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Has the Purim frenzy hit you yet?
The stores in my neighborhood have been showcasing children’s costumes for weeks already. Royal red capes and flared princess gowns seem to be as popular as ever. Last week I even saw some young entrepreneurs setting up shop in the trunk of their car, parked on a busy main road, and business was rocking!
The grocery store aisles are bustling with people doing their mishloach manot shopping, and the party supply stores have enormous displays of baskets, cellophane, ribbon and other packing supplies.
On my walk to work each morning I pass a number of bakeries—all of which have been offering the traditional Purim hamantashen with a full range of fillings for a couple of weeks already. They are pretty to
Startling parallels between ancient Persia and Israel’s predicament today
Twenty-five hundred years after our confrontation with one genocidal Persian madman, the Jewish people face another – Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the mad mullahs of Iran, who have repeatedly declared that "Israel must be wiped off the map."
Tension is thick in Israel these days as 6 million Jews await the course of events to unfold. Will Israel bomb Iran? Will the world support such an attack? And perhaps
Spiritual lessons from trees, for Tu B’Shvat.
It was 110 degrees the morning we climbed the steep cliff near the Dead Sea. My husband and I thought we had enough water. But the air was so heavy with heat, I felt it push down upon my shoulders. Soon I was at the bottom of my water pack. Dizzy and exhausted, we could not risk sitting down on the exposed, simmering sand. And then I saw what looked like a mirage – a small, scraggly tree poking out of the edge of the mountain.
We scrambled up to
What is the meaning of laughter?
What makes people laugh? Triggers of laughter often transcend words and even intellect; laughter can even cross cultural boundaries. What makes something funny?
I was once so embarrassed by my own laughter that I was forced to address the question. I was spending Shabbat in Jerusalem and my host insisted on joining the Friday night services at a local nursing home for terminal patients to help them out. They regularly had trouble getting together the ten men
The first day of [the Hebrew month] Shevat is the New Year for the tree according to the House of Shamai. The House of Hillel says it is on the 15th of Shevat. (Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 2a)
Question: Why is it necessary for us to know the date of the "New Year for Trees"?
Answer: The Hebrew calendar is set up according to a seven year cycle. The seventh year is known as the year of shemittah, during which the land is left idle and no work is done in the fields. In the first, second, fourth and