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A friend made this new Judaism 101 website, and learned a lot from it. I think it’s written in a clear subject oriented method; ie Ritual items, Jewish holidays, Judaica, and more. I  Hope you will find it enriching as well!

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Everything tends, in fact, to one and the same conclusion, which is clearly enunciated in that classic Berlin phrase: “Juden Raus!” (Out with the Jews!)

I shall now put the Question in the briefest possible form: Are we to “get out” now and where to?

Or, may we yet remain? And, how long?

Let us first settle the point of staying where we are. Can we hope for better days, can we possess our souls in patience, can we wait in pious resignation till the princes and peoples of this earth are more mercifully disposed towards us? I say that we cannot hope for a change in the current of feeling. And why not? Even if we were as near to the hearts of princes as are their other subjects, they could not protect us. They would only feel popular hatred by showing us too much favor. By “too much,” I really mean less than is claimed as a right by every ordinary citizen, or by every race. The nations in whose midst Jews live are all either covertly or openly Anti-Semitic.

The common people have not, and indeed cannot have, any historic comprehension. They do not know that the sins of the Middle Ages are now being visited on the nations of Europe. We are what the Ghetto made us. We have attained pre-eminence in finance, because mediaeval conditions drove us to it. The same process is now [87]being repeated. We are again being forced into finance, now it is the stock exchange, by being kept out of other branches of economic activity. Being on the stock exchange, we are consequently exposed afresh to contempt. At the same time we continue to produce an abundance of mediocre intellects who find no outlet, and this endangers our social position as much as does our increasing wealth. Educated Jews without means are now rapidly becoming Socialists. Hence we are certain to suffer very severely in the struggle between classes, because we stand in the most exposed position in the camps of both Socialists and capitalists.

But the attempts at colonization made even by really benevolent men, interesting attempts though they were, have so far been unsuccessful. I do not think that this or that man took up the matter merely as an amusement, that they engaged in the emigration of poor Jews as one indulges in the racing of horses. The matter was too grave and tragic for such treatment. These attempts were interesting, in that they represented on a small scale the practical fore-runners of the idea of a Jewish State. They were even useful, for out of their mistakes may be gathered experience for carrying the idea out successfully on a larger scale. They have, of course, done harm also. The transportation of Anti-Semitism to new districts, which is the inevitable consequence of such artificial infiltration, seems to me to be the least of these evils. Far worse is the circumstance that unsatisfactory results tend to cast doubts on intelligent men. What is impractical or impossible to simple argument will remove this doubt from the minds of intelligent men. What is unpractical or impossible to [82]accomplish on a small scale, need not necessarily be so on a larger one. A small enterprise may result in loss under the same conditions which would make a large one pay. A rivulet cannot even be navigated by boats, the river into which it flows carries stately iron vessels.

No human being is wealthy or powerful enough to transplant a nation from one habitation to another. An idea alone can achieve that and this idea of a State may have the requisite power to do so. The Jews have dreamt this kingly dream all through the long nights of their history. “Next year in Jerusalem” is our old phrase. It is now a question of showing that the dream can be converted into a living reality.

For this, many old, outgrown, confused and limited notions must first be entirely erased from the minds of men. Dull brains might, for instance, imagine that this exodus would be from civilized regions into the desert. That is not the case. It will be carried out in the midst of civilization. We shall not revert to a lower stage, we shall rise to a higher one. We shall not dwell in mud huts; we shall build new more beautiful and more modern houses, and possess them in safety. We shall not lose our acquired possessions; we shall realize them. We shall surrender our well earned rights only for better ones. We shall not sacrifice our beloved customs; we shall find them again. We shall not leave our old home before the new one is prepared for us. Those only will depart who are sure thereby to improve their position; those who are now desperate will go first, after them the poor; next the prosperous, and, last of all, the wealthy. Those who go in advance will raise themselves to a higher grade, equal to those whose representatives will shortly follow. Thus the exodus will be at the same time an ascent of the class.

This objection will be especially brought forward in France. It will probably also be made in other countries, but I shall answer only the French Jews beforehand, because these afford the most striking example of my point.

