Pikei Avot is commonly translated as Ethics of Our Fathers because many of its statements focus on ethical behavior. For those striving to be ethical, “Nittai the Arbelite says: Keep far from an evil neighbor, do not associate with a wicked man, and do not abandon the belief in retribution” (1:7).
May is Jewish American Heritage Month. At first glance, a discussion of the Soviet Jewry Movement may seem like an odd choice for Jewish American history, but the movement had a powerful effect on the American Jewish community.
The tumultuous record of Jewish history has led many to wonder how Jews can remain faithful to the Torah. But the very exiles and persecutions that might shake our faith are mentioned in the Torah (Leviticus 26) with a sense of inevitability: not if, but when.
In honor of all our favorite Jewish Mothers, we’ve decided to re-Treat this special Mother’s Day edition of Jewish Treats!
The tradition of Mother’s Day flowers began with Anna Jarvis, the woman who successfully petitioned Woodrow Wilson to make it into an official holiday (which he did in 1914). To honor her mother’s memory, she wore a white carnation. It became the tradition to bring one’s mother a pink carnation or, if one’s mother was no longer living, to wear a white carnation. In time, this tradition expanded to full bouquets, cards of poetry and small gifts.
The period of mourning* (for the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva who died of plague) associated with Sefirat Ha’omer is not observed on the 33rd day of the Omer, a day known as Lag Ba’omer. In Hebrew, every letter has a numerical value. ”Lamed” equals 30, and “Gimmel” equals 3, thus Lag (spelled “Lamed Gimmel”) Ba’omer, literally means 33 (days) in the Omer.
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi), whose yahrtzeit is on Lag Ba’omer, was one the five survivors of the plague that took the lives of 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva’s students. Rashbi was a fiery and fascinating personality.
In honor of Jewish-American History Month, Jewish Treats presents the history of Hebrew Union College.
Rosanna Dyer Osterman (1809-1866) risked her life to act as a courier to the Confederate Army, after the city of Galveston, Texas, was occupied by the Union Army. From Osterman’s perspective, the Union Army were the occupiers. When she learned that the Union knew of the Confederates’ early January attack plan, she managed to get word to the Confederates so that they could attack early and retake the city.
On the first anniversary of the Exodus from Egypt, the Children of Israel prepared to celebrate their first Passover as free people. God decreed that they should eat matzah and maror (bitter herbs) in commemoration of the great event, and, most importantly, that the Israelites should all partake of the Passover sacrifice (lamb).