jewish holidays and traditions

Catastrophe and Communion
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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Passover Plagues: Ten Days of Devotions by Laura Barron
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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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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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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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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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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Is A Tu b'Shvat Meditation Ready for Prime Time?

Is A Tu b’Shvat Meditation Ready for Prime Time?
January 7, 2008
Author: Rich Robinson

Sometimes I think I want to invent a new reality show. Not that we don’t have enough already. But I think it would be cool to have something along the lines of, Who Wants to Dance with a Survivor? or Xtreme Life Swap Makeover. You know, something that’s a little edgier that what’s out there right now.

It’s kind of ironic that most of our reality shows don’t deal with reality. Nothing about Iraq, nothing about nuclear arms. Instead they’re mostly about dancing, singing, and looking better. I guess some people’s reality is different than mine.

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An Ashkenazic Look at Sephardic Sukkot Customs (What one Reform Jew from Brooklyn learned)
September 1, 2007
Author: Rich Robinson

I come from an Ashkenazic family, which means we have an Eastern European Jewish background. Sephardic Jews come from Spain, Portugal, the Mediterranean, North Africa and Iraq. This chart compares the customs our family knew to those of Sephardic Jews who’ve come to North America from Sephardic regions.* Traditions change over time, and also from […]

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WITNESSING THIS PASSOVER
March 1, 2007

We all struggle with how best to tell our unsaved families about Jesus, and there are no easy answers. But Jewish holidays provide wonderful opportunities for witnessing. Our redemption from Egypt is so typical of the way God works His salvation plans. And the well-known theme of the lamb’s shed blood can help you explain […]

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