This website is made possible by generous donations from users just like you. $18 helps keep JWA online for one day. Please consider making a gift to JWA today!
Close [x]

You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

Jewish Holidays

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. 

Judith the Activist

In times of struggle, uncertainty, and fear, we are called to act. In the recent words of Charles Blow in the New York Times, “America needs you … now. Speak up.”

But, for those of us who do not identify as activists—those of us who are speaking up for the first time within the political system, those of us who are realizing that we need to move off of social media into more active engagement—it is easy to become discouraged and overwhelmed.

Pumpkin Spice Rugelach

Hi Everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful Rosh Hashanah, a meaningful Yom Kippur, and an easy fast. And next in the annual fall marathon of Jewish holidays, I hope you have a great Sukkot. In honor of this holiday, filled with stuffed foods and fall vegetables, I’ve put together a recipe for pumpkin spice rugelach.

“In a Place Where There Are No Men”

The 21st century in general, and this season in particular, is a high stakes time in the congregational rabbinate. Taking a break from my annual scramble to produce four 20-minute sermons that will change the course of history (that’s really what it feels like), I had the opportunity to re-read some High Holy Day words that actually did change the course of history.

Pomegranate Glazed Roasted Vegetables

It is now the time of year when 90% of my conversations with my mother are about what we’re making for Rosh Hashanah dinner. So far I am scheduled to make the challah, rugelach, vegetarian matzoh ball soup, roasted vegetables, and at least one other dessert. Am I ready? Not even a little bit. I’ve opted for a recipe involving a pomegranate glaze and carrots because of their traditional cultural elements and the way their flavors balance each other out. This has a 100% success rate and is delicious, filling, healthy, and holiday-appropriate!

Apple Pound Cake with Honey Whipped Cream

As my first assignment at JWA, I am tackling the legendary but polarizing Rosh Hashanah dessert: Honey Cake.  An informal poll of every Jewish person I spoke to over the course of a week told me that no one likes it. The strongest emotion I’ve felt about honey cake has been a luke-warm “well, sure.” However, for my inaugural blog post, I was determined to create a recipe that incorporated some of the flavors and ingredients of honey cake.

Pages

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Holidays." (Viewed on December 13, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/jewish-holidays>.

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

listen now

Sign Up for JWA eNews

 

Discover Education Programs

Join our growing community of educators.

view programs