God instructs Moses to tell the Jewish people: “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God, am holy” (Leviticus 19:2). How does one make oneself holy? The remaining 35 verses of Leviticus 19, however, offer specific mitzvot to help one achieve this goal.
One could easily say that the life of Jiri Mordecai Langer (1894-1943) was lived between the two World Wars. Born in Prague to an assimilated Jewish family, Jiri set off to discover his Jewish roots when he was 19.
The fact that one’s genetic code is a combination of the DNA one inherits from both mother and father is a basic lesson of high school biology. According to traditional Jewish thought, one’s spiritual DNA is also derived from one’s biological background.
Many of the greatest names in Israeli history belong to leaders of military battles and to eloquent spokespersons who rallied the Jewish people to fight for a modern homeland. Chaim Weizmann’s field of “battle” was the game of diplomacy. His great skill in this most delicate realm made it all the more appropriate that his final title was that of the first President of the State of Israel.
The IDF (Israeli Defense Force), was born in the heat of the Israeli War of Independence. As the brand new state was declared and the country came under attack, the Israeli government created its official fighting force from three separate, pre-state para-military units (each with its own political ideology), the Haganah, Irgun and Lechi.
Urban sprawl is one of the prominent contemporary environmental concerns. It is, understandably, a modern issue that started at the time of the industrial revolution. Oddly enough, however, it is a dilemma that the Torah appears to have considered, even in the days when many cities were growth-limited due to surrounding walls.
It’s a fact that many people spend much time thinking and even worrying about par’nassah (livelihood).Jewish tradition teaches that different seasons have different spiritual strengths.
On January 18, 1943, the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto arose in violent rebellion against further deportations. The struggle lasted an incredible three months. On April 19th, the Nazis began their final assault. Four days later, with their weapons depleted and the Nazis progressively blowing up blocks of the ghetto, the Jewish resistance was overcome. By mid-May, the Warsaw Ghetto was no more, its tens of thousands of residents mercilessly murdered. Beneath the rubble, however, remained profound exhibits of the courage, faith and strength of the Jewish people.
Tomorrow, the 27th of Nisan, Jews around the world will mark Yom Ha’shoah (Officially Yom Ha’zikaron La’shoah V’ha’g’vurah, which translates to The Day of Memorial for the Holocaust and the Heroism, generally shortened to Yom Ha’shoah). In Israel, the day is marked by official ceremonies, flags at half mast and, most famously, by a siren marking a moment of silence during which traffic comes to a standstill.
When asked to name early American Jewish poets, the first name that comes to most people’s mind is Emma Lazarus. It may therefore be surprising that the first published American Jewish poetess was a woman named Penina Moise.