Judaism

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

A still from the film showing Moses leading his people out of Egypt.
The need for another timeless tale

The 1998 animated film the Prince of Egypt tells the story of the Children of Israel’s leap of faith as they escaped bondage.

06/04/2020
Footprints in the sand
Exile and Redemption

The story is about a process that contains both Exile and Redemption at every moment.

06/04/2020
Yochi Rindenow sits in her Jerusalem apartment.
What Goes Down Must Come Up

A physical descent can sometimes mask the tremendous energy and power encased in a person’s soul

By YOCHEVED RINDENOW-KALEV
06/04/2020
Jerusalem Foundation President Shai Doron
I am a Jerusalemite

Jerusalem Foundation president Shai Doron is attempting to plan for the city’s long-term future once the crisis ends.

How to Contend with the Coronavirus Crisis: A Jewish View

As deadly as the coronavirus has thus far proven to be, it does not even remotely approach other outbreaks.

Telling the untold story

Freelance journalist Annika Hernroth-Rothstein has spent the past five years chronicling distressed Jewish communities and their search for freedom.

06/04/2020
A young couple who were among the 72 immigrants from Ethiopia whom Israel welcomed last month in the
An exodus in progress

For the 115 Ethiopians who made aliyah last month, their arrival is both a manifestation of a dream realized, but also bittersweet, as many family members are still in limbo back home.

Feel your freedom in the Negev Desert

A tiyyul to Israel’s South, even if it must necessarily be a virtual one, can help recall our ancestors’ Exodus from Egypt.

By JOEL HABER
06/04/2020
Celebrating freedom through Israeli wine

The story of Israeli wine epitomizes the historic transformation Judaism is going through.

06/04/2020
Barry Leff
Why is this night different from all others?

With the coronavirus outbreak, this year’s Passover will certainly be one to remember

06/04/2020
A long way to freedom

The University of Haifa’s Clinics for Law and Social Change embarked on a mission to assess the mental health of refugees in Greece. The volunteers who listened to their stories are forever changed.

06/04/2020
Apostasy and the question of ‘Who is a Jew?’

While Michelson may have felt no affinity to his Jewish roots, it does not really matter. Every list of Jewish Nobel Prize winners includes Albert Michelson.

By JACOB SIVAK
06/04/2020
Jewish Museum in Moscow
Tuesday afternoons learning Yiddish with Chava in Arnona

Chava was born and raised in Mexico in a Yiddish-speaking home.

By ROBERT HERSOWITZ
06/04/2020
Is 'Chad Gadya' the first children's song in recorded history?
Is 'Chad Gadya' the first children's song in recorded history?

The purpose of the Haggadah is to fulfill the important commandment “and you shall tell your son” (and your daughter, we might add) the story of the Exodus.

By AMIT NAOR / NATIONAL LIBRARY OF ISRAEL
06/04/2020
A mikveh [ritual bath]
Mayyim Hayyim mikvah in Massachusetts closes to prevent coronavirus spread

Like many other mikvahs, Mayyim Hayyim had remained open even after other Jewish institutions shut down, employing enhanced cleaning procedures in mitigate risk.

By JOSEFIN DOLSTEN/JTA
05/04/2020
Shabbat candles
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By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
03/04/2020
Lauren Hoffmann covers her and her son Asa’s eyes during their Shabbat dinner in San Antonio, Texas
Unprecedented call from world's chief rabbis to unite against coronavirus

In a letter, the rabbis call on Jews to, "to adhere – with total commitment – to the health and safety protocols as set out by their country," and to keep the 'Great-Shabbat' leading up to Passover.

By CELIA JEAN
04/04/2020
Must a coronavirus carrier disclose that information?

Find out a Rabbi's perspective on this newly relevant question.

By SHLOMO BRODY
03/04/2020
Parashat Tzav and independent spiritual work

The main lesson humanity is learning now is that we shouldn’t count on the system to work for the individual. People understand that whoever doesn’t take care of himself, others cannot do it for him.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
03/04/2020
Plato, the Haggadah and the art of reading

Unwittingly, Plato touched on a most fundamental aspect of the Jewish tradition.

Holocaust Remembrance Day can still be held communally despite coronavirus

A website has been launched online so that hosts can hold events to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day, since official events have been canceled.

By CELIA JEAN
02/04/2020
JUSTIN BIEBER
Justin Bieber says Shema Yisrael on Instagram live

Bieber assumedly knows the prayer from his Jewish long-time manager, Scooter Braun.

02/04/2020
Coronavirus and Passover: It doesn’t have to be as bleak as you fear

“It’s important to look at what Passover represents as a whole, which is the idea that faith can transcend anything and that hope can be found everywhere,” said Mendi Baron.

By SHARON FEIEREISEN
02/04/2020
Passover seder
Why is this Passover different from all others?

