On the fifteenth of the Hebrew month of Nissan (which falls out in Spring), Jewish people begin celebrating an eight-day festival called Passover. For seven days they eat no leavened foods, they have a festive meal on the first night called a Seder and celebrate the redemption of their ancestors from ancient Egypt. What exactly happened there in Egypt? Let’s tell you all about it… Continue reading
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Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish festival celebrated in the winter. Outside of Israel, the festival is often considered as the Jewish equivalent to Xmas but this does not do justice to this wonderful festival that is a festival in its own right, with its own history, symbolism and traditions. Unfortunately, as with many other religions, Hanukkah has been commercialized and each year we find another Hanukkah accessory that we “simply can’t live without.” Sometimes, one just needs to go back to the roots and renew the appreciation for a festival in the simplest way, in order to realize the preciousness of it so we would like to present a list of ten lesser known facts about this wonderful festival, in the hope that it will bring back some of the glory to this special eight-day-period. Continue reading
Another Hanukkah, another Gift-Fest?
Hanukkah 5763 (or 2012 according to the non-Jewish calendar) is rolling around and before long we will be racking our brains for appropriate holiday gifts. It has become customary to give gifts on the wintery festival of Hanukkah that celebrates the incredible victory of the band of Jewish guerilla fighters known as the Maccabees who fought against the mighty Greek army. Continue reading
Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish festival that is celebrated in the Hebrew month of Kislev has taken on a different character in different communities around the world. Due to the long two-thousand year exile from the land of Israel, the Jewish people lived in different countries and over time these different communities celebrated the Jewish holidays with slightly different twists. Today, as the Jewish people return to their homeland it is fascinating to discover the different customs that evolved around the world in different Jewish communities. Here are eight different customs for each one of the eight nights of Chanukah… Continue reading
According to the Zohar, we are visited by spiritual guests during the festival of Sukkot, known as Ushpizin. The Ushpizin guests number seven and they are; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and King David. The Lubavitcher Rebbe taught that there are also seven Hassidic Ushpizin that accompany these seven spiritual guests and they are; the Baal Shem Tov, the Maggid of Mezritch, the Alter Rebbe, the Mitteler Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek, the Rebbe Maharash and the Rebbe Rashab. Although all of these guests visit our Sukkot on each day of the festival, each day is known to have it’s own special guests. Continue reading
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and lasts for two days, falling at the beginning of the Jewish month of Tishrei. The festival is already in the conscience of Jewish people from the preceding month of Elul which is a time of preparation for the upcoming solemn days of Rosh Hashanah. The day before Rosh Hashanah often goes unnoticed but it has its own interesting prayers and customs and it is a shame to not pay attention to it Continue reading