Archive for the 'Jewish' Category

Passover – The Story and The Traditions

Monday, March 19th, 2012

The Jewish holiday of Passover is one filled with rich tradition. But, even more than on any other Jewish holiday, the biggest tradition (and commandment) of Passover is actually the story itself. Jews are commanded to tell the story of Passover in each generation as if it were we, ourselves, who were freed from slavery in Egypt.

Different from most Jewish holidays (in which the religious observance takes place mostly in the synagogue), on Passover the observance takes place at home with a festival meal and re-telling of the Passover story. Called the Seder, this festival meal and service is celebratory and educational, filled with delicious food, tradition and symbolism. The “instruction manual” for the Seder is a book called the Hagaddah (which actually means the telling.) On every Seder table, appear the symbols through which the story is told. And how do we tell the story as if we were actually participants in the Exodus from Egypt? By becoming participants in the story . . . by not just reading about the symbols–but by tasting, using, and experiencing the symbols. By questioning, debating, discussing . . . and singing!

Perhaps the best-recognized symbol of Passover is the Matzah–the unleavened bread. By eating it for seven days during Passover instead of regular bread, we actually become the Israelites in such a hurry to escape Egypt before Pharaoh changed his mind that they didn’t even take time to let their bread rise. As the central symbol of Passover, the Matzah has an honored place on the Seder table, usually placed in an exquisite Matzah Cover.

The other symbols of the Passover Seder also hold places of honor at the table, displayed beautifully on a traditional Seder Plate. This plate often has a section for each of the symbols and a label in Hebrew or in English (or both) to remind us what goes there: parsley, a lamb bone, a roasted egg, bitter herb, salt water, and charoset (a delicious mixture of apples, nuts, and wine).

And let’s not forget the wine! At the Seder it’s traditional to drink four cups. So, at the center of the table stands an ornate Kiddush Cup used especially for blessing the wine and consecrating the specialness of the day.

One of the most beautiful traditions of the Seder is that of welcoming all to join us: the old and young, the poor and wealthy, the Jew and non-Jew. So, it’s not uncommon for non-Jews to attend a Passover Seder from time to time. All are welcome to tell the story, to participate in the traditions, and to enjoy the sounds and tastes of this festive springtime holiday. Happy Passover! Chag sameyach!

Tu B’Shevat, February 8th, 2012

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Tu B’Shevat, the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat is a holiday also celebrated as the New Year for Trees.

Tu B’Shevat is the new year for the purpose of calculating the age of trees for tithing, which states that fruit from trees may not be eaten during the first three years.  Each tree is considered to have aged one year as of Tu B’Shevat, so if you planted a tree on Shevat 14, it begins its second year the next day, but if you plant a tree two days later, on Shevat 16, it does not reach its second year until the next Tu B’Shevat.

(November 29) Today we’re celebrating . . .  Electronic Greetings Day

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Electronic Greetings Day
One of the most popular online services are Electronic Greeting Cards. And whether they’re called eGreetings or eCards, you can easily send birthday wishes to holiday greetings to friends and family from the comfort of your computer.

And what a perfect time to make you aware of our own eCard site – Holiday eCards on the Net – where you can send free holiday and general eCards. Right now we’ve got a great selection of Seasonal Greetings, Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanzaa holiday egreetings to send.

(November 09) Today we’re observing . . .  Anniversary of Kristallnacht

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

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Anniversary: Kristallnacht
Crystal Night” or “Night of Broken Glass” was named for the smashed and broken glass of store windows as mobs and troops turned on Jewish residents in towns throughout Germany. Businesses and Synagogues were burned or destroyed while bonfires consumed Jewish prayer books and Torah scrolls. Over 30,000 Jewish men were taken to concentration camps.

More info:
Kristallnacht The November 1938 Pogroms

(October 21) Today we’re celebrating . . .  National Mammography Day

Friday, October 21st, 2011


National Mammography Day

“Save the Tatas!”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and today is a special day for eduction and information about preventing breast cancer through annual mammograms.

During the month of October many radiologists offer discounted or free Mammograms.

photo credit: via flickr

(October 20) Tonight we’re celebrating . . .  Simchat Torah

Thursday, October 20th, 2011


Simchat Torah (begins at sundown – Jewish)
The final day of the holiday of Sukkot, Simchat Torah is a Jewish holiday, which translates literally to the Joy of the Torah. The holiday marks the end of the annual cycle of reading the Jewish Bible and the beginning of the new cycle. In Israel, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are celebrated simultaneously.

(October 20) Today we’re celebrating . . .  Shemini Atzeret

Thursday, October 20th, 2011


Shemini Atzeret (began last night at sundown – Jewish)
Literally translated as the “eighth day of the assembly”, this Jewish holiday marks the ending of the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot.

More info: Sukkot on the Net: Shemini Atzeret

BTW – Tonight at sundown begins the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah.

image credit: via flickr

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