However much I may worship personality—powerful individual personality in statesmen, inventors, artists, philosophers, or leaders, as well as the collective personality of a historic group of human beings, which we call a nation—however much I may worship personality, I do not regret its disappearance. Whoever can, will, and must perish, let him perish. But the distinctive nationality of Jews neither can, will, nor must be destroyed. It cannot be destroyed, because external enemies consolidate it. It [80]will not be destroyed; this is shown during two thousand years of appalling suffering. It must not be destroyed, and that, as a descendant of numberless Jews who refused to despair, I am trying once more to prove in this pamphlet. Whole branches of Judaism may wither and fall, but the trunk will remain.

Hence, if all or any of the French Jews protest against this scheme on account of their own “assimilation,” my answer is simple: The whole thing does not concern them at all. They are Jewish Frenchmen, well and good! This is a private affair for the Jews alone.

The movement towards the organization of the State I am proposing would, of course, harm Jewish Frenchmen no more than it would harm the “assimilated” of other countries. It would, on the contrary, be distinctly to their advantage. For they would no longer be disturbed in their “chromatic function,” as Darwin puts it, but would be able to assimilate in peace, because the present Anti-Semitism would have been stopped for ever. They would certainly be credited with being assimilated to the very depths of their souls, if they stayed where they were after the new Jewish State, with its superior institutions, had become a reality.

The “assimilated” would profit even more than Christian citizens by the departure of faithful Jews; for they would be rid of the disquieting, incalculable, and unavoidable rivalry of a Jewish proletariat, driven by poverty and political pressure from place to place, from land to land. This floating proletariat would become stationary. Many Christian citizens—whom we call Anti-Semites—can now offer determined resistance to the immigration of foreign Jews. Jewish citizens cannot do this, although it affects them far more directly; for on them they feel first of all [81]the keen competition of individuals carrying on similar branches of industry, who, in addition, either introduce Anti-Semitism where it does not exist, or intensify it where it does. The “assimilated” give expression to this secret grievance in “philanthropic” undertakings. They organize emigration societies for wandering Jews. There is a reverse to the picture which would be comic, if it did not deal with human beings. For some of these charitable institutions are created not for, but against, persecuted Jews; they are created to despatch these poor creatures just as fast and far as possible. And thus, many an apparent friend of the Jews turns out, on careful inspection, to be nothing more than an Anti-Semite of Jewish origin, disguised as a philanthropist.

Those who really wished to see the Jews disappear through intermixture with other nations, can only hope to see it come about in one way. The Jews must previously acquire economic power sufficiently great to overcome the old social prejudice against them. The aristocracy may serve as an example of this, for in its ranks occur the proportionately largest numbers of mixed marriages. The Jewish families which regild the old nobility with their money become gradually absorbed. But what form would this phenomenon assume in the middle classes, where (the Jews being a bourgeois people) the Jewish question is mainly concentrated? A previous acquisition of power could be synonymous with that economic supremacy which Jews are already erroneously declared to possess. And if the power they now possess creates rage and indignation among the Anti-Semites, what outbreaks would such an increase of power create? Hence the first step towards absorption will never be taken, because this step would involve the subjection of the majority to a hitherto scorned minority, possessing neither military nor administrative power of its own. I think, therefore, that the absorption of Jews by means of their prosperity is unlikely to occur. In countries which now are Anti-Semitic my view will be approved. In others, where Jews now feel comfortable, it will probably be violently disputed by them. My happier co-religionists will not believe me till Jew-baiting teaches them the truth; for the longer Anti-Semitism lies in abeyance the more fiercely will it break out. The infiltration of immigrating Jews, attracted to a land by apparent security, and the ascent in the social scale of native Jews, combine powerfully to bring about a revolution. Nothing is plainer than this rational conclusion.

[79]Because I have drawn this conclusion with complete indifference to everything but the quest of truth, I shall probably be contradicted and opposed by Jews who are in easy circumstances. Insofar as private interests alone are held by their anxious or timid possessors to be in danger, they can safely be ignored, for the concerns of the poor and oppressed are of greater importance than theirs. But I wish from the outset to prevent any misconception from arising, particularly the mistaken notion that my project, if realized, would in the least degree injure property now held by Jews. I shall therefore explain everything connected with rights of property very fully. Whereas, if my plan never becomes anything more than a piece of literature, things will merely remain as they are. It might more reasonably be objected that I am giving a handle to Anti-Semitism when I say we are a people—one people; that I am hindering the assimilation of Jews where it is about to be consummated, and endangering it where it is an accomplished fact, insofar as it is possible for a solitary writer to hinder or endanger anything.

