How the Hebrew calendar works.
The rhythm of Jewish time is determined both by the sun and by the moon. The basic unit of time is naturally enough the day, which is a unit of time determined by the amount of sunlight reaching the earth as it rotates on its axis.
The word "kosher" literally means "fit" or "appropriate."
Ask an average person to describe kosher food and they might say it is food “blessed by a rabbi.” The word “kosher,” however, is Hebrew for “fit” or “appropriate” and describes the food that is suitable for a Jew to eat. With its roots in the Hebrew Bible, the system of defining which foods are kosher was developed by the rabbis of late antiquity. Its application to changing realities has been the work of subsequent generations, including our own.
Though often widely practiced, customs are not considered mandatory by traditional Jews.
A Jewish custom — known in Hebrew as a minhag — is a religious practice that, though sometimes very widely practiced, does not carry the force of Jewish law and is thus not considered mandatory by traditional Jews.
The Hebrew word for life is a popular symbol and toast — and is linked to the number 18.
Chai (חי) is the Hebrew word for life. The word, consisting of two Hebrew letters —chet (ח) and yud (י)— is a Jewish symbol, frequently appearing on pendants and other jewelry.
Unlike the Indian tea chai, which is pronounced with the “ch” sound of “chocolate,” the Hebrew chai is pronounced with the same “kh” sound as in challah. Both words rhyme with “high,” however.
For over a century planting a tree in Israel has been a wonderful way to remember a loved who has died or honor a loved one for a celebratory occasion.
Tu BiShvat, the Birthday of the Trees, is a wonderful time to continue this tradition.
For more articles, recipes, crafts, and ideas, visit Jvillage Network's Tu B'Shevat Guide.
This video is featured in Jvillage Network's Tu B'Shevat Guide. For more articles, recipes, crafts, and ideas, visit here.
What Is Tu B'Shvat And Why Do We Celebrate?
Every year, we celebrate the strange Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shvat – according to the Talmud, it’s a birthday for all of the trees born in the previous year. And not just a birthday – it’s really a “new year” for the trees. How odd is that? In this video, Imu Shalev breaks down this strange holiday to uncover what Tu B’Shvat really means to us today. Discover how Tu B’Shvat is actually all about gratitude to our Creator, for the fruits of the trees.
This article is featured in Jvillage Network's Tu B'Shevat Guide. For more articles, recipes, crafts, and ideas, visit here.
By Jenna Weissman Joselit for Tablet Magazine
The Jewish New Year of the Trees demands little of us, but offers us a chance to connect our roots with good causes, new rituals, and recipes
If ever there was a holiday ripe for revitalization and collective embrace, it’s Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year of the Trees. Falling smack in the middle of winter, when the weather is usually not at its best, the age-old festival, which some scholars date to the early Middle Ages, heralds the prospect of regeneration, of sunnier days ahead. That alone should commend it to North American Jews, lifting their spirits when they sag under the weight of gloves and hats and scarves, their movement impeded by the heavy tread of boots.
What is Rosh Chodesh?
How Jews Celebrate the First Day of Every Month
Rosh Chodesh is a minor Jewish holiday that happens on the first day of every month and literally translates to “head of the month”. Watch our explainer video to learn the significance of this monthly holiday.
This holiday has long been considered a special holiday for women. Some say that this is because women of Israel did not offer their jewelry for the creation of the Golden Galf so they were given Rosh Chodesh, a day when they could abstain from work. Others connect the lunar cycle of the holiday to a woman’s menstrual cycle. For thousands of years, Rosh Chodesh has been a holiday where women gather together for a variety of activities, from reciting prayers, to sharing a meal, discussing Jewish ethics and working for social change.