General Judaism

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Going to Shabbat Dinner

The main meal of the week (and a festive one at that) in Jewish households in Israel and around the world is the Friday night dinner, Aruchat Shabbat (ah-roo- [more…]

Taking a Look at Jewish Religious Beliefs

Judaism was the first tradition to teach monotheism, the belief that there's only one God. As Judaism evolved, the idea of God evolved, too, focusing on One unknowable, universal, image-less Being, Who [more…]

Celebrating the Cycles of Life in Judaism

Judaism honors and celebrates the major stages of life with rituals, including the bris (circumcision for boys), Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, and funeral rites. [more…]

The Torah's Take on Divorce: Fix It or Get Out!

While some religious traditions forbid divorce, Judaism does not. In the Torah, divorce is viewed as a common and acceptable occurrence (Deuteronomy 24:1–4), and although the Talmud teaches that the [more…]

Looking at Judaism as a Daily Practice

Judaism, a religion that focuses far more on deeds than on beliefs, is a practice, too. Because Judaism is a set of practices, it's called a Way of Life. These practices, particularly when they are vehicles [more…]

The Symbolic Foods at a Passover Seder

Almost every Passover seder (ritual dinner) includes various ritual foods and other items. Nothing on the seder table is selected randomly; each item has its purpose and often its specific place on the [more…]

The Haggadah and the Steps of a Seder

The Passover seder (a Jewish ritual dinner) is based on the haggadah, a book of instructions, prayers, blessings, and stories that lays out the proper order for the ritual. [more…]

What Is Passover and How Is It Celebrated?

Passover is both the most-celebrated Jewish holiday of the year and the holiday voted most likely to elicit a groan. People groan when they consider Passover's dietary requirements. They groan when they [more…]

Rosh Hashanah: The Jewish New Year

Rosh Hashanah — the Jewish new year — and Yom Kippur (which follows ten days later) are together called the "High Holidays." They are among the most important and holiest days of the Jewish year. For over [more…]

Jewish Funeral Traditions

Jewish funerals usually take place in a synagogue, funeral home, or at a cemetery. By tradition, Jewish funerals are simple (symbolizing the belief that people are all equal in death), but they vary widely [more…]

Part of the Series: Coping with Death: 9 Ways to Deal with Funerals, Feelings, and Faith

Sexuality in Judaism

Judaism promotes study, prayer, and practicing mitzvot to have a closer, “right” relationship with the Universal. But there is another method: sex. Judaism emphasizes that sex is a deeply holy act to be [more…]

How to Find a Way to Peace in Judaism

War has been with civilization from the beginning of recorded history, like a plague always appearing somewhere on the planet. However, Judaism affirms the primary importance of peace, and the Talmudic [more…]

How to Respect Animals and the Environment in Judaism

Everyone — from secular atheist to Orthodox Jew — can appreciate the wonder and awe of the natural world around them. This deep reverence for nature is deeply rooted in Judaism and forms the basis for [more…]

How to Make the Choice to Circumcise in Judaism

Most Jews never question whether to perform a circumcision — it’s simply part of being Jewish. In fact, for an increasing number of Jews, it’s one of the most spiritual and joyful community events. However [more…]

How to Name a Child in Judaism

Judaism has several traditions surrounding the naming of a baby. The Ashkenazi tradition is to name the child after a relative who has died. The Sephardic tradition says to name the child after a living [more…]

How to See the Distinctions of Orthodox Judaism

When you hear the term “Orthodox Jew,” you probably think of a man in a long black coat, with long locks of hair over his sideburns, a big beard, and a black hat. But in reality, there are dozens of different [more…]

Homosexuality in Judaism

The Jewish text, the Torah, says very little about homosexuality, but one verse has been used to justify the condemnation of a man’s primary relationship with another man: “You shall not lie with a man [more…]

Birth Control and Abortion in Judaism

Traditionally, Jews consider birth control acceptable as long as it doesn’t inhibit the Jewish laws regarding procreation (two child minimum, at least one male). Abortion in Judaism however, is largely [more…]

Rituals and Ceremonies of a Jewish Circumcision

A brit milah, or a Jewish covenant of circumcision, is normally scheduled for the eighth day after a boy is born, even if that day falls on Shabbat or some other holiday, which means that if a child is [more…]

Who’s Involved in a Jewish Bris

Although rabbis are almost always involved during major Jewish transitions it’s completely optional to have a rabbi at a bris, although many of those who traditionally perform circumcisions are specially [more…]

How to Raise the Chuppah at a Jewish Wedding

Jewish weddings are performed under a chuppah, a canopy held over the heads of the bride and groom. The chuppah can be anywhere. In fact, an old Ashkenazi custom holds that you should perform the wedding [more…]

How to Follow Jewish Dietary Laws

In Judaism, kosher almost exclusively relates to food: what Jews are and are not allowed to eat. The word kosher, however, is so well known that it’s become part of the common English language, meaning [more…]

A First-Timers’ Guide to Attending a Jewish Funeral

Jewish funerals rarely offer surprises to anyone who has been to a Christian funeral. The Jewish rites are similar, though the words and prayers are often different. [more…]

How to Get a Jewish Divorce

The Bible states that a Jewish divorce is accomplished when a husband gives a document called a get to his wife. The get is a complex legal document written by a rabbi, and it acts as a religious divorce [more…]

How to Plan for Death in Judaism

Jews are encouraged to prepare for death as much as possible. After all, the more you plan for your death and communicate about it in advance, the easier you make things for your family and friends after [more…]

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