Oppression and persecution cannot exterminate us. No nation on earth has survived such struggles and sufferings as we have gone through. Jew-baiting has merely stripped off our weaklings; the strong among us were invariably true to their race when persecution broke out against them. This attitude was most clearly apparent in the period immediately following the emancipation of the Jews. Those Jews who were advanced intellectually and materially entirely lost the feeling of belonging to their race. Wherever our political well-being has lasted for any length of time, we have assimilated with our surroundings. I think this is not discreditable. Hence, the statesman who would wish to see a Jewish strain in his nation would have to provide for the duration of our political well-being; and even a Bismarck could not do that.

For old prejudices against us still lie deep in the hearts of the people. He who would have proofs of this need only listen to the people where they speak with frankness and simplicity: proverb and fairy-tale are both Anti-Semitic. A nation is everywhere a great child, which can certainly be educated; but its education would, even in most favorable circumstances, occupy such a vast amount of time that we could, as already mentioned, remove our own difficulties by other means long before the process was accomplished.

Assimilation, by which I understood not only external conformity in dress, habits, customs, and language, but also identity of feeling and manner—assimilation of Jews could be effected only by intermarriage. But the need for mixed marriages would have to be felt by the majority; their mere recognition by law would certainly not suffice.

The Hungarian Liberals, who have just given legal sanction to mixed marriages, have made a remarkable mistake which one of the earliest cases clearly illustrates; a baptized Jew married a Jewess. At the same time the struggle to obtain the present form of marriage accentuated distinctions between Jews and Christians, thus hindering [78]rather than aiding the fusion of races.

It is astonishing how little insight into the science of economics many of the men who move in the midst of active life possess. Hence it is that even Jews faithfully repeat the cry of the Anti-Semites: “We depend for sustenance on the nations who are our hosts, and if we had no hosts to support us we should die of starvation.” This is a point that shows how unjust accusations may weaken our self-knowledge. But what are the true grounds for this statement concerning the nations that act as “hosts”? Where it is not based on limited physiocratic views it is founded on the childish error that commodities pass from hand to hand in continuous rotation. We need not wake from long slumber, like Rip van Winkle, to realize that the world is considerably altered by the production of new commodities. The technical progress made during this wonderful era enables even a man of most limited intelligence to note with his short-sighted eyes the appearance of new commodities all around him. The spirit of enterprise has created them.

Labor without enterprise is the stationary labor of ancient days; and typical of it is the work of the husbandman, who stands now just where his progenitors stood a thousand years ago. All our material welfare has been brought about by men of enterprise. I feel almost ashamed of writing down so trite a remark. Even if we were a nation of entrepreneurs—such as absurdly exaggerated accounts make us out to be—we should not require another nation to live on. We do not depend on the circulation of old commodities, because we produce new ones.

[74]The world possesses slaves of extraordinary capacity for work, whose appearance has been fatal to the production of handmade goods: these slaves are the machines. It is true that workmen are required to set machinery in motion; but for this we have men in plenty, in super-abundance. Only those who are ignorant of the conditions of Jews in many countries of Eastern Europe would venture to assert that Jews are either unfit or unwilling to perform manual labor.

But I do not wish to take up the cudgels for the Jews in this pamphlet. It would be useless. Everything rational and everything sentimental that can possibly be said in their defence has been said already. If one’s hearers are incapable of comprehending them, one is a preacher in a desert. And if one’s hearers are broad and high-minded enough to have grasped them already, then the sermon is superfluous. I believe in the ascent of man to higher and yet higher grades of civilization; but I consider this ascent to be desperately slow. Were we to wait till average humanity had become as charitably inclined as was Lessing when he wrote “Nathan the Wise,” we should wait beyond our day, beyond the days of our children, of our grandchildren, and of our great-grandchildren. But the world’s spirit comes to our aid in another way.

