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Jewish Holidays

Add an environmental activist to our list!

Beginning with the commandment for Adam and Eve to protect the Garden of Eden, Jewish tradition teaches that sustaining the health of the earth and all of its living things is a moral imperative.

Who wields the pans on Hanukkah?

Ever since that one little jug found in the corner of the First Temple burned for eight days instead of one, olive oil has been political. 

The one day supply of olive oil lasted for eight days, so the eternal flame did not go out while the temple was re-dedicated. Thus, Judaism’s victory against Hellenism was ratified by the holy light, and we now remember the miracle by serving fried food for eight days.

What's on YOUR latkes?

Hanukkah is coming, and with it my usual debate with my husband’s family. They are wonderful--sophisticated, warm and accepting of my last-minute hysterical gift decrees (no plastic toys, no battery-operated toys, whatever is bothering me that year). They are flexible about what a proper Menorah is, especially if a grandchild constructs it. But, don’t touch their toppings.

May Podcast: A Conversion Story for Shavuot

Tomorrow starts the festival of Shavuot, a time of spiritual liberation that commemorates the ancient Israelites receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai. The holiday is also linked to the story of Ruth, a Moabite woman, and her relationship with her Israelite mother-in-law, Naomi. As recounted in the Book of Ruth, traditionally read on Shavuot, after Naomi and her daughters-in-law Ruth and Orpah all become widows, Naomi urges the two younger women to leave her and find new husbands.

First female cantor leads Rosh Hashanah services

September 15, 1955

Betty Robbins, the world's first female cantor, led Rosh Hashanah evening services at Temple Avodah of Oceanside, New York.

Ray Frank preaches on Rosh Hashanah

September 14, 1890

On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, Ray Frank became the first Jewish woman to preach formally from a synagogue pulpit in the United States.

E.M. Broner publishes "The Telling"

March 1, 1993

Publication of E.M. Broner's "The Telling: The Story of a Group of Jewish Women Who Journey to Spirituality Through Community and Ceremony."

Who says there are only four questions?

Yesterday,the Jewish Women's Archive sent out a Passover e-greeting with the subject line: "Who says there are only four questions?" One of several responses to ourgreeting was from Nina Amir who affirmed that, indeed, there are far more than four questions to explore on Passover.

Oranges, Miriam's Cup, and Other Passover Rituals

Passover is next week. How did that happen?! I haven't even begun to prepare, but was reminded that I better get on the ball after reading the opinion piece "Raising Cups, Dropping Oranges" by Aurora Mendelsohn in the Forward. Mendelsohn discusses the ways in which her Seder's feminist rituals have changed over the past decade: Miriam's Cup has endured while the orange on the Seder plate has disappeared.

Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem, who exemplifies the Second Wave of American Feminism, began her career as a journalist writing under a man's name. She went on to co-found Ms., the first feminist periodical with a national readership. An advocacy journalist, she writes passionately about issues of women's empowerment and gender, racial and economic equality.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Holidays." (Viewed on February 27, 2015) <http://jwa.org/topics/jewish-holidays>.

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