For the past few weeks as the Passover holiday inched toward us, preparations for the commemoration and celebration of the holiday have given rise to growing angst.

By ARI KAHN
02/04/2020
Unpacking and packing the Passover dishes

When I contemplated giving away the dishes and glassware that I’d cherished and added to for more than half a century, I realized I couldn’t do it.

Western Wall notes removed for Passover, stones sanitized for coronavirus

The notes are removed bi-annually every year before Passover and Rosh Hashana, however this year extra emphasis was placed on sanitation and hygiene.

By CELIA JEAN
31/03/2020
Women of the Wall write a letter in protest of Arye Deri's decision

The organization expressed great concern about the decision, despite "the pain caused by leaving the Western Wall empty for the first time in the State of Israel's history."

By CELIA JEAN
31/03/2020
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By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
27/03/2020
Matan holds special online Pesach seminar - watch live

The day of learning is virtual. It will be broadcast live on Zoom LINK via Matan and will also be available live on the Jerusalem Post website.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
30/03/2020
The Maggid of Melbourne: Speaking, writing, publishing

Rayatz was an avid collector of books and he added a postscript to his letter noting that – despite his critique of Alfes – he had yet to receive two other works Alfes has written.

By LEVI COOPER
26/03/2020
Parashat Vayikra: Let’s heed the call!

Wishing everyone – the Jewish nation and all of humanity – good health!

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
26/03/2020
A Passover seder for two, I hope...

This year’s Seder will be one to remember, too. A Seder for two, I hope, as I pray that neither my husband nor I will be harboring the coronavirus and be hospitalized.

Richard Codor’s Joyous Haggadah: The Illuminated Story of Passover

On this Passover, the holiday’s meaning will be the same, and yet the form will be quite different from any we have ever celebrated before.

By DAVID GEFFEN
26/03/2020
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men pray next to a shuttered synagogue as Israelis were instructed on Wednesda
You don’t need Zoom or Skype to say Kaddish without a minyan

The decision to blur virtual reality with actual reality and relax the rules of minyan should not be taken lightly.

By SETH WINBERG , JTA
28/03/2020
Chief rabbis ban prayer in synagogues over coronavirus crisis

Chief Rabbis Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau said that prayer services with a maximum of ten men spaced two meters apart could still be held.

Oh yes, I remember that seder well

Generally, disagreements among family members about who remembers most accurately, do not end with serious consequences.

By JANE BIRAN
06/04/2020
Ripple Matzah Plate
Passover: Sell your Chametz online with Tzohar and The Jerusalem Post

Especially during the coronavirus crisis, selling your chametz should be done easily online.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
05/04/2020
A mikveh [ritual bath]
Why mikvahs are open during the coronavirus outbreak – for now

A decision Thursday by the Village of Kiryas Joel, a Hasidic enclave an hour north of Manhattan, may hint at what’s to come.

By JOSEFIN DOLSTEN/JTA
22/03/2020
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By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
20/03/2020
Siyum HaShas held in Pinsk, city where Nazis were once in control

In this city where Hitler was once in control there is a unique reason to not let anything deter a celebration of Jewish scholarship. Where once there was tragedy, now there is celebration.

By JOSH NASS
26/03/2020
Parsha Vayakhel Pekudei: Quarantine, loneliness, and unconditional love

These are difficult times. We all send wishes for a speedy and complete recovery to all those who are sick, and condolences to the bereaved families. Our hearts are with you!

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
20/03/2020
The bar mitzvah that almost wasn’t

At the age of 93, a man has his Bar-Mitzvah, because when he was 13 the Nazi's burned down his synagogue.

By CHARLES TICHO
26/03/2020
Reading the Ten Commandments in modern day Egypt

I had the honor of attending the hanukat habayit ceremony of the Eliyahu HaNavi synagogue, also known by the name of its street – Nebi Daniel in Alexandria, Egypt.

By MICHELLE BARUCH
26/03/2020
With communal mourning a health hazard, grieving Jews must sit shiva alone

But as the coronavirus upends ever more aspects of daily life and social distancing becomes the order of the day, such basic human acts have virtually overnight become threats to public health.

By BEN HARRIS/JTA
19/03/2020
A MAN wraps fresh matza during Passover in Ashdod in 2016
Passover in pandemic: Families on Zoom, solo seders and broken traditions

Passover traditions have been upended by the coronavirus and the restrictions necessary to contain its spread.

By BEN SALES/JTA
18/03/2020
Shabbat candles
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By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
13/03/2020
‘WHILE THE Golden Calf surprised Moses, Herzl was ready to confront it.’
Parasha and Herzl: The Golden Calf reappears

Forty days without Moses is a long time.