Having reviewed the major opinions as to what a “chupah” is, what are we to do in practice? This issue is solved largely by the Bach. Thus, in his time, when weddings were often done on Fridays before Shabbat, the head of the bride would be covered after Shacharit (thus fulfilling Tosafot in Yoma 13a, which says that chupah is when the bride leaves her house with her hair adorned). It seems that the basic assumption was that this would be done by her father or by the Rabbi, and thus the Bach notes that the groom should either do this by himself or at least have a part in doing so. Then, when the blessings were to be made, a canopy would be placed on poles and held over the bride and the groom. After the blessings were complete, the bride and groom would retreat to their house and eat in a secluded place, which was considered to be the main fulfillment of chupah.

Our practice is basically the same. Before what we call the chupah is the “bedeken” (from the German meaning “to cover”; not from the Hebrew for “to check”), where the groom brings the veil down over the face of the bride. While there are several reasons for this practice, the fact that it may constitute chupah has led some poskim to require that two witnesses be designated for this part of the ceremony as well as for everything that follows. We follow the bedeken with what is known as the chupah, where the bride and groom stand under the canopy (or tallit, or both) and the blessings are recited. Finally, they retire to the “yichud room,” where they share a meal together. As those who claim that yichud constitutes chupah speak of the groom bringing the bride into his domicile, there are those (Mishna Berura and others) who require that the groom “own” the yichud room, usually done by making a mainly nominal deal with the owner of the catering hall or hotel. Again, as yichud may be the actual chupah, witnesses are designated and stand guard outside the room.

One of the most serious areas of law that is involved here concerns the laws of yichud. A man is not allowed to be alone in a closed room (or any place where they do not fear being disturbed) with a woman, with very few exceptions. One such exception is his wife, and this topic will lead us directly into the first of the opinions on chupah, that of Rambam.

Assuming one of the strictest views on what chupah is, Rambam writes (Hil. Ishut 10:1) that  Jewish wedding chupah occurs when the man brings the woman into his house and has yichud with her. At this point she is considered to be a “nesu’ah” (married woman) and is considered to be his wife for all areas of halacha. He concludes by noting that this seclusion accomplishes the goal of cementing the marriage even if the couple had not yet had relations with each other, so long as they could have done so (“chupah ha-re’uyah l’bi’a“).

This last comment of Rambam is crucial to his overall view. As the Derisha notes, Rambam’s position is based on the perspective that the entire point of the chupah is the relations that will follow. Thus, even if the relations do not occur, as long as it is possible that they could have, the chupah is valid. This becomes an issue in an area that we will only mention briefly here, namely the case of a “chupat nidda,” when the woman is menstruating at the time of the Jewish wedding chupah. Since she is forbidden to any man at that time, there is no possibility for relations to occur, and the two are not fully married and may not be alone with each other until such time as she is pure and they can consummate their marriage (we should note that this is not the view that is followed today).

The Kesef Mishna cites Ran, who is shocked at the view of Rambam. He brings in the gemara in Yevamot 57b, which states clearly that women who are unfit for marriage for whatever reason can still have a valid chupah. Rosh (Ketubot 5:6) also objects to the view of Rambam. He first cites Rabbeinu Channanel and Rif, who agree with Rambam, and then cites Rambam himself. However, he notes that throughout the gemara, whenever the issue of chupah is involved with the ramifications being whether or not a non-kohein woman who is marrying a kohein will be able to eat from terumah (food given to the priests that only they may eat), the question of a chupat nidda is never raised. Thus, says Rosh, there is clearly an assumption that a chupat nidda is valid. To deal more directly with the concerns of Rambam, Rosh notes that so long as the groom enters the chupah with the intentions to consummate the marriage, the chupah is valid even if his wife is then found to be impure (the Magid Mishna agrees with this opinion). Perhaps concerned with the view of Rambam, the Hagahot Ashri notes in the name of the Mordechai that there was the practice to inform the groom before the chupah if his wife was impure. While he does not specify whose view he is following, if he were to be following the view of Rambam, then the chupah would clearly not be valid if the woman were to be impure.

Part 2 of 7

In the good old days, a man and a woman would enter into a state of “erusin” (engagement) a significant time before they actually got married. Unlike modern-day engagements, which have no real halachic status, this stage was a kind of a partial-married state. However, while this stage meant that the man and women were designated for each other, there is a slew of laws regarding husband and wife that do not kick in until the marriage has been completed, which Rambam and Tur agree happens with the chupah.

