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Jewish Holidays

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.

Spirituality in the United States

Spirituality can be defined as life lived in the presence of God. It embraces not only traditional and formal modes of religious expression, but also more informal individual and communal efforts to remain mindful of the sacred in all aspects of experience.

Spain

Written histories of the Jews in Spain have rarely included women. When dealing with Jewish women in Spain, the available sources range from poems, letters, and rabbinic literature to Latinate wills, court records and Inquisition documents.

Shiphrah: Midrash and Aggadah

Shiphrah (more commonly spelled "Shifra") was one of the two Hebrew midwives (Shiphrah and Puah) who delivered the children of the Israelites during the Egyptian servitude. The Torah chronicles (Ex. 1:15–21) that they disobeyed Pharaoh’s command and did not kill the Israelite male newborns.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Holidays." (Viewed on August 31, 2016) <http://jwa.org/topics/jewish-holidays>.

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