Sunday, March 31, 2013

Seven Days To The Sea


The Passover celebration lasts seven days (eight days, outside of Israel. For more information as to why, please click here). The first day (and second, outside of Israel) is a Yom Tov, festival day, on which the seder is celebrated. However, the Torah also explicitly commands “and in the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation to you” (Exodus 12:16).

The Seventh Day of Passover (and eighth, outside of Israel) is the only Jewish festival that is distinctly not distinct. This is most noticeable by the fact that on every other Yom Tov (festival day), the special Sheh’heh’cheh’yanu blessing, which praises God for keeping us alive and allowing us to celebrate the holiday again this year, is recited either when one lights candles or following the recitation of kiddush (the blessing of sanctification over wine/grape juice).

Perhaps the reason that Sheh’heh’cheh’yanu is not recited on the Seventh Day is because it marks the anniversary of the crossing of the Sea of Reeds, an event that was already praised during the seder. After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, he followed God’s directions “that they turn and encamp before Pi-Ha'chirot, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-Zephon: you shall encamp before the sea” (Exodus 14:2). By the time they encamped before the sea, Pharoah had changed his mind about freeing the Israelite slaves and led his army after them. At the moment of greatest peril, Moses stretched his staff over the waters, and God sent a strong east wind to split the sea, enabling the Israelites to cross on dry land. When the Egyptians tried to follow them, the watery walls crashed down upon them and the entire Egyptian army drowned.

Since the entire holiday is a celebration of redemption, the story is not retold again in any grand ceremony on the Seventh Day. But, because of its importance, God gave His people the gift of an extra day of Yom Tov and elevated the day in commemoration of that glorious event. The additional festival day acknowledges that seven days after they left Egypt, the Israelites were once again miraculously redeemed and that the entire Passover holiday is a time of redemption.

Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

Festive Meals

Celebrate the final days of Passover with festive meals.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Song of Songs


"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine. Because of the fragrance of your goodly oils, your name is ‘oil poured forth.’ Therefore, the maidens loved you. Draw me, we will run after you...” (Song of Songs 1:2-4).

And people say the Bible is boring...

Shir Ha'shirim, The Song Of Songs, the Biblical love song attributed to King Solomon, is understood by the rabbis to be a prophetic allegory about the relationship of God and the Jewish people.

The poetic work describes a beautiful maiden who loves, and is loved by, a handsome youth. When he pursues her, however, she sends him away with various excuses, only to realize too late that he was her true love. Devastated at the thought that she has alienated and probably lost him, she wanders through the city streets looking for her lost lover and, in the process, suffers shame and embarrassment. Finally, the lovers are reunited and are joined by their sincere love.

Shir Ha'shirim is one of the five megillot (scrolls of canonical works) from the Ketuvim (Writings) section of the Bible. On the Shabbat of Chol Ha'moed* Passover, it is customary for Shir Ha'shirim to be read in the synagogue.

Shir Ha'shirim was chosen as the Passover reading because the story of the Exodus demonstrates God’s patience with His beloved--the Jewish people, as represented by the maiden. Despite having witnessed the many miracles that God performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, the Jews strayed from their commitment to God. Eventually, God withdrew His favor from the Jews (Hester Panim), and they have since wandered the world trying to make amends for the damage caused to the relationship. The reunion of the lovers is a prophecy for the Messianic era, yet to be fulfilled.

*Passover is an 8 day holiday. The first two days and last two days are Yamim Tovim - days that are observed like Sabbath (except that one may cook on an existing flame, and carry in public areas). In Israel, Passover is only 7 days, and only the 1st and 7th day are Yamim Tovim. The in-between days are known as Chol Ha'moed - weekdays of the festival. If there is no Shabbat Chol Ha'moed, Shir Ha'shirim is read on the 7th day of Passover.

This Treat was last posted on April 12, 2012.

Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

Chol Hamoed


Most holidays in western society last for a single day, which is often extended into the weekend. And while most people are aware that Chanukah is celebrated for 8 days, many people are surprised to learn that both  Passover and Sukkot are also week-long holidays. The Torah explicitly states (in Leviticus 23) that these two holidays shall be observed for seven days. (Note: The holiday[s] following Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, are independent of Sukkot.)

The first two days of Passover and Sukkot (only the first day in Israel) and the last two days of Passover (only the last day in Israel) and the Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah festival that immediately follows Sukkot (observed as one day in Israel, two days elsewhere) are observed as Yamim Tovim, Festival Days. Yamim Tovim are observed in the same manner as Shabbat except that one may cook (using a pre-existing flame) and carry in public areas. The remaining days in between are known as Chol Ha'moed--weekday of the festival.

During Chol Ha'moed, it is customary to continue the holiday spirit and avoid unnecessary work. Many people refrain from mundane chores such as laundry. Some people do not work and avoid shopping except for essentials for the holiday. In synagogue, the Torah is read and Hallel (festive Psalms of praise) and Mussaf (the additional service) are recited.

On Chol Ha'moed of Passover, one maintains the prohibition against eating chametz (leaven), but it is not a requirement to eat matzah. On Sukkot, the requirements to dwell in the sukkah and the mitzvah of the four species continue throughout Chol Ha'moed.

During Chol Ha'moed people offer special greetings to each other by saying either “Gut Moed,” which is Yiddish for “Good Festival,” or “Moadim L’Simcha,” which is “Holidays for Happiness,” or “Chag Sameach,” which is Hebrew for “Happy Holiday.”

This Treat was last posted on April 9, 2012

Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

Matzah Mo'tzee

In honor of Passover Shabbat, make certain to have two whole Matzot for each of your Shabbat meals. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Time of Freedom?

The sages refer to the holiday of Passover as zman chay’roo’tay’noo, the time of our freedom. This may seem obvious, since Passover celebrates the redemption of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. But did you know that on several occasions the Israelites demanded to return to Egypt, back to slavery?

Indeed, when they felt trapped at the Sea of Reeds (Red Sea), the Israelites cried out that it would have been better to have stayed in Egypt. While one might justify their actions by stating that they were certain that they faced imminent death, it is important to remember that these were the very same people who had witnessed the miracles of the ten plagues.

