Project: Strengthening Jewish Identity

By DR. LAURA SHAW FRANK
29/10/2020
It's time to leave our differences aside and connect

Our Common Destiny Project: Responsibility for Each Other (Comradery)

Do I need to believe in God to be Jewish?

While evil and wicked behavior can be attributed to humanity, some may deny God’s existence because of natural suffering.

How is Judaism linked to the State of Israel?

Israel was always viewed as the spiritual and physical homeland, no matter where the Jewish people lived.

Why do Jews Fast on Yom Kippur?

Fasting on Yom Kippur enables individuals to transcend the physical and focus on matters of the spirit.

Brit mila
Why do Jews circumcise?

Throughout Jewish history, circumcision signifies the covenant between the Jewish people and God.

A 1,000-year-old Hebrew Bible,was unveiled at the Museum of the Bible on November 8, 2019.
Why are the Jews called the people of the Book?

Jews have always had a special reverence and appreciation for books.

Why do Jews celebrate Passover?

The Passover Seder commemorates the events of the Jewish experience in Egypt – from their enslavement to the miraculous events of the Exodus.

A baby
What makes a person Jewish?

A Jew who does not observe the commandments or Jewish traditions is still considered Jewish.

What is the reason for the Jewish dietary laws?

The Torah provides a detailed list of foods that are kosher and those that are not.

Amulet from 'Segulot u'refuot' (Charms and Cures); this manuscript is a compendium of remedies
Rabbi Akiva Eger had anti-plague amulets

Jewish sectors with a penchant for mysticism – such as many Sephardi traditions and hassidic communities – have been more likely to embrace the notion of a mystical shield provided by amulets.

By LEVI COOPER
29/10/2020
Sun penetrating the clouds above the mountains near Chengdu, China. "It looks like Genesis to me," s
Do Jews believe in heaven?

According to some authorities, ‘The World to Come’ refers to the world inhabited by the righteous after death.

Small but growing number of Orthodox rabbis are officiating gay weddings

“It’s been an issue that has really had a lot of movement within the Jewish community and the Orthodox community. In the progressive Orthodox world there’s a lot of receptivity.”

By JOSEFIN DOLSTEN/JTA
29/10/2020
Water flows furiously at Samach River during heavy rains, on the Golan Heights in January.
Parashat Noah: Two stories and one promise

What caused Noah to merit being the only survivor from whom humanity would continue after the flood?

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
26/10/2020
Albert Einstein
Judaism can provide the answer to our current crisis of leadership

We are definitely in need of good leadership. So what went wrong?

By RABBI DR. RAPHAEL SHUCHAT
25/10/2020
Over and over, the midrash recognises the equal potential for good.
Genesis reminds us that God chose to make humans despite their fallibility

In one of the many passages addressing the creation of Adam, God wonders pre-creation how to proceed since both wicked and righteous will be brought into the world.

By NECHAMA GOLDMAN BARASH
25/10/2020
Tree of Life
New 'Eco Bible' explains what the Hebrew Bible says about ecology

Meeting the critical environmental challenges that humans now face will take more than scientific and ecological knowhow.

Word Zionist Congress to reframe and reclaim Zionist ideals in diaspora

JEWISH AFFAIRS: Ahead of the World Zionist Congress, the Jewish Agency’s David Breakstone on the challenges facing the Jewish people and Israel’s national institutions.

On Sukkot, a sense of belonging and true resilience

In this 2020 fall season, let us try to develop a true inner joy that is based not on our external assets but rather on our vulnerability, faith and resilience.

By RONEN NEUWIRTH
18/10/2020
The decades that transformed Judaism

It will take a long time for Judaism 3.0 to develop.

18/10/2020
The vivid legend of Rabbi Ben Levi

A foreword to the book connects the Ben Levi legend to the perception of miracles in Jewish folk lore, and invites readers to marvel at the gorgeous art his story has inspired.

Bereshit: Repairing Humpty Dumpty

Was man created primarily good and virtuous or fundamentally evil and immoral?

By MOSHE TARAGIN
15/10/2020
Judaism confronts the modern intellect‏

Rabbi Amnon Bazak seeks to educate laity, suggest answers to theological tensions

By ALAN JOTKOWITZ
15/10/2020
Parashat Bereishit: Different and together

The solution to loneliness is the relationship between man and woman, the “helpmate opposite him” that God creates.

Christianity deeply rooted in Judaism, new Bible translation claims

Roman colonialists invented the word “Palestine” in order to insult the native Jewish population with the memory of their ancient enemies, the Philistines.

LGBT flag on Jerusalem's King George Street, July 31, 2018
Rabbi Lau releases guide for religious LGBTQ+ Jews: Not good to be alone

The document is meant to provide guidance on relationships and families of members of the religious LGBTQ+ community which has been severely lacking from religious literature, explained Lau.