Bamidbar 30 speaks about the laws of taking vows. A woman who lives in her father’s house can have her vows canceled by her father if he hears them on the day that she makes them. Once she is married, however, the husband assumes this privilege, and can negate the vows taken by his wife. Only once chupah has happened does the husband acquire the power to do such a thing. Until that point, the girl is still considered to be in her father’s house. Similarly, if a woman were to pass away unmarried, any possessions that she owns would go to her relatives. Once she is married, her husband assumes the position of prominence among her heirs. Once again, only once chupah has happened does he achieve this status.

part 1 of 7

It is fairly standard today for Jewish wedding invitations to list two times at which the affair will begin. The first time is for the reception/cocktails, and the second time is for the “chupah.” While there are certainly those who feel that the former is more important, there is no doubt that it is the latter that is the religious high point of the wedding. It is with the commencement of the “chupah” (or perhaps its conclusion) that the man and wife become officially married to one another, ready to begin their new lives together. However, there is much debate among the Rishonim and poskim as to what is meant by the term “chupah.”

Why should it matter? In fact, what we consider to be the chupah has tremendous ramifications for various areas of Jewish law. We will use this introduction to note a few of these areas as background, and will then investigate some of the various opinions concerning this practice.

In the good old days, a man and a woman would enter into a state of “erusin” a significant time before they actually got married. Unlike modern-day engagements, which have no real halachic status, this stage was a kind of a partial-married state. However, while this stage meant that the man and women were designated for each other, there is a slew of laws regarding husband and wife that do not kick in until the marriage has been completed, which Rambam and Tur agree happens with the chupah.

Bamidbar 30 speaks about the laws of taking vows. A woman who lives in her father’s house can have her vows cancelled by her father if he hears them on the day that she makes them. Once she is married, however, the husband assumes this privilege, and can negate the vows taken by his wife. Only once chupah has happened does the husband acquire the power to do such a thing. Until that point, the girl is still considered to be in her father’s house. Similarly, if a woman were to pass away unmarried, any possessions that she owns would go to her relatives. Once she is married, her husband assumes the position of prominence among her heirs. Once again, only once chupah has happened does he achieve this status.

One of the most serious areas of law that is involved here concerns the laws of yichud. A man is not allowed to be alone in a closed room (or any place where they do not fear being disturbed) with a woman, with very few exceptions. One such exception is his wife, and this topic will lead us directly into the first of the opinions on chupah, that of Rambam.

Why should it matter? In fact, what we consider to be the chupah has tremendous ramifications for various areas of Jewish law. We will use this introduction to note a few of these areas as background, and will then investigate some of the various opinions concerning this practice.

we don’t have the opportunity to see Israel videos like this one (I know i don’t).

Here is one to show is around the world.

One of the most common symbols and associations with being Jewish is the menorah. For religious and non-religious alike, all Jewish individuals have attached a particular spiritual significance to the menorah in celebrating one of the most prominent Jewish holidays, the festival of Lights that is Hanukah. An artistically crafted Menorah from jJudaica.com will enhance your celebration of one of the great Jewish traditions.

Tefillin are black leather boxes, containing scrolls with written passages from the bible document.write(‘
‘); are holy pieces of Judaica that can enhance the holiness and richness of the connection with God. Tefillin traditionally was given to every Jewish male upon his Bar Mitzvah at aged thirteen, but in this day and age people have Bar Mitzvahs at all ages, and do not always receive tefillin. This is the perfect chance to change that and fulfill and help someone complete the Holy Covenant with God with their own personal set of tefillin.

The mezuzah is a holy part of everyday Jewish life. Housing the scrolls on which two of the four passages used in Tefillin are hand printed, the mezuzah adds sanctity to the most holy aspects of daily Jewish life, the home. A mezuzah on every door will sanctify the holiness of every room in your house through the power of the words printed on the scrolls of every mezuzah : Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21.