Some commentators explain that what the people truly feared, both at the Sea of Reeds and in the Wilderness, was not death, but freedom! Suddenly they were responsible for their own decisions and their own actions.

So what is the “freedom” that we celebrate on Passover?

In Ethics of The Fathers (6:2), Rabbi Joshua ben Levi says: "... And it says (Exodus 32:16): ‘And the tablets are the work of God, and the writing is God's writing, engraved on the tablets.’ Don't read the text as 'chah’rut' (engraved) but rather as 'chay’root' (liberty)--for there is no free individual, except for one who occupies himself with the study of Torah...”

How can Torah learning be equated to freedom--after all, don’t we speak of the “yoke” of Torah and describe Torah as a “burden”?

One certainly might view the mitzvot as restrictive, unless it is understood that without structure and order in the world, without rules and boundaries, there is anarchy and chaos. Only by living by the guidelines of the universe (the Torah), which God gave the Israelites when He gave them the Torah, can one attain true freedom.

This Treat was last posted on April 2, 2010.

Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

Chag Ha'Matzot


The name of the holiday “Passover,” is an allusion to God’s passing over the Israelite households during the plague of the firstborn, a critical element in the events of the Exodus. The name "Passover," however, may be derived from an English convolution of the Hebrew Pesach, the Torah’s term for the Pascal lamb sacrificed on the holiday.

The Torah refers to Chag Ha’pesach, the Holiday of the Pascal Lamb, only as the actual seder feast. In almost all other cases,* the Torah refers to this springtime holiday as Chag Ha’matzot, the Holiday of the Unleavened Bread: "The feast of unleavened bread shall you keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread" (Exodus 34:18).

In honor of Chag Ha’matzot, Jewish Treats presents a little bit of information on matzah:

To guarantee that matzah is Kosher for Passover, no more than 18 minutes may pass from he moment the water and flour come in contact with each other, until it is removed, fully baked, from the oven. The entire working area (and the workers’ hands) is scrubbed between each 18 minute process.

Special Matzot
Many Jews will only eat shmura matzah (especially during the Seder). Literally "guarded matzah," shmura matzah has been carefully supervised from the time the wheat was cut until it was baked so that it remained perfectly dry until being deliberately mixed with water (lest it become chametz). This practice is based on the verse in Exodus 12:17, "And you shall guard the matzot..."

Egg matzah is "enriched matzah." Since it is more extravagant, it fails to fulfill the requirement of "lechem oh’nee," bread of affliction (poverty). According to Jewish law, egg matzah may only be eaten on Passover by someone who is physically infirm, very young or very old, and has difficulty digesting regular matzah.

Depending on how they are prepared, flavored matzot (such as garlic and onion or grape) may or may not be Kosher for Passover. Please check the box for proper Kosher for Passover supervision.

*It is also referred to as Chag Ha’aviv, the Holiday of the Spring.

This Treat was last posted on April 9, 2012.

Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

Your Freedom

Celebrate freedom by honoring the true freedom God granted us when He gave the Torah to the Jewish people.

Monday, March 25, 2013

You Are Royalty

Passover is known as the festival of freedom. And who is more free than royalty? At the Seder, all Jews are supposed to consider themselves royalty. Some of the ways we demonstrate this are:

LEANING - As a sign of royalty, the Sages taught that one must lean to one’s left while drinking the wine and eating the matzah. In the time of the Mishnah, it was customary for royalty to eat in a lounging position. (Think of pictures of Roman nobles eating.) In many Jewish homes, people cover the pillows upon which they lean, with fancy, decorated pillowcases. In fact, decorating Passover pillowcases is a great way to involve the children in preparations for the holiday.

RED WINE - While wine connoisseurs around the world may argue over white versus red, sweet versus dry, etc., Jewish tradition strongly recommends that the wine at the Seder be red. Why red? In ancient times, wine merchants sometimes watered down the white wines, making it cheaper both in price and quality. Thus, since we Jews live as royalty for this evening, red wine is recommended. Additionally, red wine reminds us of the blood of the Jewish people slaughtered by Pharaoh. (However, if you strongly prefer white wine, by all means, drink it.)

POURING THE WINE - Would a king or queen pour their own wine? Not likely. It is therefore customary at the seder that one does not pour his/her own wine. However, since the wine cups must be refilled, and most of us do not have a wait staff at the seder, it is customary that each person fill the glass of the person next to him/her at the table.

This Treat was last posted on April 5, 2012.

Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

Can You Count To 49?

There is a commandment (Leviticus 23:15) to count the 49 days that immediately follow the first night of Passover and, on the 50th night, to celebrate the holiday of Shavuot. This period of time is called Sefirat Ha'omer, the Counting of the Omer, because the counting begins on the night before the barley offering (omer) was brought to the Temple, which was on the second day of Passover.

The connection between Passover and Shavuot: The departure of the Jews from Egypt was only the beginning of the redemption. The Exodus actually culminated with the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, and is commemorated by the holiday of Shavuot. This connection is clearly marked by Sefirat Ha'omer, the Counting of the Omer.


How to Count the Omer: Each night, starting with the night of the second Seder, a blessing is recited and the new day is counted. The blessing is as follows:


Baruch Ah'tah Ah'doh'nai, Eh'lo'hay'nu Melech Ha'olam, asher kideshanu b'mitzvotav v'tzeevanu al sefirat ha'omer.


Blessed are you Lord, our God, Ruler of the world, Who sanctified us through His commandments and commanded us, regarding the Counting of the Omer.


The blessing is followed by the actual counting of the day. For example: "Today is day one of the Omer"...."Today is eight days, which are one week and one day of the Omer." The formal counting of the day is followed by a prayer for the restoration of the Temple: "May the Compassionate One return to us the service of the Temple to its place, speedily in our days. Amen, Selah!"


If a person misses the counting of a complete day, counting may be resumed on subsequent nights, however, the blessing is no longer recited.


This year, the Counting of the Omer begins on Tuesday night, March 26.

This Treat was last posted on Friday, April 6, 2012.


Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

Dress The Part

Feel like royalty tonight by dressing in your finest for the Seder. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fast of the Firstborns

There has always been a lot of pressure on firstborn children, as they were often expected to care for the family property or business in order to ensure stability within the community. Even in modern society, the firstborn usually receives the most attention and the most responsibility.

For all those reasons (and more, we're sure), the final plague, the Death of the Firstborns, was the most devastating (even though people had died in, or as a result of, the other plagues). The Death of the Firstborns was also the first plague during which the Israelites needed to take an active role in order not to be affected (marking their doorposts with blood).

While Passover is a commemoration of the story of the Exodus, there is also a special Fast of the Firstborn, which is observed on the 14th of Nisan, the day before the first seder.* It is observed only by the firstborn. This includes minors--except that, halachically, minors (under the age of bar/bat mitzvah) are not supposed to fast. Therefore, it has become the accepted practice that the firstborn’s father fasts instead.

It is interesting to note that the Midrash (Exodus Rabbah 18:3) infers that Egyptian women/girls also died during the Death of the Firstborns, and therefore there are different opinions as to whether firstborn women/girls should fast as well (one should follow the custom of the community).

The Fast of the Firstborns begins at sunrise and ends at nightfall (with the start of the seder). It is customary, however, for those obligated to fast to attend a seudat mitzvah (the feast of a mitzvah) such as a brit milah (circumcision) or, most often, a siyyum (celebration of the completion of studying a section of Torah or Talmud), which cancels the fast.

*unless it coincides with Shabbat

This Treat was last posted on April 5, 2012.

Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

Setting the Seder Table

Before beginning the Seder, it is important to make certain that everything necessary is available. No Seder table is complete without the following:

1) Three Unbroken Matzot (Kosher for Passover) -- One should try to use shmura (specially supervised) matzah for the Seders.

2) Wine/Grape Juice (Kosher for Passover) and Wine Glasses -- All participants should be given a glass or cup (minimum size of 3.3 ounces) from which to drink the required four cups of Wine/Grape Juice.

3) The Seder Plate -- It is traditional to place the following items on a special Seder plate:

--Bay'tza / Roasted (hardboiled) Egg, symbolic of the cycle of life because of its round shape and representative of the Jewish character - the more you boil them, the harder they get. The egg also represents the missing chagiga sacrifice that was offered on Passover, Sukkot and Shavuot.

--Z'roa / Shank Bone (of a lamb or the bone of another kosher animal or fowl), representing the Passover lamb offering that we cannot bring today because of the absence of the Temple.

--Maror / Bitter Herbs, reminding participants of the bitterness and pain of slavery.

--Karpas / Vegetable (usually a piece of celery, parsley or potato), which is dipped in salt water as part of the Seder ritual.

--Charoset, a tasty mixture of chopped walnuts, wine, cinnamon and apples, representing the mortar the Jewish slaves used to build Pharaoh's cities (recipes may vary by community).

--Chazeret / Bitter Vegetable (like romaine lettuce or celery), which is sometimes placed on the Seder Plate to remind us of the bitter lives of the Israelites as slaves.

4) Salt Water -- The karpas (vegetable) is dipped in salt water as a reminder of the tears of the Jewish slaves. Usually, the salt water is not placed on the Seder Plate, but near it.

5) Elijah's Cup -- This cup, filled with wine, is used to invite Elijah the Prophet, the harbinger of the Messianic age, to come to the Seder, and hopefully, begin our final redemption.
*This Treat was published on April 6, 2012.
Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

Firstborn Finding


If you are a firstborn, try to find a siyyum (celebration of the completion of studying a section of Torah or Talmud) or a seudat mitzvah (the feast of a mitzvah) for tomorrow morning. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Great Shabbat


The Shabbat immediately preceding Passover is known as Shabbat HaGadol, the Great Shabbat. It is best known for being the Shabbat on which the rabbi of the community (or another leading scholar) gives a detailed sermon that is often a review of the laws of Passover. While it has been suggested that these sermons are the source of the title "HaGadol" (gadol means both great and large), there is an actual historical significance to this Shabbat.

In the year that the Israelites were redeemed from slavery, God commanded the Jewish people that on the 10th of Nisan, each Israelite household (or combination of households) must take a lamb to use for a sacrifice (Exodus 12:3). Choosing a lamb for a sacrifice might not seem like a big deal, but the Egyptians viewed sheep as holy animals. (Having lived among the Egyptians for so long, many Israelites had assumed the false belief that sheep have special spiritual significance.) By taking the sheep and preparing it for slaughter, the people displayed defiance of their Egyptian masters and rejected any religious significance for the sheep itself.

Shabbat HaGadol is marked in synagogue by the reading of a special haftarah from the book of Malachi (3:3-24). Some people connect the concluding line of this reading to the term Shabbat HaGadol: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great (hagadol) and awesome day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers..." (3:23-24).

Passover is the holiday on which Jews celebrate redemption, and Elijah the prophet will be the harbinger of the final redemption, the coming of the Messiah. The ultimate redemption cannot come, however, until the Jewish people do teshuva (repent). Some scholars, such as the Chatam Sofer, have commented that this is the true meaning of Shabbat HaGadol - that when the Israelites began their preparations for the exodus by taking a lamb into their house, they were doing teshuva for having followed the ways of their Egyptian neighbors.

Paschal Lamb - A Unique Commandment

While most Jews have attended a Passover seder, no Jew in the last 1,900 plus years has tasted a Paschal lamb ("Korban Pesach"), the animal offering associated with Passover that shares the holiday's name. The Paschal sacrifice was offered on the day before Passover and was eaten that evening at the seder - but only when the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem. And while no Jew today can offer and eat the Paschal lamb, it is interesting to note that in Temple times, a Jew who deliberately avoided partaking of the lamb was viewed as having denied an essential connection to the heart of Judaism.

One of the most unique aspects of the Paschal sacrifice is the prohibition against breaking any bones of the animal during its roasting or eating.

