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Jewish Holidays

Cookbooks in the United States

When you are searching for instructions on how to prepare the perfect pickled tongue, for hints on setting a festive [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:395]Shabbat[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] table, or a refresher course in the laws and lore of [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:377]Passover[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary], American Jewish cookbooks are an invaluable source of information on Jewish life. The first publicly available American Jewish cookbook was published in 1871. Esther Levy’s Jewish Cookery Book on Principles of Economy Adapted for Jewish Housekeepers with Medicinal Recipes and Other Valuable Information Relative to Housekeeping and Domestic Management was an attempt to touch on most aspects of Jewish home life. While few of the hundreds of Jewish cookbooks written since attempt the breadth of this first work, American Jewish cookbooks capture the range of Jewish religious and cultural expression.

Conversas

The forced conversions of the Jews in Spain that occurred in 1391 changed the face of Spanish Jewry as well as of Spanish history. The random attacks on Jewish communities throughout the country resulted in destruction of property, loss of life and general havoc. Whereas there had previously been Jews and Catholics, now there were Jews, Catholics and converts or conversos. Some of the converts continued to live a Jewish life to the best of their abilities, despite the fact that they now had to attend church and abide by its dogma. Others opted to live as Christians in the hope that new opportunities would await them. Yet others wavered between the two religious lifestyles or opted to follow neither. During the first half of the fifteenth century, the original group of conversos was joined by disillusioned Jews who chose to convert and others who were persuaded to do so in the wake of the rigged Disputation of Tortosa (1413–1414). In the long run, the converso population changed tremendously after nearly a third of the total remaining Jewish population chose to convert in 1492 rather than to face exile. In other words, by the end of the fifteenth century the converso community included descendants of the original forced converts of 1391, descendants of voluntary converts, Jews who chose to remain in Spain as Catholics and even some exiles who returned home within seven years of the fateful decree.

Leah Bergstein

Leah Bergstein was the first of the choreographers in Palestine who at the beginning of the 1930s created festival dances at [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:342]kibbutzim[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary], attempting to depict life in pre-state Israel in general and on agricultural settlements in particular. The unique creation of festival pageants contributed greatly to the development of a genre of rural Israeli festival and holiday celebrations and the creation of the first [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:309]Erez Israel[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] dances.

Sarah Bas Tovim

Sarah bas Tovim (Sore bas toyvim), daughter of Mordecai (or daughter of Isaac or Jacob, as sometimes listed on the title pages of various editions of her works), of Satanov in Podolia, in present-day Ukraine, great-granddaughter of Rabbi Mordecai of Brisk (on this, all editions agree), became the emblematic tkhine [q.v.] author, and one of her works, Shloyshe sheorim, perhaps the most beloved of all tkhines.

Assimilation in the United States: Twentieth Century

Jewish women began to assimilate into American society and culture as soon as they stepped off the boat. Some started even earlier, with reports and dreams of the goldene medine, the golden land of liberty and opportunity. Very few resisted adapting to the language and mores of the United States; those who did often returned to Europe. Well over ninety percent stayed, even those who cursed Columbus’s voyage and subsequent European settlement in North America.

Celebrating the Earth and the Jewish Women who Keep it Healthy!

A few weeks ago – in anticipation of Tu B'Shevat, the Jewish New Year for Trees – the Jewish Women's Archive introduced a new web-feature, Jewish Women in Environmental Activism.

Eight Inspiring Stories for Eight Days of Hanukkah

Happy first day of Hanukkah! With Bernard Madoff bringing a bit of gloom and doom to our nation's holiday season, now is an especially important time for us to be (re)-inspired by those who bring out the best of Jewish life and social responsibility.

To help mark the eight days of Hanukkah, meet eight inspiring Jewish women whose stories are told at jwa.org...

More on Jews, Jewesses, and Thanksgiving

Apropos of Ellen's comment about "what makes Thanksgiving so meaningful for some American Jews" in her prior post, I thought I'd share an excerpt from an article published in The American Jewess in November 1896.

Rosh Hashanah and Hurricane Katrina: Reflections from Bluma Rivkin of New Orleans

To mark the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the coming High Holidays, we have chosen a story told by New Orleans resident Bluma Rivkin. One of 90 oral histories collected by the Jewish Women's Archive for the Katrina's Jewish Voices project, the interview was conducted by historian Rosalind Hinton on October 12, 2006. This will be the first of a series of monthly podcasts, so check back regularly!

Love Your Body Day and the Jewish Holidays

Back to school means a few things to this Jewess: buying new white shirts (they never last more than a season) and preparing for the High Holidays. This fall, there may be a few other things on our collective plates, it being an election season and all, but I want to propose that we spend the next few weeks preparing not only for Rosh HaShana (September 29 - October 1) and Yom Kippur (October 9), but also for Love Your Body Day, an annual event (now in its 10th year) sponsored by NOW, which falls on October 15 (also Sukkot, this year).

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Holidays." (Viewed on August 1, 2015) <http://jwa.org/topics/jewish-holidays>.

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