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Mimouna
April 27, 2011 – 3:05 am
Mimouna

Jews rejoice on Passover to celebrate their redemption from slavery in Egypt. Because of Passover’s connection to redemption, there is much hope that the final redemption will soon be at hand (thus the inclusion of Elijah’s cup at the Seder). At the end of the week-long holiday, on the day after Passover, in order to prolong the rejoicing and, many say, as a means of asserting their faith in the final redemption, Jews of North African origin celebrate a unique holiday known as “Mimouna.”

While some have suggested that the name Mimouna derives from ma’amoun, the Arabic word for wealth and good fortune, others connect it to the Hebrew word emunah, faith. Taking the latter opinion one step further, the name may be an Arabic adaptation of the phrase, “Ani Ma’amin” (I believe).

Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (Maimonides, Rambam, 1135-1204) set forth the Thirteen Principles of Faith, each of which begins with the phrase “Ani Ma’amin.” The twelfth statement of faith is: “I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah; and even though he may tarry, nonetheless, I wait every day for his coming.” The connection between the Thirteen Maimonidean Principles of Faith and Mimouna is further confirmed since Mimouna is celebrated on the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Maimon ben Joseph, the Rambam’s father (a great scholar in his own right).

The Mimouna holiday, which is most often associated with Moroccan Jews but is customary among many North African communities, has no specific halachot (laws). The customs, however, reflect the community’s exuberant, joyful nature. Tables are decorated, often with symbols of luck and fertility (golden rings hidden in bowls of flour, items set out in sets of five, and sometimes live fish in bowls). Sweet delicacies (made of chametz) are served, particularly mofletta, a special pancake served with honey.

Copyright © 2011 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

After seven years, still no luck. What am I doing wrong?
April 25, 2011 – 10:26 am | 3 Comments
After seven years, still no luck. What am I doing wrong?

Even if you were physically (but not legally) separated during all these years, I suspect it is here that you have your answer. If you’ve been in a painful and difficult separation process for the past half decade, any person you may have encountered dating probably went running in the opposite direction. Why would someone start a romantic relationship with you, if you are still emotionally / physically / financially tied up with another person?

Holiday Entertaining: Keeping it Solo-Friendly
April 22, 2011 – 1:19 pm
Holiday Entertaining: Keeping it Solo-Friendly

4.      Choose Foods Wisely: Holiday foods such as gefilte fish and chopped liver or roasted ham and pork are not for all crowds.   Try to anticipate guests’ dietary and food preferences and make sure to have substitutes to satisfy individuals who are vegetarians, kosher, highly allergic or unfamiliar with certain dishes.  And don’t kill yourself cooking everything from scratch! Scour local gourmet food shops for prepared entrées, side dishes or desserts and make sure to put in your orders in advance!

The Song of Songs
April 22, 2011 – 3:05 am
The Song of Songs

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine. Because of the fragrance of your goodly oils, your name is ‘oil poured forth.’ Therefore, the maidens loved you. Draw me, we will run after you…” (Song of Songs 1:2-4).

And people say the Bible is boring…

Shir Hashirim, (The Song Of Songs), the Biblical love song attributed to King Solomon, is understood by the rabbis to be a prophetic allegory about the relationship of God and the Jewish people.

The poetic work describes a beautiful maiden who loves, and is loved by, a handsome youth. When he pursues her, however, she sends him away with various excuses, only to realize too late that he was her true love. Devastated at the thought that she has alienated and probably lost him, she wanders through the city streets looking for her lost lover and, in the process, suffers shame and embarrassment. Finally, the lovers are reunited and are joined by their sincere love.

Shir Hashirim is one of the five megillot (scrolls of canonical works) from the Ketuvim (Writings) section of the Bible. On the Shabbat of Chol HaMoed* Passover, it is customary for Shir Hashirim to be read in the synagogue.

Shir Hashirim was chosen as the Passover reading because the story of the Exodus demonstrates God’s patience with His beloved–the Jewish people, as represented by the maiden. Despite having witnessed the many miracles that God performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, the Jews strayed from their commitment to God. Eventually, God withdrew His favor from the Jews (Hester Panim), and they have since wandered the world trying to make amends for the damage caused to the relationship. The reunion of the lovers is a prophecy for the Messianic era, yet to be fulfilled.

*Passover is an 8 day holiday. The first two days and last two days are Yamim Tovim – days that are observed like Sabbath (except that one may cook on an existing flame, and carry in public areas). In Israel, Passover is only 7 days, and only the 1st and 7th day are Yamim Tovim. The in-between days are known as Chol HaMoed – weekdays of the festival.

This Treat was originally posted on April 7, 2009.

Copyright © 2011 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

Grilled Nicoise Salad
April 21, 2011 – 10:49 am
Grilled Nicoise Salad

I love Passover and the relaxed pace of the holiday. It is a great time to visit with family and friends. It is also a week long food fest. It seems as though all we do is EAT. This light supper salad is easy on the waistline while still very satisfying and delicious.

A Poet and A Martyr
April 21, 2011 – 3:05 am
A Poet and A Martyr

Hannah Senesh (Szenes) was born in Budapest, Hungary, to an assimilated, middle-class family. An avid diarist from the age of 13 until her death, Hannah maintained a personal journal that reflected the literary talent she had inherited from her father, Bela, a playwright who died when she was six.

Sarah and Zack
April 20, 2011 – 9:24 am | 4 Comments
Sarah and Zack

“A second date turned into a third, the third led to the fourth… and when Sarah least expected it, Zack leaned over and for the first time said, ‘I love you’.”

Is it okay to date a man who is not yet divorced?
April 20, 2011 – 7:51 am | 2 Comments
Is it okay to date a man who is not yet divorced?

A person who has just separated shouldn’t even think about having a date for the first 6 months after the separation. And ideally, he would wait a year. So, I think you were absolutely right to feel leery. Any person who is jumping into the dating field immediately after a separation is either running away from his feelings, or is too insecure or co-dependent to know how to be alone. And either way, that makes him not a good candidate for you.

Cindy and Ira
April 19, 2011 – 9:28 am | 7 Comments
Cindy and Ira

“The night we met was so magical that, when we sat down at the same bar six months later, the bartender remembered us from the night we met; I guess he saw the sparks fly, too!”

The Film That Launched a Thousand Court Cases
April 18, 2011 – 3:33 pm | One Comment
The Film That Launched a Thousand Court Cases

The Ten Commandments is “one of the most significant epic films ever made,” in part because it tapped into America’s Cold War self-perceptions, according to Loren P.Q. Baybrook, editor-in-chief of Film & History. The movie was “a declaration from Hollywood that American values, as opposed to Soviet values, were part of the longest history of moral principle,” says Baybrook, noting that its success was due, in no small part, to the way it artfully Christianized the film’s religious content. DeMille, whose German-Jewish mother converted before marrying his Episcopalian father, cleverly used the term “Hebrews” instead of “Jews” in order to appeal to his largely Christian audience.

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