The anonymous author of Sefer Ha'chinuch suggests that the reason for this negative commandment is a lesson on the effects of manners. A person is supposed to eat food with dignity. As breaking and eating bones is the way a dog eats, humans are reminded to rise significantly above that level.

On a deeper level, however, Sefer Ha'chinuch stresses how all actions contribute to a person's character. One who regularly does good deeds will become a good person; conversely, one who allows himself to participate in dishonest actions, will eventually be overtaken by dishonesty. It may begin with how we eat, but it translates into how we live. Our actions, even the breaking of bones, mold us and define us. 

This Treat was last posted on April 4, 2012. 

Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

Review Time


If you cannot hear a Shabbat HaGadol sermon, choose some Shabbat reading material about Passover.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Searching For Chametz

On Passover, Jews are commanded to get rid of all "chametz" (leaven) which may be in their possession. Weeks are spent cleaning and scrubbing. To confirm the effectiveness of these efforts, a special search for chametz, called Bedikat Chametz, is conducted on the night before the seder. (*When the first Seder is Saturday night, Bedikat Chametz is performed on the previous Thursday night.)

Bedikat Chametz begins shortly after nightfall. When one is ready to begin the search, a blessing is recited (see below), after which no talking is permitted with the exception of conversation pertaining to the search itself. The search is conducted by the light of a candle, in order to enable a thorough inspection of all the nooks and crannies (if the candle might cause danger, for instance when searching near draperies, one may use a flashlight). Among Ashkenazi Jews, it is also customary to use a feather to "sweep" any chametz crumbs into a paper bag.

Sometimes getting into the right  frame of mind for the search may be difficult, especially if the house has already been thoroughly cleaned for Passover. There is a custom, therefore, to carefully "hide" ten pieces of chametz (for instance 10 pieces of pretzel) in the rooms which will be searched. The search will thus be more diligent, and will not conclude until all the rooms have been checked and the 10 pieces found.

All chametz that is found should be placed safely in a bag for disposal the next morning. One may, however, put aside chametz to eat for breakfast (and Shabbat meals when applicable), making sure to clean up any leftovers and to add them to the chametz bag afterwards.

When the search is over, one makes a general declaration stating that any unknown chametz is hereby declared ownerless. The chametz in the bag is set aside to be burned the following morning.

Please note that there are many situations, for example, someone who is renting a room in a house that is not being cleaned for Passover, where it would be best to consult with a rabbi to determine how to proceed. 


The Prayers of “Bedikat Chametz

Blessing before the search:
Ba’ruch ah’tah Ah’do’nai, Eh’lo’hay’nu melech ha’o’lam, ah’sher kidishanu b’mitz’vo’tav v’tzee’vanu ahl Bee'oor chametz.

Blessed are you Lord, our God, Ruler of the world, Who sanctifies us through His commandments and commanded us concerning the removal of chametz

Annulment of Ownership of Unknown Chametz:
Kol chameera va’chamee'ah, d’eeka veer’shootee, d’lah cha’zee’tay, ood’la vee’ar’tay, ood’lah y’dah’nah lay. lee’bah’tayl v’leh’heh’vay hef’ker k’aphra d’arah.

"Any chametz or leaven that is in my possession which I have not seen, have not removed and do not know about, should be annulled and become ownerless, like the dust of the earth."

Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

Kitniyot and Gerbrouchts...Oh You Ashkenazim

Ashkenazi or Sephardi? Hungarian, Yekke (German), Lithuanian?

At no other time on the Jewish calendar is it so important to know your ancestry as it is on Passover. What one does or does not eat on Passover (beyond obvious chametz) is strongly dictated by ancestral customs.* Here’s how it matters:

Kitniyot (Legumes) - During the holiday of Passover, Ashkenazim follow a rabbinic decree not to eat foods containing kitniyot, such as rice, corn, soy beans, string beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, mustard, sesame seeds and poppy seeds. This rule was established because these products are often stored together with chametz grains, making it difficult to ensure that there is no chametz mixed with the products. Also, when kitniyot are ground into flour, the untrained eye could mistakenly think that this it is real flour, giving the impression that such flour is permitted on Passover. The decree only prohibits the eating of products containing kitniyot. They do not need to be sold with the chametz.

The Rabbinic injunction of not eating kitniyot was not accepted in most Sephardi communities. However, while Sephardim may eat rice, beans, etc., the food must be thoroughly checked to make certain that it is not mixed with chametz.

Gebrouchts (Wet Matzah) - Another custom followed by Ashkenazi Jews from certain regions is not eating gebrouchtsGebrouchts, which are foods prepared with matzah or matzah meal and mixed in liquid, are avoided out of a concern that additional fermentation may occur when the matzah and liquid are combined. Those who are stringent not to eat gebrouchts will therefore not eat matzah balls, matzah brie, matzah lasagna, etc.

This custom was broadly accepted in many Chassidic communities (Hungary, Galicia, Romania). In those communities where mitnagdim(non-Chassidic) were dominant (Lithuania, Germany), it was almost considered a mitzvah to eat gebrouchts food in order to make the point that it was permissible.

*Traditionally, one follows the customs of the paternal line. For example, if a Russian woman marries a German man, she follows his “Yekke” customs, as do the children. Those who cannot trace back their lineage to know their family customs should follow the customs of the community in which they live and/or consult their rabbi.

This Treat was last posted on April 11, 2012.

Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dipping Plagues

On the night of the seder, and whenever one recounts the story of the Exodus, the recitation of the 10 plagues presents a particularly dramatic moment. It is interesting to note that the 10 plagues are so essential a part of Jewish history that the sages did not feel it was necessary to explain them in any more detail than to list them. 

Blood - Frogs - Lice - Wild Beasts - Pestilence - Boils - Hail - Locusts - Darkness - Plague of the First Born

During the seder, there is an almost universal custom to “spill” a small drop of wine as each plague is recited. (How the wine is removed varies from family to family: some pour the wine out directly from the cup, while some dip a finger in the wine and remove a drop). Why do we do this?

