jewish holidays and traditions

Some Christians just celebrated a Jewish holiday without knowing it!
May 23, 2018

If you or someone you know is a Christian who celebrated “Pentecost Sunday” on May 20, then you (or they) celebrated an event rooted in ancient Jewish life – and that’s a good thing!

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Repentance: Is it your lifestyle?
October 1, 2017

Do you have a wrong impression of God, sin and repentance? Increase your understanding and receive the blessings God has for those who embrace repentance as a lifestyle.

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Catastrophe and Communion: Reflections on Tisha b’Av
August 1, 2016

This month many Jewish people will join in mourning over an especially tragic date. According to Jewish tradition,Tisha b’Av—or the ninth day of the month of Av—is the date of destruction for both the first and second temples in Jerusalem.

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Is there a Temple in Your Future?
July 22, 2015

What did Jesus have to say about the Temple? Will the Temple be rebuilt? And does it make any difference to you either way?

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Lag BaOmer – A great day for a Messianic wedding!
May 5, 2015
Author: Samuel Rood

Growing up in a Messianic Jewish family, I knew all about Passover, Hanukkah, Purim and Sukkot. But I didn’t hear about Lag B’Omer until I moved to New York City and took a Hebrew class.  There I learned that for many religious Jews this holiday holds deep significance. 

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Passover Plagues: Ten Days of Devotions
March 25, 2015
Author: Laura Barron

These ten days of devotions give insight into parts of the Passover story that you might be overlooking.

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Do you hear the trumpet call?
August 9, 2013
Author: Maxim Ammosov

This year, Shavuot (the Jewish festival behind the Christian Pentecost Sunday) is May 14-15 (sundown to sundown). You can read more Jews for Jesus articles on this holiday here. Beyond that, David Brickner and Rich Robinson have written a very thorough guide to understanding this holiday and how it relates to believers in Jesus. Christ…

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Who is the Shammash?
November 30, 2012

Shammash is a Hebrew word that means servant. In the Jewish community, shammash (also spelled “shammas”) commonly refers to the sexton—the person who manages the synagogue facilities and keeps things running smoothly. In the Middle Ages the term referenced a more prestigious position. The shammash helped to conduct prayer, lead the worship services and even…

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A Passover Reflection on the Four Questions
April 3, 2012
Author: Rich Robinson

At every Passover seder, one of the more dramatic moments is when the family recites the Ten Plagues that God sent against Egypt. Together everybody names each plague and pours out a drop from the aptly-named Cup of Plagues, the second cup of the evening. The idea is that we are prohibited from rejoicing over…

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The Three Symbols of Passover
March 10, 2011

The following excerpt is from the Messianic Family Haggadah.* This haggadah retains the essential elements of the traditional seder service, but weaves in some New Testament understandings that explain the Passover/Jesus connection. The Three Symbols of Passover Leader:  Rabbi Gamaliel said that in order to tell the Passover story properly, we must mention three important…

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Mysterious Passover Symbols
April 1, 2010

Passover is a beautiful, often mysterious, celebration. More than any other festival it has been at the heart of the universal Jewish experience, helping to form the core of spiritual identity and pointing inexorably toward the hope of Israel’s salvation. Two especially mysterious items on the Passover table were not part of the original celebration;…

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Guess Who’s Coming to the Seder?
December 22, 2009

Every year Macabbi Tel Aviv faces off against its rival, Hapoel Tel Aviv, in a soccer match. The game is filled with tension and excitement as a packed house stands and cheers non-stop for ninety minutes. Accolades and bragging rights will fall to the winner. Yet the time on the clock has run out, and…

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Yom Kippur and the Jewish Athlete
December 19, 2009
Author: Matt Sieger

We are proud when a Jewish athlete succeeds, but a few have gained even more respect for refusing to play ball on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg recalled his 1934 decision: Both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur came in September… and since we were in the thick of…

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Jewish Factoids: The Yarmulke Or Kippah
May 1, 2009

People often ask us the reason behind the traditional Jewish yarmulke (skull cap), also called a kippah (Hebrew for covering). The following information comes from a catalogue that sells a variety of kippot (plural for kippah): The sources for wearing kippot (Jewish skullcaps) are found in the Talmud [rabbinical commentary, also known as the Oral…

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Purim: A Modern-Day Guide to Survival
March 1, 2009

These are trying times. As we’re confronted with an economic meltdown of global proportions, international terrorism, political upheaval and cultural decline, many can’t help wondering how we will survive such conditions. Jewish history has much to teach us about how God has preserved His people through times of upheaval and distress. This month, Jews around…

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Adding a few more questions to the mix this Passover
April 1, 2008
Author: Rich Robinson

The number four plays a significant role in Judaism. There are the four species of plants for Sukkot; four kingdoms in the book of Daniel; four Torah portions in the tefillin; four Matriarchs in the book of Genesis. At Passover, we find this number in abundance. In the course of the seder we have four sons, four cups of wine, four expressions of redemption (Exodus 6:6-7) and perhaps the most famous “four” of all—the Ma Nishtana, known in English as the Four Questions…

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Passover Symbols
March 15, 2006
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The Mystery of the Passover Cup
March 1, 2002

What does the Jewish Bible say about the Passover cup’s symbolism and meaning? What blessing can be found in remembering the story of redemption? Read here.

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Milk and Honey: Forms that Reflect our Faith
February 1, 1999

One of the challenges we face as Jewish believers is finding forms that reflect and connect our faith in the God of our ancestors, our new birth in the Messiah Yeshua, and our Jewish heritage. Our desire is to keep those forms biblical and distinctly Jewish and to weave them creatively throughout our worship and…

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The Messianic Bar Mitzvah
April 1, 1996
Author: Stephen Katz

Well I had a bar mitzvah when I was thirteen, The greatest bar mitzvah that you’ve ever seen. The temple on the corner of Mayfield and Lee was filled with my friends and my family, all of them proud as proud could be, with catering far as the eye could see— complete with a chopped…

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Tisha B’Av and Related Mourning Times
August 1, 1995
Author: Rich Robinson

These days are observed only by traditional Orthodox Jews. Some non-Orthodox Jews tend to recognize them as important in Jewish tradition but do not encourage traditional observance. Sheva Asar be-Tammuz Meaning of Name: The 17th of Tammuz English Name: The Fast of Tammuz Calendar Month: June/July Jewish Calendar Date: Originally the 9th of Tammuz to…

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