In the Torah, shmura matzah — watched or guarded matzah — is one of the primary mitzvot of Passover. “You shall guard the matzot” (Ex. 12:17) is the commandment that guides the production of unleavened bread, protected from harvesting to baking, to ensure that the combination of water and flour do not remain together beyond 18 minutes, when forbidden chametz forms.
Ma nishtana halaylah hazeh mekol halailot? — Why is this night different from all other nights?” This question, asked at virtually every Passover seder the world over, has four traditional answers. However, one could suggest a fifth answer: “On all other nights we are not required to drink more than one cup of wine, but tonight we must drink four cups.”
Jerusalem — For a single day in mid-March, the parking lot at Hebrew Union College, the Reform movement’s Jerusalem campus, was packed with boxes, not cars, as more than a hundred young volunteers participated in the mitzvah of kamcha depascha, providing food for the needy on Passover.
JERUSALEM — Ariel Toaff may have backed off his explosive claim in a just-published book that European Jews killed Christians to use their blood — adding credence to the ancient blood libel canard — but this week Knesset members were smelling blood: Toaff’s.
In a dramatic development Monday, two historians who have read the book spoke to legislators at a Knesset Education Committee meeting organized to determine whether Toaff should be charged with a crime.
For over 20 years, Elizabeth Swados has worked with youngsters of all backgrounds in musicals such as her '70s Broadway hit "Runaways." And she has collaborated with others to compose liturgical music like her '95 album "Bible Women." But one group was noticeably missing.
"I never worked with people who had the same background," she told The Jewish Week in a telephone interview. "I wanted to see what teenage middle-class Jewish girls had to say about sexuality, body image, relationships, and the influence of Jewish tradition."
Daniel Sieradski is a blogger, Jewish social entrepeneur and digital strategist for Jewish non-profits. In January, Sieradski published 31 Days, 31 Ideas, a blog featuring 31 ideas for new Jewish initiatives.
Is the Torah true? Does the God of Exodus really exist? And if the answer is no, is it a theological catastrophe or business as usual?
These existential questions underlie the striking range of newspaper commentaries on the Conservative movement's impressive new Chumash, Etz Chaim, its first new publication of the Torah and Haftorah readings since the 1930s.