The Midrash tells us that as the Egyptians were meeting their horrible end in the churning waters of the Sea of Reeds (Red Sea), the angels wished to sing out praise to the A-lmighty. God rebuked them and said “My creations are drowning in the sea, and you wish to sing praises?!” (Talmud Megillah 10b). The custom of spilling the wine, explained the Abrabanel (a famous medieval Spanish commentator), is because wine is a sign of rejoicing. But one should not rejoice when an enemy falls, because they too are creations of God.

This custom of spilling is also performed when the statement “Blood, Fire and A Column of Smoke” is read, that precedes the 10 plagues and also when reciting “D’tzach, Adash, B’achav,” Rabbi Judah’s mneumonic for remembering the plagues in order.

(After spilling, the glass should be refilled before it is used for the second cup.)

Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

A Holiday for Kids

Why is this night different from all other nights?

Ask the kids! Or better yet, let the kids ask you.

It might surprise you to know that Passover, more than any other Jewish holiday, is focused on the children. The retelling of the story of the Exodus from Egypt to the next generation is actually a Biblical commandment. “And you shall tell it to your child on that day saying: ‘This is done because of that which God did for me when I went out of Egypt’” (Exodus 13:8).

The essence of the commandment to retell the story of the Exodus is fulfilled by educating the children. The method for doing so is set out in the Talmud and is built into the framework of the Haggadah itself. (Thus the Four Questions about eating matzah and bitter herbs, dipping vegetables and reclining, as well as other special Passover seder rituals, are included in order to inspire the children’s curiosity.)

One of the best known and most interesting sections of the Haggadah is the section concerning the Four Children: the wise child, the wicked child, the simple child and the child who does not even know how to ask. This section helps us understand that at the seder, we must all view what is going on as if through children’s eyes: with awe, wonder and, most importantly, with questions. The Haggadah thus provides four questions, the Mah Nishtanah, with which to begin!


This Treat was last posted on April 3, 2012.
Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

Be A Mentsch

When you see something unfortunate happen to someone with whom you are on "bad" terms, avoid the temptation to gloat.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Seek The Answers

The Four Questions (Mah Nishtana - What makes it different?) is one of the most famous features of the Passover Seder. In Ashkenazi homes, these four lines are recited by the youngest person present, or, quite often, by all the children at the seder.

Before you start scanning your haggadah to discover four answers, wait. The haggadah doesn’t answer any of these questions directly! So why ask them?

The haggadah mimics the style of the Talmud, which is full of rhetorical questions and answers that appear not to match the questions asked. Students of the Talmud, however, learn to understand these type of strange dynamics.

The immediate answer presented in the haggadah is a paragraph known as Avad’im Ha’yee’nu, “We Were Slaves...”:

We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord our God took us out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Had God not taken our ancestors out of Egypt, then we, our children and our grandchildren would still be enslaved to Pharaoh in Egypt. Even if we all were wise and perceptive, experienced and well-versed in Torah, it would still be our duty to tell about the exodus from Egypt. The more one talks about the exodus, the more praise one deserves.

The Four Questions are left unanswered because they are meant to encourage children (and adults) to listen for the answers. In a way, the answers are there. We eat matzah because this was the bread of affliction of our ancestors in Egypt. We eat maror, bitter herbs, to remember the pain of slavery. We dip our vegetables (first the karpasand then the maror) and we recline as we eat (except the maror), because these are the ways of free people. And the answer to all of the questions of the seder truly is...we were slaves and now we are free, all, thanks to God.


This Treat was posted on April 14, 2011.
Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

Development of the Haggadah

On Passover night we are commanded "v'hee'ga'd'ta" and you shall tell, the story of the Exodus. (Notice the shared root of hee'ga'd'ta and Haggadah.) The Passover Haggadah serves as a step-by-step guidebook for telling the story of Passover.

Before the destruction of the Holy Temple, most Jews traveled to Jerusalem to offer the Pascal lamb. Because the entire lamb had to be eaten before midnight, it was the common practice for several families to purchase a lamb and partake of the festive meal together while retelling the Exodus story, discussing the Midrashim (legendary commentary on the Torah) describing the Exodus, and reciting the ten plagues. These early seders also incorporated the other basic mitzvot of the seder: eating matzah and maror (bitter herbs) and drinking four cups of wine.

After the Second Temple was destroyed (70 C.E.) and the Jews dispersed, the oral law was written down (Mishna and Talmud) in order not to be lost to future generations. Among that which was written down was the basic outline of the Passover Haggadah, including the order of questions and discussion (Mah Nishtana - the Four Questions).

The oldest existing Haggadah that we have today is from 8th or 9th century Palestine. While there have been modifications and additions over time (as people have added prayers of devotion and songs of praise), the basic form of the Haggadah has not changed. With the advent of the printing press in the Middle Ages, the Haggadah text was set, based on the prayer book of Rav Amram Gaon, who headed the Babylonian Yeshiva of Sura between 856-876 C.E. While certain parts of the Haggadah, such as Chad Gad'ya ("One Kid"), were not added until much later, the basic text of the Haggadah has remained the same to this day.

This Treat was last posted on March 30, 2012.

Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All Rights Reserved

Write Up

Write down your own questions to ask at the seder.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Who Knows One?

How does one transmit basic theology in a fun manner to tired seder guests? The answer is--with song. Many see this as one of the purposes of the Nirtzah, the final section of the Haggadah. With the exception of “One Kid” (Chad Gad’ya), perhaps the best known song of Nirtzah is “Who Knows One?” (Echad Mee Yo’day’ah?)

The song begins with the question, “Who knows one?” and the response, “I know one, one is our God of the heavens and the earth.” This is followed by “Who knows two? Two are the tablets of the law, and one is our God of the heavens and the earth.” The song continues until verse thirteen, and with each additional number, the preceding responses are repeated. The final complete stanza is as follows:

Who knows thirteen?
I know thirteen. Thirteen are the attributes of God’s mercy. Twelve are the Tribes of Israel, Eleven are the stars in Joseph’s dream. Ten are the holy Commandments. Nine are the months until a baby is born. Eight are the days until the brit milah (circumcision). Seven are the days of the week. Six are the tracts of the Mishnah. Five are the books of the Torah. Four are the mothers (matriarchs), and three are the fathers (patriarchs), and two are the tablets of the law. And one is our God of the heaven and the earth.

