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I loved Passover. It was the swishing of brooms in surround sound that confounded me.
Becoming observant transformed my Passover experience. Our Seders had deeper meaning, often stretching into the wee hours of the morning. The Haggadah began to resonate and, thanks to my children’s Hebrew school, new, beautiful songs were added to our repertoire.
It was the swishing of brooms in surround sound that confounded me. I guess deep cleaning was my personal challenge. Stumped by the scouring pads, I would glare at them, wondering how to connect scrubbing with spirituality. By the time I would pick up my broom, my industrious neighbors had usually finished cleaning their houses and were already cooking for the Seder.
I realized I had much to
The outbreak of World War I, on August 1, 1914, had dire consequences for the over 90,000 Jews of the Land of Israel.
During the traumatic days of the First World War, the Jews of the Land of Israel faced a brutal wave of persecution. This wave intensified over Passover, 1917, when Jewish communities were forced from their homes to wander as refugees within their own land who would return to their homes a year and a half later.
On October 28, 1914, the Ottoman Turks, in an effort to preserve
Sukkot, or Tabernacles, is the most joyous of all the festivals. We call it the ‘season of our rejoicing’. And like Pesach much of the celebration lies in the preparation.
For a week, we leave the security of our houses and live in huts or booths to remind us of the tabernacles in which the Israelites sheltered during the forty years of wandering on their way to the promised land. For several days beforehand – beginning immediately after the Day of Atonement – Jewish families become teams of
Why does Judaism make such a big deal about the Exodus? Of course, on Passover it deserves the limelight. But every Shabbat and holiday, in the middle of Kiddush, apropos to nothing, the Exodus from Egypt is thrown in. Every day in reciting the Shema, we recall the Exodus. Even one of the 613 commandments of the Torah is to remember the Exodus every day.
Jewish history is not short on great historical episodes: the sacrifice of Isaac, the revelation at Sinai, the crossing into the Promised
Much of the struggle for Soviet Jewry was waged by picketers, marchers, and lobbyists in the United States. But a lesser-known part of the battle was waged by individual American Jews who journeyed to the USSR itself. Forty years ago, a Manhattan rabbi helped ignite a Simchat Torah celebration in Moscow that was heard ’round the world.
Under the leadership of Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on Manhattan’s Upper East Side was one of the first major synagogues in the U.S. to take an