jewish holidays and traditions

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

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

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

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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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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Tisha B’Av and Related Mourning Times
August 1, 1995

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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The Tallit and Tzitzit
January 1, 1994

Learn about the history, significance and traditions of the Jewish prayer shawl.

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A Messianic Look at Purim

Such a Curse: A Messianic Look at Purim
January 1, 1993
Author: Mark Stover

Purim is the Jewish holiday which is most carnival-like. Children drown out Haman’s name with greggers. Young Jewish girls participate in Queen Esther beauty pageants. Plays are enacted called Purimspiels. And everyone noshes on poppyseed and prune hamantaschen. Yet, behind the feasting and drinking and partying lies a somber message: the near destruction of the…

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A Letter from Queen Esther

The scene is the bed chamber of Queen Esther on the night before she attempts to approach the king’s throne uninvited. The following letter by Bonnie Wilks is fictitious, yet might well express some of Esther’s sentiments from the background of a Jew, an exile, and an adopted child. She is penning a letter to…

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Hanukkah in Tradition, Worship, and the Ministry of Jesus
November 1, 1990

  Date Begins on the 25th of Kislev (falling in November or December). Duration Lasts for eight days. Meaning of Name Feast of Dedication. Other Name Festival of Lights. Important sources of information First and Second Maccabees; Josephs, Antiquities 12:7; John 10:22; Sabbat 21b (in the Talmud). History Historically Hanukkah recounts the victory of the…

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