Although “Who Knows One” presents some basic Jewish facts (the holy books, the matriarchs and the patriarchs, etc.), its recurring verse, “One is our God of the heavens and the earth,” is a poetic rendition of Judaism’s most fundamental prayer: Sh'ma Yis'ra'el A'doh'nai Eh'lo'hay'nu A'doh'nai Echad. “Hear O Israel, the Lord is Our God, the Lord is One" Deuteronomy 6:4).


Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

One Goat...and a Host of Other Things

Most American children know the play song, There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. It’s a fun song that has a building pattern that helps develop children’s memory skills. There was an Old Lady was written by Alan Mills and Rose Bonne around 1950. While there is almost no biographical information on Rose Bonne, Alan Mills (born Alan Miller) was a well-known Jewish Canadian folksinger, writer, and actor.

Knowing that one of the composers of this song was Jewish strengthens the case for the connection many note to the classic seder song, Chad Gad'ya (One Little Goat). The structure of both songs moves from a small or powerless creature to a larger or more powerful creature/being. Just as the final verse of There was an Old Lady, is a cumulation of all of the other verses, Jewish Treats presents only the final verse of Chad Gad'ya:

“One little goat. One little goat. That father bought for two zuzim. One little goat. One little goat.

And came The Holy One Blessed be He, and killed the angel of death, that killed the slaughterer, that killed the ox, that drank the water, that doused the fire, that hit the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, that father bought for two zuzim. One little goat. One little goat.”

The first known inclusion of Chad Gad'ya in the actual Haggadah can be traced back to 1590, in Prague.

Upon a close reading of the text, one might actually call it macabre. If nothing else, it is heavily laden with symbolism. One common understanding is that the little goat represents the Children of Israel, the father is God (who bought the little goat for two coins - two tablets of law) and the rest of the animals represent Israel’s historic enemies:

Cat - Assyria 
Dog - Babylon 
Stick - Persia 
Fire - Macedonia
Water - Rome 
Ox - Saracens 
Slaughterer - Crusaders 
Angel of Death - Ottomans

This Treat was last posted on April 4, 2012.

Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

Practice


Start practicing the songs of the Seder. You can start with this Hebrew version of Who Knows One or this English version of Chad Gadya.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Four Cups of Wine

Like almost all festival meals, the Passover seder begins with Kiddush, the sanctification of the day. On Passover, however, the first cup of wine is followed by three more mandatory cups. The requirement of four cups of wine at the seder is derived from the four stages through which God promised to redeem the Jews from the Egyptian slavery (Exodus 6:6-7): “Therefore say to the Children of Israel: ‘I am God and 1) I will take you out (v’ho’tzay’tee) from beneath the burdens of Egypt, and 2) I will save you (v’hee’tzal’tee) from their servitude, and 3) I will redeem you (v’ga’ahl’tee) with an outstretched arm and great judgments, and 4) I will take you (v’la’kach’tee) for Me for a people...’”

While the four cups of wine remind us of the four phrases of redemption, each of the four cups has an independent function at the seder:

The First Cup is designated for Kiddush.

The Second Cup is consumed after the section of the Hagaddah known as Maggid, in which we tell the story of the Exodus, as a way of praising God. The blessing on wine is made a second time, because significant time has passed since the first cup was blessed.

The Third Cup is blessed after Birkat Hamazon, the Grace After Meals. It is customary that after reciting Birkat Hamazon as a group, a blessing is recited over a single cup of wine or grape juice, and consumed by the person who leads the prayer. At the seder, however, all present bless and drink their own cup of wine.

The Fourth Cup is consumed at the conclusion of Hallel, the section of Psalms praising God.

This Treat was last posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2011.

Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

Buy Wine

Stop by your local kosher wine retailer and, this Shabbat, try out a new wine for the upcoming seder. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Exodus of the Syrian Jews


In 1948, Jews around the world celebrated the creation of the newly established State of Israel. After millennia of exile and centuries of struggle, the Promised Land would once again be a safe haven for them, except that not all countries wanted to let their Jews go. Just like Pharaoh of old, these governments hated their Jews, but refused to allow them to leave.

For centuries, Jews have lived in the area now known as Syria. And while there had been periods of persecution, things became particularly difficult after 1948. The Jews were not only second class citizens, they were also often victims of violent attacks. Like their counterparts in the Soviet Union, Jews who were caught trying to escape to Israel were frequently jailed and tortured, while some even received the death penalty.

Until the 1990s, Jews were restricted from what many of us perceive to be basic citizen rights, such as buying and selling property, obtaining a driver’s licence and working for the government. Additionally, Jewish travel was severely restricted, and Jews traveling abroad often had to leave monetary deposits and “hostage” relatives to insure their return. Some of these harsh measures were lifted in the 1990s as part of a treaty with the United States.  Ironically, as was often the case in medieval Europe, at the same time that the Jews were restricted in their actions and movements, the government often protected its Jews from common violence.

Still, the Jews of Syria longed for freedom. Against all odds, thousands managed to flee. Many resettled in America, while others made their way to Israel. The population that had counted itself in the tens of thousands in 1948, is estimated today to number less than a few dozens. The journeys of Syrian Jews from persecution to freedom are each individually inspiring, as are the tales of those who worked fervently behind the scenes to enable their escape.  

Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

History Yours

Ask your older relatives what they know about your family's history and talk about it as part of your Passover seder.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Very Serious Woman

They called her “Battling Bella,” and Bella Savitsky Abzug (1920-1998) lived up to that nickname. Born in New York City to Russian Jewish immigrants, Bella earned an undergraduate degree at Hunter College and a law degree from Columbia University. After passing the New York bar in 1947, Abzug was hired as a labor lawyer, one of the few women practicing law in the United States at the time. As a lawyer, she not only fought for labor rights, but also handled civil rights cases. In order to be taken seriously, Abzug began wearing what became her signature large hats so that she would not be mistaken for a secretary. 

