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Closing the Door: A Pandemic Chanukah Gift

December 10, 2020, by

This Chanukah we must learn to celebrate the gift of a closed door. Yeshayahu (26:20) said: “Go my people, come into your chambers and close your door behind you, hide for a moment until the wrath passes.” It is this verse that the Talmud (Bava Kamma 60b) cites in providing its own public health guidance

Why Do We Eat Latkes and Sufganiyot on Chanukah?

December 4, 2018, by

Why do we eat latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly donuts) on Chanukah? The common, short answer is because the holiday of Chanukah largely revolves around the miracle of the oil but, perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s more to it than that. It would appear that the original Chanukah food was a fried cheese pancake, combining the

The Tooth Fairy-Chanukah Connection

December 3, 2018, by

Somehow, this time of year is reminding me of two conversations I had with my oldest when she was much younger. They might not seem to be connected, but I think they are. (I share them here with her permission.) One conversation occurred right around when she lost her first tooth, and it’s brought to

This Chanukah, Go “Screen Free for 30”

November 28, 2018, by

Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, known as the The Kedushas Levi, once walked into his Bait Medresh and saw a few of his students discussing something with a sense of yearning and jealousy. As he approached the group, they quickly quieted down, acting as if they were engrossed in their learning. The Kedushas Levi inquired

What is the Torah Approach to Fire Safety?

November 28, 2018, by

Responding to a question submitted to Jew in the City, Rabbi Jack Abramowitz tackles the issue of balancing the observance of mitzvot (particular ones that involve fire or heating up food) with taking proper safety precautions in our homes. Read the full article on Jew in the City View the FDNY’s guide to fire safety

Presence for Chanuka

December 14, 2017, by

It’s the conversation piece in every classroom: “So, what did you get for Chanuka?” Some families give large gifts, some give small ones, some give one gift for each night of Chanuka, some give one for the Chag. Whatever the case, it seems like it has become the custom for many families to give gifts

The Modern-Day Maccabbees: Relive Entebbe 1976

December 22, 2016, by

2016 represents the 40th anniversary of the Israel Defense Force’s miraculous rescue of over 100 hostages whose Paris bound Air France Airbus was hijacked by cruel terrorists. After their heroic return, Menachem Begin referred to the Israeli commandos who risked their lives flying thousands of miles from home as “Dor Makabim Bi’yameinu” modern day Maccabees.

The Menorah That Defied the Nazis

December 10, 2015, by

If you’ve been active on social media this week, you might have seen this iconic photograph: a menorah stands on a windowsill while across the street Nazi flag hangs. Rare Historical Photographs has the full story. In 1931 the last night of Chanukah fell on a Friday night. In the small German town of Kiel,

Slice of Life: Hanukkah

December 9, 2015, by

Hanukkah has been in the house for the past week and we’re winding down (dare I say overloaded) on all manner of latkes (kale and kumquat anyone) and stuffed sprinkled and calorie laden sufganiyot. I say it’s time to step out of expected zone for the last nights of menorah madness and try a few

A German-Jewish Chanukah in Upper Manhattan

December 7, 2015, by

One of the highlights of Chanukah in Washington Heights is the candlelighting at K’hal Adath Jeshurun (KAJ/”Breuer’s”) and the singing of Maoz Tzur by the KAJ choir between Mincha and Maariv. (Please click here and here to view more.) This event, aside from being inherently inspiring, undoubtedly arouses various thoughts and feelings on the part