13/03/2020
‘THE ALTAR of incense.’  (Print from the Phillip Medhurst Collection of Bible illustrations;
Parashat Ki Tisa: turning a bad smell to a good aroma

One of the directives pertains to the making of the incense, a blend of herbs and balms placed on coals inside the Mishkan, which spread a pleasant smell

A painting of Queen Esther by Edwin Long, 1878, at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
What's wrong with Esther?

But as we are getting close to judging the Book of Esther unforgivingly ourselves, we must step back and look at the work as a referendum on how Godless politics are and how dangerous power can be.

By ERICA BROWN
19/03/2020
Halachic handbook for the coronavirus pandemic

Here's what to do in circumstances where Jewish customs and rituals might increase the chance of exposure to, or spreading, of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

The tomb of Esther and Mordechai, a drawing by Eugène Flandin, 1851
How Iran’s Jewish community purchased the tomb of Esther and Mordechai

Documents discovered in the CAHJP archives reveal a surprising initiative undertaken by the Jews of Iran and the country’s government to mark 2,500 years since the Edict of Cyrus.

By CHEN MALUL/NATIONAL LIBRARY OF ISRAEL
10/03/2020
‘BECAUSE IT’S a megillah written in Safed, we chose the writing style of the Ari as our font.’
Megillah reading livestreamed for those in coronavirus quarantine – watch

The Great Synagogue of Tel Aviv will livestream the megillah reading, but those who aren't sick are still required to hear it in person.

09/03/2020
A BRILLIANT future: Purim masks on sale at Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda marke
Union of Synagogues to release coronavirus conduct information for Purim

The press release points out that the hearing of the megila in a community is only an option and that Jewish tradition places caution in health matters over religious harshness.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
08/03/2020
JDC volunteers gather in Moscow to prepare mishloah manot for elderly Jews

“I can say that doing something good for people, making sweets with your own hands, and putting all your heart in is so much better than receiving any gifts," said one of the volunteers.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
08/03/2020
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By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
06/03/2020
NELSON MANDELA visits Harlem in 1990
Short stories of the Harlem Renaissance

Short stories provide a rich look at black lives from sawmill workers to gamblers to washerwomen.

By COLETTE BANCROFT
05/03/2020
‘PRIESTS OF the Tabernacle,’ with high priest at center, wearing the ‘hoshen hamishpat.’ (Illustrati
Parashat Tetzaveh: One end, a variety of means

One of the unique items of clothing belonging to the kohen gadol, the high priest, was called Hoshen HaMishpat, which the kohen wore on his chest.

Shabbat candles
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By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
28/02/2020
A BRILLIANT future: Purim masks on sale at Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda marke
Purim and Jewish power

Queen Esther’s story is celebrated even in haredi quarters, and elicits nary a peep from the #MeToo movement.

‘THE TORAH is a gate’: Old Jerusalem outer gate of the Istanbuli Synagogue, Jewish Quarter, Old City
Parshat Truma: Judaism is a gate to the real thing

We can’t help but wonder: Why do you we need to know all these details?

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
27/02/2020
US National Library of Congress to accept book of Talmud for first time

The translation from Hebrew to English took world renowned Rabbi Steinsaltz 8 years to complete.

By CELIA JEAN
04/03/2020
Shabbat candles
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By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
21/02/2020
Parashat Mishpatim: Clarity and choice

When we teach, our goal is not only to bequeath knowledge. We want to have our student internalize the content. The material has to be presented to the students “like a table, set and prepared to eat

Purim recommendations for staying safe and having fun by MDA

Purim is a holiday meant for hiding our faces, but losing them isn't something anyone wants.

By CELIA JEAN
20/02/2020
Shabbat candles
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By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
14/02/2020
THIS SLENDER booklet documents Isaiah Wassilevsky’s 1916 lecture on hassidism
Wassilevsky’s hassidic super-souls

When Wassilevsky described hassidism’s approach to Zion, it seems that contemporary issues were close to his mind; it is not always clear when he is channeling hassidism or speaking in his own voice.

By LEVI COOPER
13/02/2020
‘THE TORAH is a book that establishes the status of the common man.’
Parashat Yitro - To whom is God speaking?

God spoke to everyone and wanted a partnership with everyone

The "Moskowitz Mahzor"
15th century Jewish prayer book restored by National Library of Israel

The 376-page treasure took several months to restore due to the complicated procedure and its delicate condition.

President Reuven Rivlin with three generations of artichokes growers
Keren Kayemet L'Israel invites nation's youth to celebrate Tu B'Shvat

Monday's gathering was within the framework of a week of Tu B'Shvat oriented activities that included the planting of trees in the Lahav Forest in the southern part of the country.

SOWING SEEDS: The WIZO of the 1920s birthed the WIZO Executive of 2020. (Top: Kfir Sivan; Bottom: C
The history of WIZO and Tu Bishvat

The connection between the Jewish New Year for the Trees and WIZO can be further illustrated through the following Tu Bishvat related stories.

