Westchester Jewish Center

3 Reasons Keeping Shabbat Is Liberating as a Mom

Posted on February 20th, 2017
Batsheva Neuer for Kveller 


“Why do we keep the Sabbath?” my 5-year-old asked me last week. The Orthodox Jew in me could have answered because we are to emulate God, who created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. Or I could have answered because we are following our biblical obligation to do so. But I really wanted to answer: so that I can talk to you. Yes, in 2017, Shabbat exists so that parents can talk to their children. So that spouses can look at each other.

Today, it would serve families the world over—atheists and agnostics included—to consider keeping a similar day of rest.

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Cholent: The Sabbath Stew

Posted on February 13th, 2017
By Claudia Roden for MyJewishLearning.com


Prepared Friday and slow-cooked overnight, cholent is the traditional Sabbath-day dish.


The traditional stew for the Sabbath midday meal and [traditionally] the only hot dish of the day, which is prepared on Friday and left to cook overnight, is the most characteristic Jewish dish.

In an ironic parody on Schiller’s “Hymn to Joy” entitled “Princess Sabbath” (1850), about assimilated Jews in 19th‑century Germany who frequented the Berlin salons while holding on to their Jewishness, the German poet Heinrich Heine rhapsodized about cholent, which “alone unites them still in their old covenant.”

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Family challah cover

Posted on February 6th, 2017
Craft for mums on JoyfulJewish


Feel the urge to sew something useful and maybe a little bit fancy, but don’t think you have the stamina for a quilt?  Think challah cover!  Big enough to look impressive, small enough to finish in a relatively short space of time.

Our first challah cover was a wedding gift and has already given us 15 years good service, but we felt like a change.  I made a new challah cover for Chanukah last year but I wanted a design which would be suitable for use year-round.   Then an idea coalesced after I read a post on Sweet and Crunchy in which she made a mini-quilt featuring the outlines of her childrens’ hands.

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Highlights of the Shabbat Morning Synagogue Service

Posted on January 30th, 2017
By Rabbi Daniel Kohn for MyJewishLearning.com


The major parts of the Saturday morning service.


The Shema (“Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One”)
This passage from the Book of Deuteronomy and the three passages that follow constitute a central part of each morning and evening Jewish prayer service. Probably the most important single sentence in the liturgy, the Shema is not a prayer but rather an affirmation of the unity of God.

The Amidah (“Standing Prayer”)

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A Guide for the First-Time Shabbat Guest

Posted on January 16th, 2017
By Leah Koenig for Gatherings from the Kitchn


Making guests feel comfortable is my primary goal at any dinner party I host. On Shabbat, that can be a little tricky. On top of the typical considerations — things like food allergies and guest compatibility — there is just a lot of stuff that happens during Shabbat dinner that can be confusing to people who have not experienced it before.

Of course, every Shabbat dinner is a little different. Some folks are very traditional and follow all the rules; others, not so much. Meanwhile, each family develops its own customs and special touches. If you are heading to your first Shabbat dinner, don't be afraid to ask questions about what is going on! Your hosts will be thrilled to fill you in. But if you want a little leg up before you go, check out this pocket guide for a crash course in Shabbat dinner 101.

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