Abzug first ran for office when she was 50 years old. In 1970, she won a seat in the House of Representatives, representing the West Side of Manhattan, and was re-elected three times before attempting to win a place in the Senate. Although her Senate campaign was unsuccessful, as was her 1977 mayoral campaign against Ed Koch, Abzug continued her high-energy activities in her many political involvements. She was co-chair of President Carter’s National Advisory Committee on Women and Chair of the National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year. Abzug also helped create several prominent organizations such as WomenUSA and Women’s Environment and Development Organization.

In addition to being an advocate for women’s rights, Abzug was also an outspoken Zionist. Her ardor for Zionism began with her membership in the Zionist youth group Hashomer Hatzair. In 1975, Abzug led the fight to rescind the United Nations resolution declaring Zionism a form of racism. (It was not revoked until 1991.)

In 1986, Abzug lost her husband Martin, whom she had met on a bus heading to a concert in Miami shortly after she graduated Hunter. Their two daughters mourned Abzug’s passing on March 31, 1998. 

This Treat was written in honor of Women’s History Month. 

Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved.

Matzah Help

Find a local organization that helps needy families purchase Passover Supplies.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Passover Story In Brief

On Passover, we commemorate the Exodus from Egyptian slavery. The following is a brief summary:

Jacob's family came to Egypt to escape a famine in Canaan. Joseph, Jacob's son and the Viceroy to Pharaoh, settled his family in the land of Goshen, apart from the Egyptians.

Joseph's contribution to Egyptian society was forgotten after his death, and the new Pharaoh, feeling threatened by the success of the Israelites, enslaved them with cruel and bitter labor.

Alerted to a prophecy that the Israelites would be led to freedom by a boy yet to be born, Pharaoh ordered all newborn Jewish boys cast into the Nile. Yocheved set her newborn son (Moses) adrift in the Nile in a basket, where he was found by Pharaoh's daughter, who adopted him.

Years later, Moses came upon an Egyptian beating an Israelite. Outraged, Moses slew the Egyptian and then fled Egypt fearing that his action had been discovered. He took refuge in Midian with Jethro and married Jethro's daughter, Tziporah. While shepherding Jethro's sheep, Moses came upon a burning bush that was not being consumed by the fire and from which he heard God's voice instructing him to go back and lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

Moses, joined by his older brother Aaron, went to Pharaoh and demanded the release of the Israelites. Pharaoh repeatedly said no--nine times. Each time he said no, another plague (blood, frogs, lice, wild animals, pestilence, boils, hail, locusts and darkness) struck Egypt. Finally, God struck all the Egyptian first born dead. After this tenth and final plague, Pharaoh finally said "yes" and the Jews left Egypt, matzah in hand.

Pharaoh changed his mind and chased the Israelites, who were eventually trapped between the Egyptian army and the Sea of Reeds. But the Sea miraculously split and they crossed safely while the Egyptians drowned in the returning waters. Only Pharaoh survived.

The Israelites then continued their journey to Mount Sinai, where they received the Torah.

*This Treat was published on April 2, 2012.

Creative Outlet

With less than 2 weeks until the first seder (Monday night, March 25), start thinking of creative ways to present the Passover story at your seder. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Reb Yaakov

In traditional circles, leading rabbinic personalities are often referred to as gedolim, which can best be translated as “great ones.” Those who acquire this title are usually renowned not only for their scholarship and their ability to render Jewish legal decisions, but often for their piety and angelic character traits as well.

Due to historical circumstances, a not insignificant number of these gedolim resided in the United States in the mid-twentieth century. Among these individuals, Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky stood out as a person of outstanding personal character. There are hundreds of stories of how “Reb Yaakov,” as he was called, went out of his way to not only respect other people’s time and needs, but to make certain that they always felt respected. Stories range from instances when an elderly Reb Yaakov played ball with a young boy in a doctor’s waiting room, to how a nun visited Reb Yaakov’s children while they were sitting shiva for their father because, on his daily walks, he always made certain to greet her pleasantly.

Reb Yaakov was born and raised in Lithuania. He attended several well-known yeshivot, spending the majority of his student years at the renowned Slabodka yeshiva. His first rabbinic position, which he held for eleven years, was in the town of Zitavian, Lithuania. In 1937, Reb Yaakov emigrated to the United States due to the challenges of life under Communist rule. He went first to Seattle, Washington, and later accepted a rabbinic position in Toronto, Canada.

The position from which Reb Yaakov had the greatest influence on American Jewish life was when he served as the head of Mesivta Torah VaDaas, one of the few yeshiva high schools in America at the time, and later the Yeshiva Gedolah. He succeeded the legendary Rabbi Shrage Feivel Mendlowitz and remained in that position for 20 years. In 1968, Reb Yaakov retired to Monsey, NY, where he continued to teach Talmud, counsel petitioners, and write for Jewish publications until his death is 1986. His name is often grouped together with Rabbi Moshe Feinstein and Rabbi Aharon Kotler as the triumvirate of  “great ones” of that generation.


Character Building

For the rest of the day, be particularly conscientious of the feelings of other people.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Parasha of the Month

This Shabbat is Shabbat Parashat HaChodesh, the Sabbath of “The Month.”

The Torah portion that is read as the Maftir (additional reading) after the conclusion of the reading of the regular weekly Torah portion, commands that the Jewish people declare Nissan to be the first month of the lunar calendar and instructs the Children of Israel to prepare for the Exodus (Exodus12:1-20). Parashat HaChodesh is always read on the Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh Nissan, or on Rosh Chodesh itself.

The reading begins, “And God spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying: This month shall be for you the beginning of the months, it shall be for you the first of the months of the year” (Exodus12:2).

When God first commanded that the Israelites mark the new month, they were still in slavery. As slaves, time was something over which they had no control. This command, however, was God’s way of gradually empowering the people to take hold of their own fate.

The command also promises a future. At this point in time, nine out of the ten plagues had already struck Egypt. The land was decimated, almost all the livestock had perished, and the Egyptian people themselves were scared and desperate. The Israelites, who had remained unharmed by the plagues, became increasingly concerned about the pent-up anger of the Egyptians. (Not to mention that Pharaoh was still refusing to let the Israelites leave.) Beginning a calendar process, however, underscored that they would have a future.

