The Book of Zephaniah dates from the reign of King Josiah of Judah. Zephaniah’s opening prophecy is dark and violent, describing God’s plans for the complete and total destruction of the Kingdom of Judah-condemning those who turned to idolatry and disparaging those who worship wealth. At the same time, Zephaniah made clear that all people would be punished, rich and poor, for the entire nation had been corrupted.
In Numbers 15:38, God commands the Jewish people to “make themselves tzitziton the corners of their garments, throughout their generations.” Additionally, it is written in Deuteronomy 22:12, “make twisted cords on the four corners of your covering, with which you cover yourself.”
Most people have, at one time or another, dreamed of winning the lottery, quitting their jobs and sitting lazily in front of a pool all day. It’s a fantasy that for most people, if they ever really won the lottery, wouldn’t last long before they grew bored. Yet, we’ve all met one or two people who really do appear to be living the “lazy life.”
In 1952, Doubleday released the American edition of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. For many Americans, the contents of the book were a disturbing introduction to the horrific atrocities that had occurred in Europe.
The end of the school year is upon us, and across the country, many parents are packing their children’s trunks for summer camp. The world of Jewish camping began as a reaction to urbanization. Those interested in “social welfare” and the health of the children, promoted summer getaways so children could experience nature and fresh air. Such was the goal when, in 1893, the Jewish Working Girls Society of New York opened Camp Lehman (later called Camp Isabella Friedman).
As far back as the mid-1800s, rabbis wrestled with the question of the growing mobility of the populace. Since there were no new lands to be discovered, those of an exploring nature were drawn north, to the great white unknown.
Moses’ job of leading the Israelites was not easy. Not only were the people “stiff-necked,” they also spent a great deal of time complaining. When the nation cried out that they wanted meat (Numbers 11), not manna, Moses asked God why he alone was to bear the burden of an entire nation. God told him to appoint 70 elders whom He would endow with the prophetic abilities of Moses-but only for a limited time.
If one were to create a list of the great European learning centers, Moscow would probably not be on it. After the establishment of the Soviet Communist regime, Jewish life was systematically oppressed, as the Communists viewed all religion as the “opiate of the masses.” It is therefore surprising to note that in 1956, during the premiership of Nikita Khrushchev, the opening of a rabbinical seminary in Moscow was announced.
In discussions of World War II and the decade leading up to the war, history tends to mainly focus on the major players in Europe (Germany, France and England) and the Pacific (Japan and China). Even Jewish historical accounts (which tend to be quite detailed) overlook the destabilizing impact that the increasing nationalism in other countries had during the 1930s. For instance, most people have not heard of the Thrace Pogroms of 1934. In fact, many readers might even be wondering where Thrace is-certainly not on any 20th century map. Thrace is a region in Southeast Europe, between the Balkan Mountains, the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea. The incident in question actually occurred in “Eastern Thrace,” which is part of Turkey.
Where are you going on your honeymoon? Rather than announce an exotic location like Hawaii or Tahiti (or even Niagara Falls), most traditional Jewish couples answer that they are going to Sheva Brachot.