Westchester Jewish Center

Kosher Explained: Simplifying Jewish Food Laws

Posted on February 20th, 2017
From Jewish Food Hero


Judaism has many faces, and even among those who keep kosher not everyone observes the Jewish food laws in the same exact way. But if you’re just getting started with keeping kosher or want to know what it’s all about, this is a guide to the basics of traditional kosher laws.


REASONS FOR KOSHER LAWS
The Torah doesn’t explain the reasoning behind keeping kosher and, unlike some other laws, it is not obvious. Some of the reasons suggested for kosher laws are:


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How to Lead a Tu Bishvat Seder

Posted on February 6th, 2017

In Honor Of Tu B'Shevat Which Is February 11, We Are Highlighting One Of The sections From Our Tu B'Shevat Resource Kit. You Will Find Many Other ideas, crafts, recipes, and videos Typical Of This Joyous Holiday. 


By Susan Silverman for MyJewishLearning.com    

The modern seder draws on elements of its mystical predecessor.


Set up your table as for Passover: white or other nice tablecloth, good dishes, flowers, wine, and juice. There is no requirement to light candles, but scented candles add a nice touch and a festive glow. Either one person can lead the seder, reciting each reading and making the blessings, or everyone can take turns. The directions concerning which fruit to locate and the mix of the wines should be read aloud. As each piece of fruit and each cup of wine is being considered and blessed, that object is held by the reader. After each blessing, the participants taste the fruit or sip the wine.

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For more great ideas, check out our board on Pinterest.

Tu B'Shevat (Arbor Day)

Posted on January 30th, 2017
From TimeandDate.com

 

Tu B'Shevat, also known as Tu B'Shevet or Tu Bishvat, is the day that trees come of age according to Jewish law. Jewish people mark this day by eating a symbolic meal of fruit and nuts or planting trees.

What Do People Do?

 

Many Jewish people make a special effort to eat a meal consisting of dried fruit and nuts accompanied by red wine or grape juice. They often share this meal with family members and close friends. Some people pickle or candy the etrog (a citrus fruit) used at the ceremonies during Sukkot and eat it on Tu B'Shevat.

Many Jewish people, particularly in Israel and on kibbutzim, plant trees or take part in activities to further environmental awareness. In this respect, Tu B'Shevat has a lot in common with Arbor Day celebrations around the world.

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To learn even more about Tu B'Shevat, check out our Holiday Resource Kit 

Also, check us out on Pinterest

 

Why The Mishnah Is the Best Jewish Book You’ve Never Read

Posted on January 23rd, 2017
By Lex Rofes for MyJewishLearning.com    


Why The Mishnah Is the Best Jewish Book You’ve Never Read


This almost 2,000-year-old text flies under the radar -- but it's immensely important to Jewish life.


The Mishnah, a body of Jewish legal text compiled around the year 200 C.E, has played a foundational role in the history of Judaism. As the first text of the rabbinic tradition (together with the Gemara it makes up what is known as the Talmud), the Mishnah arguably played a greater part in the re-invention of Judaism after the destruction of the Second Temple than any other text.

However, many Jews have never heard of it. If you are one of them, know that you are not alone! Despite the Mishnah’s immense importance to Jewish life in the past and present, it often flies entirely under the radar, such that many Jews who are deeply engaged in synagogue life never crack open a page of its teachings.

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The Jewish Tradition Unfolds in Fire. Here's How, and Why

Posted on January 23rd, 2017
ERIC COHEN AND MITCHELL ROCKLIN for Mosaic


What are we to make of the fiery images, stories, and rituals that inform Jewish liturgy and Jewish self-understanding?


Stories of fire, images of fire, rituals of fire—the Jewish tradition unfolds in flames. During the Hanukkah festival, fire is central. For eight days, Jews commemorate the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem by kindling the flames of the menorah and by recalling the fire of the altar, ever-present and never to be extinguished. As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks beautifully describes:

Even after the Temple was destroyed more than two centuries later by the Romans, the Hanukkah lights bore witness to the fact that after the worst desecration, something pure remains, lighting a way to the future. The Hanukkah lights became one of the great symbols of Jewish hope.

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