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What is Shavuot?

Posted on May 29th, 2017
From Coffee Shop Rabbi


Shavuot [sha-voo-OHT or sh-VOO-us] is coming. Even though it is a major Jewish holiday, only the more observant Jews will even be aware of it.

That’s a shame. It’s a beautiful holiday – and in real ways, it is the completion of the journey we began at the Passover seder. The trouble is that unlike Passover, it didn’t see as successful a transition to the new realities Jews faced after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE.

HISTORY Shavuot combines two ancient observances: a festival for the first grain harvest of the summer and the chag, or pilgrimage holiday, celebrated in Temple times. All Jews who were able traveled to Jerusalem to observe the sacrifices and bring the first fruits of their harvests, remembering and celebrating our acceptance of the covenant at Sinai and the giving of the Ten Commandments. The drama and pageantry of the holiday made Shavuot a major event in the Jewish year.

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28 Iyar, Which is May 24 This Year, Marks Two Significant Events

Posted on May 22nd, 2017

Memorial Day for Ethiopian Jews who Perished on their Way to Israel 


The 28th of Iyar is marked by the Israeli Ethiopian community as the memorial day for those who perished on their way to Israel. 

A mass immigration of Ethiopian Jews ("Beta Israel") took place in the years 1980 – 1984, from their villages in the area of Gundar and through Sudan. Many of them, who dreamt for many years of making Aliyah to Israel, managed to flee Ethiopia and arrive at the Ethiopian-Sudanese border, where they waited in provisional camps to make Aliyah. The passage through Sudan was made possible by an unspoken agreement, only known to a few senior officials in Sudan. Agents of the Mossad awaited the immigrants at the Sudanese border and instructed them to hide their Jewish identity. 

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Jerusalem Day  - A Historical Introduction


Jerusalem was divided during the War of Independence and nineteen years later was reunited as a result of the 6-Day War.
The battle of Jerusalem began on the morning of June 5, 1967 when the Jordanians opened fire along the entire cease-fire line. By that afternoon the Jordanians occupied the Governor's Palace.

The Central Command of the Israeli Army, under the command of General Uzi Narkiss, moved the "Har'el" brigade to the Jerusalem front. This force tore through the enemy positions of "Har Adar" and "Abdul Aziz" and conquered "Nebi Samuel".

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Shiva: What You Need to Know

Posted on May 15th, 2017
Staff myjewishlearning.com 


Questions and answers about traditions for the seven-day Jewish mourning period.


What is shiva?
Shiva is a period of mourning that generally lasts seven days, starting when the mourners return home from the funeral. During shiva, a mourner traditionally stays at home or at the home of the deceased or the deceased’s other mourners, wears torn clothing or a torn black ribbon pinned to one’s clothes (a practice known as kriah) and doesn’t go to work or school. More details about kriah and other mourning practices can be found here

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The Omer Sacrifice

Posted on May 8th, 2017
BeingJewish.com


A Non-Animal Sacrifice


Most people know that in the Holy Temple we brought animal sacrifices. What many people do not know is that many of the sacrifices were not from animals at all! A great many of them were from agricultural produce. The Omer Sacrifice was one such offering.

The Omer Sacrifice was brought not from animals, but from barley.

The Torah commands us to bring, on the second day of Passover, the Omer Offering. Let us first discuss some of the meanings behind the Commandment, and then, Gop willing, we will discuss how it was actually done.


The Meaning of the Omer

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Yom HaZikaron & Yom HaAtzmaut - Israeli Memorial Day & Independence Day

Posted on May 1st, 2017

From ReformJudaism.org


Since the establishment of the State of Israel, four new holidays have been added to the Jewish calendar - Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day), Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day), and Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day). In Israel, these holidays are observed as national holidays.

 


The Israeli Knesset established the day before Yom HaAtzmaut as Yom HaZikaron, a Memorial Day for soldiers who lost their lives fighting in the War of Independence and in other subsequent battles.


Yom HaAtzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, marks the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948. It is observed on or near the 5th of Iyar in the Hebrew calendar, which usually falls in April, sometimes May.


Read more about the history, customs, an Israeli perspective and how to make this holiday a sacred day.

 

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