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Chanukah and Divine Order
Chanukah and Divine Order

Chanukah always overlaps with at least one Shabbat (if not two), and since Chanukah begins on the 25th of Kislev and lasts for eight days, the holiday always coincides with the celebration of Rosh Chodesh (the new month of) Tevet. (Rosh Chodesh is cele…

A Chanukah Heroine
A Chanukah Heroine

Have you ever heard of Yehudit (Judith), the daughter of Yochanan the High Priest, who saved her city, Bethulia, from destruction at the hands of the Syrian-Greek general Holofernes?

Al Hanisim, For The Miracles
Al Hanisim, For The Miracles

Most Jewish holidays are marked not only by feasting and celebrations, but also by special prayers. On Biblical holidays, such as Passover and Rosh Hashana, these special prayers include an entire additional service (Musaf).

Rock of Ages
Rock of Ages

“Rock of Ages let our song / Praise thy saving power / Thou amidst the raging foes / Wast our sheltering tower….” This is the first verse of Maoz Tzur as loosely translated from the original Hebrew by Marcus Jastrow and Gustav Gottheil …

Giving Gifts
Giving Gifts

“One who is diligent in lighting Chanukah candles will have children who are scholars” (Shabbat 23b).The desire for scholarly children was actually one of the motivations for the custom of giving Chanukah gelt(money). In modern times, money h…

Chanukah Yum
Chanukah Yum

While Jewish holidays are known for their food (except Yom Kippur, of course), most of these foods are not known for being particularly healthy. Chanukah is no exception. Forget matzah or apples, those are healthy in comparison–pull out your deep frye…

The Challenge of Fitting In
The Challenge of Fitting In

The weekly Torah reading of Miketz (Genesis 41:1-44:17), which almost always coincides with Chanukah, tells the story of the rise of Joseph the son of Jacob from slave to viceroy. And while Miketz contains no Jewish oppression, no b…

Spin the Dreidel
Spin the Dreidel

I have a little dreidelI made it out of clayAnd when it’s dry and readyWith dreidel I shall play!The dreidel is a four sided top, with a single Hebrew letter on each of its sides. Before the game begins, all players are given an equal number of coins…

These Lights We Kindle
These Lights We Kindle

While the mitzvah of lighting the menorah is an outward-focused mitzvah – the menorah is lit in a window or doorway – it is also an opportunity for personal reflection on the deeper meaning of the holiday.

On The 25th Of Kislev
On The 25th Of Kislev

It is not uncommon to find that significant events in Jewish history occurred in different years but on the same day on the Jewish calendar. For instance, Tisha B’Av (9th of Av), the day on which we mark the destruction of both the First and Second Tem…

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