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Passover: Laws and Customs

SPIRITUAL PREPARATION FOR PASSOVER: Three special Sabbaths take place before Passover. Each has a unique message for the mind and soul. The first is called Shabbat Parshat Parah.  Parshat Parah takes place two weeks before the month of Nisan. Taken from Numbers 19:1-22, this portion of the Torah explains the ancient purification process involving the […]

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Passover: Spirtual Meaning

The following are several religious concepts which have inspired interesting discussions at many Seder tables.  Nisan, the month of miracles: “This month shall be the head month for you. It shall be the first month of the year.” (Exodus 12:2). Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year’s Day, takes place in the month of Tishrei, the […]

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Passover 101 (The Feast of Freedom)

Passover, which celebrates Y’tziat Mitzraim, the Israelite’s exodus from Egypt, is the pivotal event in Jewish history. It freed our ancestors from more than 200 years of slavery and defined us as a nation. Our sages place the Exodus from Egypt on the fifteenth of Nisan in the year 2448. Since Jewish holidays begin the […]

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Purim: Family Fun

Make Your Own Purim Gragger You will need: Popping corn; pencil; empty juice can (with only 2 holes at the top that were used for pouring; cardboard; scissors; colored felt; household cement; glue. Put a handful of popping corn into the can through the 2 holes. Trace the base of the can onto the cardboard. […]

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Purim: Hamantaschen Recipe

It’s fun to make Hamantaschen!  Here is a basic recipe: Hamantaschen are delicious cookies that symbolize the three-cornered hat worn by Haman, the arch villain of the Purim story. You will need: ½ lb margarine; 8 tsp sugar; 3 ¼  cup flour; 2 tsp baking powder; ¼ tsp salt; 3 tsp orange juice; 2 eggs; […]

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Purim: Heroes and Villans

Bigthan and Teresh: Besides Haman, there are two important villains in the Purim story who are sometimes overlooked. They are critical players, because without them, Mordechai could not have risen to prominence and Esther would not have been able to use her influence with King Achasverous to save her people. Their names were Bigthan and […]

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Purim: Laws and Customs

Shabbat Shekalim: The Shabbat before the month of Adar officially welcomes the Purim season.  This special Shabbat is called Shabbat Shekalim, Hebrew for the Sabbath of Shekals (an ancient form of Israelite money.) Shabbat Shekalim is honored with the reading of an additional Torah portion dedicated to tzedakah, giving charity, a mitzvah associated with Esther.  […]

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Purim: Religious Meaning

The central theme of Purim is celebration. Mishe nichnas Adar, marbim be’simcha. With the beginning of Adar rejoicing is increased. (Taanit 29a). The hilarity of Purim has always been a welcome respite from the grind of daily life in exile. It is almost as if G-d was telling past and future generations to stop what […]

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Purim 101

Purim, Festival of  Lots Did you ever hear a situation being described as A Purim Story? It means a crazy, mixed up series of events that do not seem to make sense, but in the end, all work out. That is Purim in a nut shell– an ancient story of court intrigue, deception,  miscommunication, drunken […]

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Spotlight on Modi’in: Ancient Birthplace of the Maccabees.

Modi’in used to be more famous for its past than its present. But not any more. Today, this ancient birthplace of the Maccabees is about to become Israel’s fourth largest city. Once famous for its Hasmonean roots, modern day Modi’in has more than 150,000 residents and is Israel’s first planned city. Mentioned in the Talmud […]

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