The customs and traditions of Tu Bishvat

There are many customs that have arisen to remind us of the meaning of this day.

A comparison of Exodus from Egypt to 'Exodus from Europe'

Was the Exodus from Egypt only a dress rehearsal? Is it now?

07/02/2020
PARSHAT BESHALAH: Being ‘God’s hand’

When we work toward positive goals, when we try to add holiness to human reality, we merit being the “hand of God.”

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
07/02/2020
A page from the Babylonian Talmud
New Daf Yomi app used by Jews daily in Gulf countries

Over 26,000 people are already using the app. The 14th Daf Yomi (daily page) cycle began in January.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
04/02/2020
Shabbat candles
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By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
31/01/2020
Iranian armed forces members march during the ceremony of the National Army Day parade in Tehran, Ir
Controversial 'Bible codes' rabbi predicts Iran to attack Israel this year

Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson, who has written more than 30 books, made a video in which he uses Bible codes to back his prediction that within the year Iran will attack Israel.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
01/02/2020
Could the Bible have predicted today's worldwide coronavirus outbreak?

Controversial biblical scholar Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson: "You have it exactly in the section of the Torah that says things you should not eat."

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
16/03/2020
YOUNG WOMEN study at Jerusalem’s Midreshet Lindenbaum
Where does gender matter?

Inevitably, many people, particularly young people, admit that in their “regular” lives, it hardly matters at all.

By NECHAMA GOLDMAN BARASH
31/01/2020
The Jewish home
Parashat Bo: The Jewish home

The path to freedom and goals.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
31/01/2020
RABBI ADIN STEINSTALTZ
From Joshua to Malachi

Making the biblical books of Prophets accessible.

By Rivkah Lambert Adler
03/02/2020
FAMED AUTHOR AB Yehoshua.
The Jewish religion is indeed intertwined with Zionism

A response to AB Yehoshua’s views on Jewish nationalism.

31/01/2020
A page from the Haggadah titled ‘Advice From a Tree’
Tu Bishvat's Haggadah: A celebration of fruits and trees of the Holy Land

The celebration of Tu Bishvat is seen in Israel as a symbolic return to the world of nature, and of rootedness in a specific place, the ancestral soil.

By MORDECHAI BECK
31/01/2020
‘Tu Bishvat’ by Ze’ev Raban (1890-1970)
Tu Bishvat: The Jewish people’s new year of the trees

A history of Tu Bishvat in the land of milk and honey

By DAVID GEFFEN
31/01/2020
Shabbat candles
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By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
24/01/2020
‘THE PROCESS of renewal is now, the month of Shvat, when it is all happening within the tree.’
Shvat: The month of self-nurture

At this time of year, the nights are still longer than the days, but we have turned the corner on this. The darkness that prevails at night is beginning to lessen.

By DEVORAH KUR
31/01/2020
Surrogacy and conversion
Ask the Rabbi: Surrogacy and conversion

While within Jewish law, fatherhood is established through the owner of the sperm, the case of ovum donation is more critical because Jewish status.

By SHLOMO BRODY
25/01/2020
THE FAMOUS Egyptian pyramids are a perfect example of ancient Egypt’s power and spiritual decay
PARASHAT VA’ERA: The beginnings of freedom

This week, in parashat Va’era, we begin to read about the exodus from Egypt. Most of the story is devoted to the 10 plagues, the 10 supernatural phenomena that afflicted Egypt.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
24/01/2020
THE SILVER Kiddush cup given to the writer’s late husband John on his birth by his grandmother Nanny
Kiddush cups: Loss and hope

Every family’s story can speak for all of us on International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Shabbat candles
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By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
17/01/2020
Judaism’s main goal is to make us God-aware – prayer is just the low-hanging fruit to that end
Jewish Prayer: On finding the ‘wow’

Those of us who pray regularly can’t help but ask whether prayer works, as if “works” is defined by whether the entire universe bent to your wishes and desires, based on your simple request.

By AHARON E. WEXLER
16/01/2020
MOSES EMBODIES morality and caring without limit.’
Parashat Shemot: An antisemite, an apathetic man and a righteous gentile

Only when we are confident in the possibility of reality being better can we wholeheartedly devote ourselves to repairing humanity.

By SHMUEL RABINOWITZ
16/01/2020
Women study torah Talmud 248.88 AJ
Learning Talmud daily has changed the way I think about Judaism - opinion

At 17, Hila Schlakman is the youngest female to have completed the seven year study of the Talmud.

By HILA SCHLAKMAN / JTA
12/01/2020
Cambodian royal family celebrates first bat mitzvah

Elior Koroghli is the great-granddaughter of MH King Monivong, who ruled Cambodia until 1941.

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