My DNA Test Shows I Have Jewish Ancestry; Am I Jewish?
With the popularity of DNA testing kits and ancestry websites, I often hear from people wondering if their test results of "X% Ashkenazi Jewish" mean that they are Jewish.
When is Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)?
On the Jewish calendar, Yom HaShoah falls on the 27th of the Hebrew month of Nisan, which means the observance will begin at sundown on 26 Nisan. In 1951, when the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) established the observance, it did not want the day to interfere with Shabbat by coming either...
How Do You Spell Hanukkah?
Because Hanukkah is a Hebrew word, there is no one correct way to translate the spelling of the word into English. So what spelling is best? As you see throughout this site, we use “Hanukkah,” which a non-scientific study revealed conducted in 2012 found to be the second most popular...
What is the Jewish expression to refer to someone who has died?
In Judaism, when someone has died, it is customary to add the expression, “May their memory be for a blessing” after mentioning the deceased by name. In Hebrew, the expression is “zichrona livracha” (feminine), “zichrono livracha” (masculine), or “zichronam livracha” (plural or gender-neutral) and is typically abbreviated as z”l when...
What’s the Difference Between the Secular and Jewish New Year?
While there are significant differences between how we usher in and observe the secular and Jewish New Year, both are times of transition that offer us an opportunity for self-reflection. Here are the key differences.
What is the Jewish symbolism of the pomegranate?
The pomegranate is one of the Seven Species mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as being native to the Land of Israel. The seeds of the pomegranate symbolize the 613 mitzvot (sacred obligations) attributed to the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible), which form the foundation of traditional...
Where can I find the dates of the Jewish holidays for next year?
If you are planning a simchah (joyous occasion) or significant event and want to find the corresponding date on the Jewish calendar, check out our Jewish Holiday Calendar. To learn more about any individual holiday’s significance and customs, simply click on its name. As Shabbat and all Jewish holidays begin...
What Is Elul?
Elul is the Hebrew month preceding Rosh HaShanah, during which one engages in self-reflection and evaluation in preparation for the High Holidays. Traditionally, the shofar is blown each day during the month.
My loved one has died during this time of pandemic. What mourning rituals can we do from home?
“Under our current COVID-19 related restrictions, neither my sister nor I will be able to attend the funeral our father, who died in another state. Instead, we’ll be watching it live-streamed from the funeral home’s website. What are some mourning rituals we might be able to do from our homes?”...
My partner and I had to postpone our wedding due to COVID-19. How can we mark our original date?
Right now, you may be feeling grateful for the health of loved ones, frustrated or resentful of the situation you find yourself in, disappointed to have to postpone your celebration, and/or worried about the resulting consequences of doing so.
What Are Yom Kippur Yizkor Prayers?
Rabbi Dr. Richard Sarason answers, What Are Yom Kippur Yizkor Prayers?