Answers to Jewish Questions

Have a question about Judaism? We have the answers!

How many days is Sukkot?

Answered by
Rabbi Mark Washofsky
Sukkot, the Jewish festival of booths (a harvest holiday of thanksgiving), begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei.

Why do we observe Shavuot by studying all night?

Answered by
George Robinson
Since the Rabbinic period, Shavuot has been tied to the story of receiving the Torah. Connected to this, Shavuot has come to be dedicated to the idea of Torah study and Jewish education. One custom is an all-night [or late night] study session held on the first evening of the

Why is caring for the environment emphasized on Tu BiShvat?

Answered by
George Robinson
Tu BiShvat is a minor festival whose provenance dates only to the time of the Second Temple. However, the kabbalists who clustered around the great fifteenth-century mystic Isaac Luria of Safed placed great weight on the holiday, creating new festivities, gatherings at which hymns were sung, fruit (particularly carob) was eaten, and four cups of wine were taken (as in the Passover seder).

What are sufganiyot?

Sufganiyot are donuts, usually jelly-filled, that commemorate the miracle associated with the oil that burned for eight days in the Hanukkah story. Foods cooked in oil are traditionally eaten during Hanukkah. Watch this Bimbam video to learn more:

What is gelt?

Gelt is chocolate coins given to Jewish children on the festival of Hanukkah. They are usually wrapped in gold foil, and their history can be traced back to the decision of the Hasmoneans to mint their own nation’s coins after their military victory over the Greek Syrians. Gelt is often used to gamble with in the game of dreidel.

What is a latke?

A latke is a potato pancake fried in oil, and is a traditional food eaten to celebrate the miracle of the oil in the story of Hanukkah. Foods cooked in oil serve as a symbol of the legend of the jar of oil that lasted for eight days.