Having been reassured and empowered, the Israelites were able to obey Moses’ instructions to take a lamb on the 10th of the month of Nissan and mark their doorposts with the lamb’s blood on the eve of the 15th, when God would strike the Egyptian firstborn and the Children of Israel would finally leave Egypt.

This Treat was originally treated on March 19, 2009.

Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

Upcoming Celebration


Rosh Chodesh Nissan will be celebrated on Monday night/Tuesday March 11/12. Prepare ahead to do something special to mark the day. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sisterhood Power

Carrie Obendofer (1872-1961) knew the power, joy and motivation of organized women. Her mother founded and led the Cincinnati branch of the National Conference of Jewish Women (NCJW). It is not surprising that Carrie Obendorfer Simon (she married Hebrew Union College graduate Rabbi Abram Simon in 1896) found herself at the helm of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods (NFTS).

As a rabbi’s wife, Carrie Simon was heavily involved in synagogue life, first in Sacramento, California, then in Omaha, Nebraska, and finally at the Washington (D.C.) Hebrew Congregation. In each city, Simon found the NCJW caught in the crosshairs between the conflicting views of its Orthodox and Reform members (the Conservative movement was still in its formative years). She therefore chose to focus on organizing women at the congregational rather than at the national level. For instance, she established the Ladies Auxiliary Society of Washington Hebrew Congregation.

Above all else, Simon felt strongly that congregational women’s organizations should strengthen the religious life of the congregants. In 1913, seeing the need for a unifying organization, Simon was instrumental in launching the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods under the auspices of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. Simon’s goals are best summarized in her own words from the second biennial session: “How easy it is for the mere platitudes of humanitarianism to replace the austere dignity of Jewish obligation and sacrifice. Too well do we know how philanthropic secular and social service appeals may serve as substitutes for religious sanctions.”*

Simon stepped down from the presidency of the NFTS in 1919 due to the over-whelming demand on her daily life as rabbi’s wife and the mother of two sons. She remained an active participant in the NFTS and dedicated herself to other societal work, such as Jewish Braille Institute of America.  Carrie Obendorfer Simon passed away on March 3, 1961.

This Treat was written in honor of Women’s History Month. Coincidentally, today, 25 Adar, was the Hebrew birthdate of Carrie Obendorfer Simon.

*Source: The Rabbi’s Wife: The Rebbitzen in American Jewish Life. Shuly Schwartz. NYU Press academic (January 1, 2006). Page 30.

Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

Something For Her


Tomorrow, March 8, is International Women's Day. Share some of our Jewish Treats about women in Judaism.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Oh My Gosh! Passover Is Coming!

The intensive physical and emotional preparations for Passover come from one seemingly simple commandment: "Seven days you will eat only matzah, but on the first day you shall have put away chametz from your houses..." (Exodus 12:15). Therefore, by the beginning of the holiday of Passover, no chametz whatsoever may be in one's possession.

What is chametz? Chametz is defined as leaven, any product in which wheat, oat, barley, spelt or rye come in contact with water for 18 minutes or longer (without kneading or manipulating). To be considered chametz, the food must be edible (defined as something that a dog would eat).

To eliminate chametz, it is necessary to clean one's home, office and even one's car (any personal place where chametz may have been brought). It is especially important to be particularly thorough when cleaning the kitchen and dining room areas, where food is generally found.

Once the house has been cleaned, it may be "turned over "--the kitchen converted from chametz status to "ready-for-Passover" use. "Turning over the kitchen" includes changing dishes and cookware to those reserved for Passover use and covering counters and table tops, which come in direct contact with chametz.

All food items that are actually chametz must be consumed before Passover, given away, thrown out or otherwise removed. In instances of significant monetary loss (e.g. economy size boxes of cereal or bottles of scotch), it is customary to sell chametz through a rabbi to a non-Jew. For more details, please consult your local rabbi.

Any item that does not contain chametz, but is not specifically labeled Kosher for Passover, should be stored in a cabinet for the duration of the Passover holiday, and the cabinet taped closed.

Please note that this is a very brief overview. For more detailed information on Passover preparations, including the search for and burning of chametz, please visit NJOP's Passover Preparations page.

*This Treat was published on March 26, 2012.

Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

Eat It Up

Consolidate your chametz and start using it up before Passover. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hadassah: The Women's Zionist Organization of America

In the year 1912, there was no state of Israel, women had not yet earned the right to vote in the U.S., and Henrietta Szold (Baltimore 1860 - Jerusalem 1945) was inspiring Jewish women everywhere. The Daughters of Zion, the organization she started in 1912, was founded to provide medical care to people in what was then Palestine (Israel). Two years later, the organization was renamed Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, after the heroine of Purim. (Esther's Hebrew name was Hadassah.)

Hadassah is not unique in its origin as a Zionist organization. What is extraordinary about Hadassah is that it developed into the largest women's service organization in the United States. By the 1990s, well over 300,000 Jewish women were registered members of Hadassah.

Hadassah started small. In 1913-14 they sent two nurses to Palestine. By the 1920s, however, Hadassah had already established a nursing school and two hospitals (one in Tel Aviv and one in Haifa) and was rapidly expanding into youth services. When terror struck the Jews of Germany, Henrietta Szold and the women of Hadassah took charge of the Youth Aliyah movement, bringing hundreds of German Jewish children to Israel. During World War II, Hadassah’s activities continued to expand. The first Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem was opened on Mount Scopus, and Hadassah began two vocational training institutes. After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 (which Henrietta Szold, unfortunately, did not live to see, as she passed away in 1945), Hadassah launched a medical school and opened the Ein Karem Medical Center in Jerusalem. By the beginning of the 1950s, Hadassah had transformed itself into a full range social service organization.

Today, Hadassah is still a thriving organization. Through Hadassah, American Jews have enabled Israelis to increase their standard of living and medical care many-fold.

Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved

Related Treats:
Magen David Adom
Israeli Independence Day