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Ketoret Number Five
Ketoret Number Five

Human beings gather information about the world around them through their five senses. Of those senses, the sense of smell is often the most under-estimated, and yet it is said that smells can have the most psychologically provocative effect. A specifi…

Kosher in Gracie Mansion
Kosher in Gracie Mansion

Although New York has one of the oldest Jewish communities in the United States (the first Jews arrived in 1654), the first openly Jewish mayor of New York City was not elected until 1974.* His name was Abraham Beame, and he unabashedly loved New York….

Birds of a Feather
Birds of a Feather

Ornithologists distinguish the birds they admire by their shape, size, eating habits, plumage and a host of other distinct features. Those looking at birds to determine whether they are kosher or not may be frustrated by…

The Left-Handed Warrior
The Left-Handed Warrior

The Book of Judges tells of the men and women who led the Children of Israel from the time of the conquest of the land of Israel by Joshua until the selection of the first king, Saul. These judges provided political acumen, guidance on Jewish law, and…

Sabbath of Remembering
Sabbath of Remembering

This Shabbat is Shabbat Parashat Zachor, the Sabbath of Remembering. The Torah portion that is read as the Maftir (additional) portion after the conclusion of the regular weekly Torah reading, commands the Jewish people to remember that…

The Whole Megillah
The Whole Megillah

Whether it’s a long-winded tale, or a story overloaded with details — it’s called a “whole megillah!” (In “the old country” they would have said “a gantse megillah!”) So what exactly is a “megillah”? Technically, a megillah is…

Hester Panim
Hester Panim

One might think that the Book of Esther is a heroic tale about Mordechai and Esther saving the Jewish people through diplomatic skill, after all God is not mentioned once in the entire text. Looking deeper, however…

Costume Time
Costume Time

Those who first hear about the custom of wearing Purim costumes might assume that the tradition began as an imitation of Halloween. Research, however, places the origin of Halloween costumes in the 18th century, while Purim disguises are…

The Fast of Esther
The Fast of Esther

In commemoration of that fast, Jews around the world observe Ta’anit Esther, the Fast of Esther, on the 13th of Adar, the day before Purim.

The Power of Propaganda
The Power of Propaganda

In the last decade, there has been a noted increase in anti-Semitism, especially in Europe. But, attacks against the Jewish people are hardly new. Even the authors of the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion, however, were not origi…

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