The Hebrew word Shabbat comes from the Hebrew verb shavat, which literally means “to cease.” Although Shabbat (or its anglicized version, “Sabbath”) is almost universally translated as “rest” or a “period of rest,” a more literal translation would be “ceasing”, with the implication of “ceasing from work.” Thus, Shabbat is the day of ceasing from work; while resting is implied, it is not a necessary denotation of the word itself. For example, the Hebrew word for “strike” (as in work stoppage) is shevita, which comes from the same Hebrew root as Shabbat, and has the same implication, namely that the striking workers actively abstain from work, rather than passively.

Incidentally, this clarifies the often-asked theological question of why God needed to “rest” on the seventh day of Creation according to Genesis. When it is understood that God “ceased” from his labor rather than “rested” from his labour, the usage is more consistent with the Biblical view of an omnipotent God who does not “rest.”

A common linguistic confusion leads many to believe that the word means “seventh day.” Though the root for seven, or sheva, is similar in sound, it is derived from a different root word. Shabbat is the source for the English term Sabbath, and for the word in many languages meaning “Saturday”, such as the Arabic As-Sabt (السبت), the Armenian Shabat (Շաբաթ), the Persian shambe, Spanish and Portuguese Sábado , the Greek Savato, the Russian “subbota” (суббота) and the Italian word Sabato. It is also responsible for the word “sabbatical,” although that concept is also derived from the Jewish concept of the sabbatical year.


Observance of Shabbat is mentioned a number of times in the Torah, most notably as the fourth of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15). Other instances are Exodus 31:12-17 and 35:2-3, Leviticus 19:3 and 30, 23:3 and Numbers 28:9-10 (the sacrifices). It is referred to directly by the prophets Isaiah (56:4,6) and Ezekiel (ch. 20, 22, 23) and Nehemiah 9:14, apart from numerous other allusions in the Jewish Bible.

Jewish law’s definition defines a day as ending at dusk and nightfall, which is when the next day then begins. Thus, Shabbat begins before sundown Friday night and ends at after nightfall Saturday night (traditionally, after three stars can be seen in the sky). The added time between sunset and nightfall on Saturday night owes to the ambiguous status of that part of the day according to Jewish law.

On occasions the word Shabbat can refer to the law of Shemittah (Sabbatical year) or to the Jewish holidays, or to a week of days, dependent on the context.

Shabbat is one of the great and favored traditions of all Jews. Shabbat virtually defines the Jewish identity. Other holidays such as the Holy Holidays represent many different routes for gifts and crafts offered by jJudaica.com. The Jewish holiday is holy, and gifts from those holidays can remind all of the sanctity of the Shabbat, the holy holidays, and any Jewish holiday in general.


What Is Lag Ba’omer?
Lag Ba’Omer is the shorthand way of saying the thirty-third day of the omer. It falls on the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer, as counted from the second day of Passover until the holiday of Shavuot. This corresponds to the 18th day of the month of Iyar (2007: Sunday 6th May).

Lag” is not really a word. In ancient Hebrew, letters were used for numerals (and are still used in gematria), and the number 33 was therefore written with the letters “lamed”, ל, (L, value 30) and “gimel”, ג, (G, value 3), making up “Lag” (33) לג.

Sephardim have the minhag (custom) of calling this holiday Lag La’Omer, which has been claimed to be more accurate according to the rules of Hebrew grammar. Lag La’Omer means the thirty-third day “of the Omer”, as opposed to Ba’Omer – “in the Omer.”

This has been disputed with the argument that in Hebrew, the prefix used when counting is “B'” or “Ba”, as in Tu B’Av, Tisha B’av, etc. The “Ba” prefix in Hebrew can mean “relating to”, as opposed to “la”, which denotes “belonging to”

Yom haShoah Ve’Hagvura or Yom HaShoah (יום השואה yom ha-sho’āh, יום הזיכרון לשואה ולגבורה-Yom ha-zikaron la-Shoah v’la-Gvura), “Holocaust Martyrs’ Remembrance Day” or, literally, “Remembrance day for The Holocaust and Heroism”, takes place on the 27th day of the month Nisan, in the Hebrew calendar, which falls in the early spring. It is held every year in remembrance of the 6,000,000+ Jews who perished in the Holocaust. It is a national memorial day in Israel.

Here in Israel, one can notice that most of Israel national television channels are out, except those that keep the broadcastings according to our memorial day.