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Jewish Holidays

The Birthday of the World

As we say goodbye to 5777 and come together at the start of 5778, Marge Piercy’s poem “The Birthday of the World” has been resonating through the halls of JWA. Like Piercy, we’re asking ourselves: How have we worked to make change this past year? What have we dared? What will we do in the coming year to further justice, to speak out and take a stand?

Rosh Hashanah Spaghetti Squash

It’s been a tough year, and 5777 perhaps didn’t bring with it all the promise and renewal we thought it would. I hope that, in this new year, we all have opportunities for positive change and growth. May we also have the strength and opportunity to create change in the world at large.

Justice You Shall Pursue

Jews have a particular responsibility to ensure proper use of presidential power.

Every spring, my family reads from our Haggadah about four children: one who is wise, one who is wicked, one who is apathetic, and one who is silent, because s/he does not know enough to ask.

I’ve been thinking about the four children and their questions recently as the word “unprecedented” is applied to the Trump presidency. I think that’s happening because we, collectively, do not know enough to ask.

Vegetarian Matzoh Ball Soup

Happy (almost) Pesach!

I have been a vegetarian for about seven years now, and one of the only foods I regret giving up is good matzoh ball soup. My mom has made it for holidays my whole life, and I miss it. Nothing’s better than eating matzoh ball soup, loaded with chicken and vegetables, and sitting with your family during the holidays.

Charoset-Inspired Meringue Cookies

Hi, everyone!! Passover is fast approaching, and if you are anything like me, you are dreading Passover Madness (that’s when you’ve been keeping kosher for Passover totally fine for four or five days and suddenly you’re furious at everyone and everything in your life).

On Purim and Women Teachers of Text

The holiday of Purim, whose observance centers around the public chanting of the Book of Esther, is a yearly opportunity to reflect on women in the Jewish textual tradition, and women’s relationship to this tradition. A woman, after all, has top billing as one of the story’s two heroes, a true rarity within the Bible. With courage and humility, Esther skillfully maneuvers the nuances of her socio-political context to save her people. The story is riveting and her role is prominent.

Purim Poem: Mishloach Manot

On my neighbor’s doorstep
I left a brown paper bag.
In it, I put two hamentaschen,
a clementine,
some chocolate pretzels,
and a small box of raisins.
To increase peace, love, and
friendship in the world,
obviously.
And then I walked away
feeling lighter,
unburdened,
the weight of endless obligation
lifted
for a moment.

The Forgotten Sister: Miriam

Miriam is one of many strong women described in the Jewish texts, and is far too often forgotten when we retell our stories. Two stories stand out to me in illustrating that Miriam is a truly wise and courageous woman: when Miriam saves her brother Moses in his youth, and when she leads the Jewish people in celebration after they successfully cross the Red Sea to safety. 

Leading with Timbrels: Another Side to the Passover Story

Every year, my temple holds a women’s seder on the second night of Passover. This ritual has always been important to me because throughout my Jewish education, I have clung to stories as the basis for my learning. 

The Hidden History of Hanukkah

We all know the story. The courageous Maccabees, the oil that lasted for a miraculous eight nights. We all know the branded fable, the great tale of Hanukkah that has been recited again and again in synagogues and religious schools forever. But it isn’t the whole story. 

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Holidays." (Viewed on September 21, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/jewish-holidays>.

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