The Brit Milah (Bris): What You Need to Know

Posted on August 13th, 2017
BY MJL STAFF


Questions and answers about the circumcision ceremony for Jewish baby boys.


What is a brit milah, and what are the reasons for it?

A brit milah, also known as a bris, is the Jewish ceremony in which a baby boy is circumcised. Circumcision dates back to the Book of Genesis, when God commands Abraham to circumcise himself and his offspring as a sign of the covenant between Jews and God. Throughout history, rabbis and thinkers have offered additional arguments in favor of circumcision, and many modern Jews see it as an important tradition that connects the generations.

When does a brit milah occur?

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Lailah, the Angel of Conception, Left Her Mark On Your Face

Posted on August 5th, 2017
BY TEMIM FRUCHTER for Jewniverse


You might not know it, but you have a philtrum and everyone who looks at you can see it. The philtrum—that groove we all have above our upper lips—may not be a commonly-referenced body part, but in Jewish mystical tradition, it’s quite significant. And it’s said to be the result of a tap from Lailah, the angel of conception, administered the moment a baby is born.

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The Biblical Book Jews Turn to for Healing and Comfort

Posted on July 30th, 2017
BY RABBI PERETZ RODMAN for myjewishlearning.com 


The Book of Psalms (Tehillim)


These 150 poems feature prominently in Jewish liturgy and are among the Bible's most widely read verses.


“The LORD is my shepherd” “Out of the mouths of babes ….” “By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, as we remembered Zion.”

Some of the most widely recognized phrases and sentences from the Bible come to us from the Book of Psalms, referred to in Hebrew as Tehillim. (The above are Psalm 23:1, Psalm 8:2 and Psalm 137:1 as translated in the King James Version.) And it’s no wonder. While the Torah presents itself as the divine word imparted to the people Israel, the 150 poems in the Book of Psalms represent a range of human voices: the sounds of lament and of thanksgiving to God, individuals extolling God’s beneficence or imploring God to bring rescue and redemption.

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Tisha B’Av 2017

Posted on July 23rd, 2017
BY MJL STAFF


Tisha B'Av (the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av) begins at sunset on Monday, July 31, and continues until the evening of August 1.


What is Tisha B’Av?
Tisha B’Av is the major day of communal mourning. First and foremost Tisha B’Av commemorates the destruction of both the first and second temples in Jerusalem (586 B.C.E, and 70 C.E respectively), but many other travesties have occured on the same date.

How is Tisha B’Av observed?
On Tisha B’Av Eicha (the book of Lamentations) is read with a unique nusah, a special melody.

As a sign of mourning it is customary to fast, refrain from bathing, wearing leather shoes, and having sexual relations.

To read more about Tisha B’Av rituals and practices click here.
 

The Three Weeks

Posted on July 16th, 2017
BY MATTHUE ROTH for myjewishlearning.com


The destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem is commemorated with a period of mourning.


The three-week period in summer that begins with the fast of the 17th of Tammuz and climaxes with Tisha B’Av is known simply as “The Three Weeks.” It is a time of grieving for the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. This mourning period was first mentioned in the biblical Book of Zechariah in the Prophets — and, since then, it has been observed as a period of sadness.

The Multiple Tragedies
The 17th day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz is a date in which many tragedies and pitfalls happened, according to the Mishnah (Taanit 4:6). It is traditionally believed to be the date that Moses broke the original Ten Commandments tablets after coming upon the Israelites as they worshiped the Golden Calf. 

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