12/10/2020
Christians at the annual Jerusalem March on Thurday, September 27th, 2018.
Virtual pilgrimage to Jerusalem, global prayer session takes place today

Participants can share written prayers that will be placed in the cracks of the Western Wall.

Matan holds special Hoshana Raba night of live stream study - watch

Matan students, as well as the wider community in Israel and around the world, are invited to join in this meaningful and uplifting event.

A year with the sages: Making the ancient relevant

Reuven Hammer’s last book explores meanings of the Bible on contemporary issues

By JACK RIEMER
08/10/2020
Belz Hassidic movement
Police investigate Belz hassidic community over coronavirus violations

Shas MK accuses police of covert agreements with radical hassidic groups in Mea Shearim to allow mass celebrations despite coronavirus lockdown

‘HAVING CHOSEN God, the Torah is God’s response to us.’ Pictured: The Yanov Torah, rescued from the
Senior ultra-Orthodox rabbis call to reduce dancing on Simhat Torah

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky and Rabbi Gershon Edelstein instruct not to hold hands during traditional holiday dancing, not to kiss Torah scrolls, and to keep distance ‘as far as possible.’

Simhat Torah and the lockdown’s legacy

As we bid farewell to one of history’s most unusual, unorthodox Sukkot, the very soul of Simhat Torah has been winnowed down to a shell of its former self.

From the backwoods to Israel’s Torah

With the joy that is the theme of this holiday, Bracha's children have found their way home.

Simhat Torah: The joy of mission impossible

Once we start to read the Torah all over again, we need to be reminded of its absolute holiness, rendering it nearly inaccessible and unapproachable.

Rejoicing with the Torah

This celebration encompasses all layers of society, young and old, rich and poor, learned and less learned.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
08/10/2020
Simhat Torah in the corona age

The holiday's celebratory dancing is a custom which is not required to fulfill any of the core obligations.

By RABBI SHLOMO BRODY
08/10/2020
Expressing happiness on Simhat Torah in the US

Being an American by birth, it has been important to me to search resources to find out how my forebearers there observed the holiday in the traditional manner.

By DAVID GEFFEN
08/10/2020
Simhat Torah: The joy of the Torah

A special feature of the service is calling all children under 13 years to the Reading of the Law.

Birkat Kohanim at the Western Wall in the shadow of coronavirus

Normally thousands of people attend, praying and singing to God.

Amid coronavirus, haredi leaders must choose lives or lifestyle

Ultra-Orthodox leaders feel like they have to decide between risking the lives in the community or the life of the community.

An emancipated Jewess during the Napoleonic era

An 18th-century tale engages the 21st-century reader’s imagination

By MARTIN LOCKSHIN
01/10/2020
Sukkot of innocence and experience

The original sukkah-huts in the desert provided the first appreciation of human vulnerability.

By MOSHE TARAGIN
01/10/2020
Sukkot: a time of joy and unity

Sukkot externalizes the internal joy of the purified person, the atoned, the person celebrating the beginning of the new year with a clean heart and good will.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
01/10/2020
Thoughts on Sukkot

One needs to enter the sukkah and be fully encompassed by it to fulfill his or her obligation to dwell in the sukkah.

By AHARON WEXLER
01/10/2020
Yom Kippur - United individuals

The very fact that we are Jews has never been controversial; And so, in spite of all the controversies, we have always felt as one essence, as one body.

By MENI EVEN-ISRAEL
29/09/2020
Mayanei Hayeshua Medical team treat a patient with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the coronavirus
Who by earthquake and who by (coronavirus) plague?

In 5781, Unetaneh Tokef is even more relevant than in most recent years, as its words can be read as a direct commentary on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rivlin: On Yom Kippur, light memorial candle a for coronavirus victims

The president said a modified version of the Yizkor prayer, which is said to remember those who have died and is recited several times of year, including on Yom Kippur.

27/09/2020
Finding depth, meaning: Journey into the world of the father of Chabad

The greatest innovation found in Tanya is the concept of the two souls and the constant, daily battle that composes the human struggle.

Jewish groups partner to launch Akedah Project for Rosh Hashanah

"Jews come together over a shared text, and offer dialogue, discussion, debate, and criticism—always within the context of a community.'

Will the coronavirus pandemic make synagogues obsolete?

RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS: Corona restrictions have forged innovations that could alter the way Jews pray.

By LINDA GRADSTEIN
27/09/2020
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Hasidic Jews have rebbes, secular Jews have Ruth Bader Ginsburg

RBG became a moral icon, held up as a beacon of sagacity, fierce femininity and strident commitment to progressive justice.

By RABBI BEN GREENFIELD/JTA
27/09/2020
Chabad to honor 1,200 COVID-19 victims in world’s largest Yizkor broadcast

Chabad will scroll the names of loved ones across the screen during the event, allowing all those participating to take a moment to mourn them.

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