While the original reason for consuming milk meals on Shavuot has likely been lost, many theories and interpretations remain.
What is healthy Jewish pride? While exploring the past, present, and future of Chanukah, Rabbi Bernat-Kunin proposes a new home ritual.
It is considered forbidden to fast on fast days if injurious to one’s health, for the sake of performing positive commandments.
While writing a teshuvah on changing our language for aliyot to kohenet from bat kohen, Rabbi David J Fine, PhD, reflects on egalitarianism.
Exploring the mitzvah of counting the omer as a practice of (good) habit formation– a 49 day omer challenge.
One explanation offered by the Sages for Yachatz in the seder is that it helps promote making the world less broken, if not completely whole.
Let’s do more than remember our refugee origin story and include how climate change and disruption are leading to new refugees.
How my family created and passed down cultural traditions, and how the Conservative Teshuvah on Kitniyot impacts our life outside the academy.
This is why I think my family’s tradition of inviting a non-Jew each year to the Passover seder is important.
When is the earliest time that we can begin observing Jewish festivals, on first or second day of Yom Tov, in particular, the Passover seder?
Making hamentaschen has been a powerful tradition for me throughout my entire life and brings me tremendous joy.
Purim celebrates unexpected heroes as role models. Those heroes, Esther and Mordechai encourage us to be our full selves.
It can be daunting to prepare for your first seder. We’ve put together a collection of great posts that will help you get started.
Rosh Hodesh is less hierarchical and more open to creative interpretation than most Jewish occasions/events. The possibilities are endless.
Purim has something for everyone. In celebrating the Purim, our tradition outlines four special mitzvot for the holiday.
A series of special Shabbatot with special Torah readings precede Purim and Passover.
Tradition dictates that Purim be observed on the fourteenth day of Adar, and begins with the recitation of the regular evening service.
According to a well-known custom, drinking – and drinking to excess – on Purim is required for Jews celebrating the holiday. What is the origin of this custom? Are Jews really required to get drunk on Purim?
Purim is celebrated with days of feasting and merrymaking, and occasion for sending gifts to one another and gifts for the poor.
Purim is about the struggle of identity against assimilation, the value of tolerance, and to live proudly as Jews in an ocean of non-Jews.
A Tu Bishvat secret: If managed carefully, the seven species can go a long way to keeping a person fed for a whole year.
Tu Bishvat, the new year for Trees, can remind us that the world is God’s sacred gift to humanity, a precious legacy entrusted to our care.
What is the mystery of Eyn Keloheinu? How do we unravel the contradiction that seems to be present within this prayer?
Conservative/Masorti prayer books include the Hebrew letter “vav” in the blessing for the miracle of Hanukkah. What is its secret?
DIY Hanukkah: My custom of making a potato menorah and why DIY Judaica can provide a crucial connection to Judaism.
Liturgy on Hanukkah includes Hallel and additions to the Amidah. There are also special Torah readings, maftirs, and haftarot.
Hanukkah songs include those that follow candle lighting, as well as S’vivon sov sov sov, Hanukkah O’Hanukkah, and Neir Li.
The central mitzvah of Ḥanukkah is the lighting of the menorah at home and in the synagogue. This brings light to the darker winter months.
Beyond lighting the menorah, Hanukkah customs include special foods, the dreidel and gift-giving, especially when spending time with family.
Read here for the procedure for lighting candles for Hanukkah. This includes the blessings, song ideas, and order for lighting candles.
What is Hanukkah’s historical context? What does it actually commemorate? Who was Judah and the Maccabees?
Besides dwelling in a sukkah, the other significant mitzvah of Sukkot is the taking up of the arba·ah minim, literally “the four species.”
While celebrating Sukkot at home, rituals include lighting candles, sitting in the sukkah, and customs related to the sukkah.
On the mornings of Sukkot, Shacharit and Musaf follow the standard festival format. The lulav and etrog should be shaken.
