jewish holidays and traditions

Repentance: Is it your lifestyle?
September 25, 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
July 25, 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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Anarchy Seder?
March 31, 2015

Does keeping order in the Passover really matter? What does the story spell out about God?

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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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Courage Can be Contagious
February 25, 2015

The Jewish holiday based on the book of Esther has a message for Christians too!

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The Hanukkah-Thanksgiving Connection: Who Knew?
October 23, 2013
Author: Hannah Fenn

Picture this. You and your extended family – aunts, uncles, cousins, parents and grandparents – are gathered for a meal. The table is beautifully set, and a huge feast has been prepared. Many wonderful smells mix in the air. Everyone is eager to eat. The dining room has been decorated with bright, fall-colored leaves and […]

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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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doh-see-doh

Complete The Rhyme
February 23, 2013

As David mentioned, Passover begins at sundown on March 25 and the Feast of Unleavened Bread lasts through April 2. For a twist on our quirky holiday quizzes, this time we thought we’d offer you a quirky “complete the rhyme.” A joyous time is Passover, as all of us should know, It marks the time […]

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Bits from the Branches

Purim Quiz
January 26, 2013

Purim is early this year! This “minor” but very fun Jewish holiday begins at sundown on February 23.  Find out how much you know about Purim: Hegai, a less known character of the story, was: a person of strong philosophical leanings; his descendants eventually produced a guy who greatly influenced Karl Marx. a person of […]

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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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To Celebrate or Not to Celebrate
November 27, 2012
Author: Ceil Rosen

This past summer, in reading Revelation 2, I came across mention of the Nicolaitans. Of course I had seen the word before, but this time I looked it up on Google. I discovered it refers to people in the early church who combined pagan practices of worship with Christian worship, something that God says He […]

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Hanukkah Quiz
November 24, 2012

Why are there so many ways to spell this holiday (Chanukah, Hanukkah, Hannuka, and that’s just for starters)? When the Temple was destroyed, all the genealogical records were lost, so each tribe of Israel chose a way to spell the holiday; that way, generations later, the different tribes of Israel would be able to identify […]

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The “Guaranteed*-to-Get-100%” Feast of Booths Quiz
September 27, 2012

The Feast of Booths (or Tabernacles) is the seventh biblical holiday that God instructed the children of Israel to observe. (see Leviticus 23.) The Hebrew name for this feast is Sukkot (rhymes with “blue coat”). This year it runs from September 30 through October 7. We hope you enjoy (and maybe learn something from) this […]

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The Message of the Mezuzah
March 1, 2012
Author: Rich Robinson

Visit the home of an observant Jew, and even some who are secular, and as you enter, you will notice a small rectangular box attached to the outer doorpost. This object is a mezuzah (pronounced mehZUZah; plural is pronounced mehzuZOTE). Though it is small, it carries a big message. The Word Mezuzah In Bible times, […]

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We Had Questions…Oy! So Many Good Answers!
July 1, 2011

This was the most fun article to put together, because it’s all about YOU! We recognize that not all of our Havurah readers worship at a Messianic congregation, or live so far out in Yennevelt that they don’t have the option. Many in our Messianic family have chosen to worship in local churches and have […]

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Finding a New Wing of the House, at Pesach
March 11, 2011

by David Friedlander

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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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Happy New Year, Trees and People Who Are Like Trees
March 5, 2011
Author: Rich Robinson

January 20, 2011 is Tu Bishevat, which means “the 15th of the month Shevat” and falls—are you ready?—on the 15th of the month Shevat. To spice things up a bit, it is also the new year for trees, which has something to do with Leviticus 19:23-25 and figuring out when you can start eating fruit from trees, though the holiday is not actually mentioned there. “

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TRADITION, TRADITION
November 10, 2010


It’s always interesting to watch the range of expressions that flash across a person’s face when they hear that I am a “Messianic Jew.” Sometimes, I try to clarify: “I’m Jewish, and a Christian.” This doesn’t seem to help. They wonder if I’m a mutt, some strange crossbreed of two animals that shouldn’t reproduce. That is usually how the conversation begins… “

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Shavuot Among Ashkenazi and Sephardic/Mizrahi Jews
May 1, 2010
Author: Rich Robinson

  Ashkenazi Jews* Sephardic/Mizrahi* Jews (often varies country to country). For convenience, both are referred to here as Sephardic. Pronunciation of the holiday Shavuos (to rhyme with “ya knew us”) Shavuot (to rhyme with “ah, blue boat!”) Food   Both groups typically eat dairy food during this holiday. Among the Sephardim, however, Yemenite Jews do […]

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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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