The intermediate days of Sukkot, the weekdays, combine some features of festival days and normal weekdays to create wholly unique day.
Although the fifth intermediate day of Sukkot is known as Hoshana Rabbah, it is technically just the last day of ḥol ha-mo·eid.
The final two days of Sukkot are a totally separate holiday called Sh’mini Atzeret. Liturgy includes Yizkor and the prayer for rain.
Simḥat Torah means “the joy of Torah” and is the name for the day on which the annual cycle of Torah readings begins and ends.
The laws for lighting candles on Sh’mini Atzeret are similar to those for Shabbat. These laws also apply to Simḥat Torah.
Sukkot, one of the shalosh r’galim, the three pilgrimage festivals is celebrated five days after Yom Kippur.
The sukkah for Sukkot has some very basic requirements, but beyond these rules its construction is left to one’s imagination and creativity.
The laws for lighting candles on Sukkot are almost identical to the laws for Shabbat candle lighting, with the exception of covering eyes.
Ne’ilah is an additional service, recited only at the conclusion of Yom Kippur. It signifies the sealing of the Book of Life.
Minhah, the Afternoon Service, begins with the Torah service, including selections from Leviticus and the haftarah on the Book of Jonah.
The Yom Kippur Musaf Service includes two services: the Avodah service and the Martyrology service. Musaf follows Yizkor and Torah reading.
Following the Yom Kippur meal, candles are lit in a similar fashion to those lit on Rosh Hashanah. A Yizkor candle is also lit.
Maariv, the evening service, following Kol Nidrei on Erev Yom Kippur, is similar in many ways to daily Maariv but has notable differences.
The Yom Kippur morning service is similar to Rosh Hashanah, with the exception of the Amidah and the selections for the Torah service.
Preparations on Erev Yom Kippur are intrinsic to the awe-inspiring observance of the day: a special meal, candle lighting, and charity.
Yom Kippur begins with the dramatic Kol Nidrei service, intended to annul vows made between yourself and God.
The Memorial Service, Yizkor, is recited on Yom Kippur, one of four times throughout the year, to remember loved ones and Jewish martyrs.
Shemini Atzeret is a holiday that has left Jews puzzled for generations, but it’s really about our intimate relationship with God.
Rather than prohibit Halloween (and turn Jewish kids off), we have an opportunity to talk about Hoshana Rabbah and our heritage of ghost stories.
How does the imagery of water and rain connect Shemini Atzreet and Simchat Torah? What can we learn from this?
Reflecting on the idea that a tiny, fragile protuberance can make an entire ritual object unfit for use is absurd. Here’s what it teaches us.
Living in the Sukkah can mean just living in an outdoor hut for a week, but it can also bring so much more meaning into your life.
Yom Kippur with young children can be a challenge. Here are some tips for making the holiday meaningful for them and for you.
With lessons on failure, the value of admitting our mistakes, and allowing ourselves and others to apologize, the Book of Jonah has much to teach us.
One of the beautiful customs associated with Rosh Hashanah is Tashlikh, a brief service that takes place by a body of water.
Teshuvah in the 10 days of Repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are sacred days, but what about the days before and beyond those?
Five myths that we tell ourselves about t’shuvah that keep us from doing it skillfully or doing it at all.
What is Tashlich? How do you do it, what is its history, what are the environmental concerns and, of course, why I love Tashlich.
Sara Beth Berman teaches us: Everything you need to know about clothing the body that holds your precious soul for the High Holidays.
Rabbi Mordechai Rackover recommends these reads to help you prepare for the themes, liturgy, and spirit of the High Holidays.
The Musaf Service for Rosh Hashanah contains familiar opening and closing blessings of the Amidah with the usual High Holiday interpolations.
Sounding of the shofar is a characteristic mitzvah of Rosh Hashanah. The holiday is alternatively called the Day of Sounding the Shofar.
Rosh Hashanah Torah reading includes Abraham, Sarah, and the Binding of Isaac. Haftarot tell the story of Samuel and other relevant themes.
For most people, Rosh Hashanah means a lot of time spent praying in the synagogue. These are the complex explanations behind those prayers.
Rabbi Dan Ornstein teaches us: human freedom is ineradicable and that our dignity is predicated upon our moral responsibility.
Emily Jaeger explains to us: What is the Rosh Hashanah seder, how do we perform it, and why you might consider doing one too.
When we say hineni to ourselves and our lives have a spiritual center, our existence will be more meaningful, and we’ll live a more purposeful life.
Personal and at-home Rosh Hashanah rituals include candle lighting, eating apples with honey, and sharing meals.
When and how to do Rosh Hashanah Candle Lighting. We usher in Rosh Hashanah by lighting candles, just as we do on Shabbat.
Asking for forgiveness not only cultivates empathy and humility, but it provides an opportunity for renewal.
The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as the Ten Days of Repentance and include the Fast of Gedaliah.
Elul’s shofar blasts daily remind us of all we need to do to prepare spiritually for the upcoming holidays and the start of the new year.
It is said that Selichot opens the gates of heaven for the High Holy Days. This Selichot, do what opens your heart to the gates of heaven.
In faith: What matters in such things is the attitude of the one who is asking the question. What matters is an orientation of faithfulness.
There are customs in order to prepare for Rosh Hashanah, including Selichot, physical changes in the synagogue, and immersing in the mikveh.
While introspection is healthy, too much regret can discourage us from embracing our unchangeable past and our openness to future choices.
On Rosh Hashanah, we do not recite the traditional blessings announcing a new month for a variety of different reasons.
Selichot are special prayers recited in anticipation of the High Holidays introducing us to the themes of the upcoming holidays.
There are four New Years, each with its own purpose. That said, the counting of the new year begins with Rosh Hashanah, in the seventh month.
There are many ways to spiritually prepare in Elul for the Yamim Nora’im, the Days of Awe, also known as the High Holidays.
The ritual preparations for the High Holidays begin a full month in advance with the onset of the month of Elul.
Seliḥot, a series of penitential prayers, are recited in anticipation of Rosh Hashanah and the Days of Repentance. Here’s what to recite.
Rabbi Ilana Garber offers us her nine ways to make the 9th day of Av meaningful that do not involve fasting.
Luaḥ information for the observance of erev Tish’ah Be’av and the following day generously provided by Rabbi Miles Cohen.
Why is this time, surrounding Tisha B’Av, so important to the modern-day fight against antisemitism, and other forms of hatred and bigotry?
Rosh Hodesh, the first day of every lunar month, is primarily observed through additional prayers and a special Torah reading,
There are three kinds of fasts in Judaism rooted in history and spiritual practice with changes to prayer services.
Tishah Be’av is the saddest day of the Jewish year. We fast, read the Book of Lamentations, and reflect on history.
Gulienne Rollins-Rishon reflects on Juneteenth which commemorates the complete ending of legal slavery in the United States.
We thank God, spend time in community, sing heartily, read holy texts, and revel in rest. What can I expect at a Shabbat morning service?
Long Shabbat afternoons can be intimidating, here’s how Rabbi Sydni Rubinstein spends her time and why it’s her favorite time all week.
Rabbi Dina Shargel teaches that the Friday night Kiddush sets a mood to welcome Shabbat by connecting it to Creation and to the Exodus.
Rabbi Mitch Berkowitz explains the meaning of the Torah passages that we read on Shavuot and the connection to revelation and the harvest.
Rabbi Tova Leibovic-Douglas offers us 10 great reasons why Shavuot might be your new favorite Jewish holiday.
Rabbi Meir Goldstein offers a nobility (Malchut) intention for the seventh week of the counting of the omer.
Ariel Barry discusses Shavuot and receiving the Torah from Sinai. What does it mean to be “MiSinai”, from Sinai and how can we relate today?