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A Taste of The Middle East

19 Nisan 5772 – April 11, 2012
As an American of Sephardic heritage, I was raised on the mouth-watering delicious foods that define Middle Eastern fare. For as far back as I can remember the kitchen has been my comfort zone. Whipping up culinary creations to please the palates of an Ashkenazic husband, Sephardic kin, fussy kids, and guests who frequent our dinner table can be quite challenging, but at the same time tremendously satisfying.

Chol Hamoed Survival Guide

15 Nisan 5772 – April 6, 2012
If you are anything like me, Chol Hamoed can be just the teeniest bit stressful. Okay, maybe very, very stressful. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.

How Much Matzah?

14 Nisan 5772 – April 5, 2012
Question: How much matzah must one eat at the Pesach Seder?

Why Don’t We Make A Berachah Over Korech?

The Gemara in Pesachim 115a says that there was a machlokes regarding how one was supposed to eat matzah and marror in the times of the Beis HaMikdash. Hillel said that during those times, when there was a korban Pesach, matzah and marror should be eaten together. His peers argued that they must be eaten separately. The Gemara concludes that since the halacha was not paskened we eat matzah separately, then marror separately, and then both together to accommodate both opinions.

Pesach Video: Baking Passover Matzah in Israel’s Heartland

13 Nisan 5772 – April 4, 2012
Yishai Fleisher takes us to Beit El in Israel’s heartland, the location of Yaakov’s (Jacob’s) ladder, to bake matzot (unleavened bread) the old fashioned...

Chad Gadya – Pesach & the Order of Things

As the Seder night ebbs away – long after the Four Questions have been asked and answered, after the festive meal has been eaten and the post-feast drowsiness descends, after the evening’s mitzvot have been observed and the fourth cup of wine emptied – we raise our voices in a curious, delightful, seemingly whimsical song at the end of the Haggadah.

Photo Essay: Passover Preparations in Israel

12 Nisan 5772 – April 3, 2012
As Israel and the Jewish world prepare for the 5772/2012 Pesach holiday and pilgrimage, JewishPress.com is proud to present a photo essay illustrating the colorful season of Passover in Israel.

‘Living in De Nile’

8 Nisan 5772 – March 30, 2012
I love Pesach. Really, I do. Even with the stress and preparation associated with March Madness (I still have no idea why my father thinks it has anything to do with basketball), I enjoy it. Maybe it's because of my mother's spinach kugel, or the way I still love actively searching for the afikoman.

Tzav: Holiness And Eating

6 Nisan 5772 – March 29, 2012
The evil inclination likes to tempt us to indulge in material delights. It is important to know that these delights may have another purpose, too: kedushah (holiness).

Eating Matzah Before Pesach

Question: What is the basis of the custom to refrain from eating matzah for a period of time before Pesach?

Parshas Vayikra: ‘The Call Of Humility’

1 Nisan 5772 – March 23, 2012
“At the time that my wife and I made aliyah, the Ministry of Interior required certification through the chief rabbinate that any new immigrants were Jews in order to qualify for citizenship and immigrant benefits. After an hour-long wait at the ministry to be interviewed, my wife and I sat before a hard-faced clerk. I did not have a letter from a rabbi certifying to my Jewishness, but I felt confident that since I was on the chief rabbinate's list of approved rabbis whose letter would be accepted to verify the Jewishness of others, I would suffer no problem.

Matzel Toff? Really?

18 Adar 5772 – March 12, 2012
Punning might be the most annoying form of art save for mime (a punning mime, now that would be hateful). Check out the Monday NY Post (a paper known for outrageous punning, not enough mime) for verification. They claim that an outfit named Urban Nosh, which got its start making Matzel Toff, a chocolate-covered matzah, is adding a new, year-round version of the same dubious treat, called Matzel Bits, and are also conspiring to launch yet another new product, called Holy Macaroons. Help…?

Clean Jokes

16 Adar 5772 – March 9, 2012
Welcome back to “You’re Asking Me?” where we answer questions sent in by confused readers who thought they were writing in to Dr. Yael. That said, I’d like to thank all the readers who wrote in. I’m going to attempt to address your questions, not so much because I know the answers, but more so that I have an excuse to get out of cleaning for Pesach.

Why Do We Read The Megillah?

14 Adar 5772 – March 7, 2012
On Purim we read Megillas Esther twice, once by night and once by day. It is uncertain what the nature of the obligation is.

Our Mother’s Lessons

17 Av 5771 – August 17, 2011
All societies survive through the retention of customs and traditions. If ritual law, halacha and Torah observance are the keystones of Jewish existence, the customs and traditions of Israel are the chain that has kept Israel bound to the Torah and its laws and values. The rabbis called the customs and traditions of Israel "the lessons of your mother" - in contrast and at the same time complementing "the teachings and disciplines of your father."

Give Me A Troika: The Hillel Sandwich

25 Nisan 5771 – April 28, 2011
When fulfilling the commandments God has given us, I often think of dedicated high school athletes who, when their coaches say "Jump!" do not seek an excuse to do less but rather focus on doing what the coach said, and then some.

A Rabbi’s Rabbi Shares His Seder Secrets

27 Shevat 5770 – February 10, 2010
The ideal drashah (sermon) combines science and art. There is the scientific component, where the darshan embodies deep and authentic Jewish scholarship: breadth of knowledge, methodology, and faithfulness to tradition. Equally significant are the artistic elements of the drashah: eloquence, presentation, and a penetrating understanding of one's intended audience.

Pesach Wines

1 Nisan 5769 – March 26, 2009
Pesach is a holiday where multiples abound. From the four questions, the 10 plagues and double dipping to the hodgepodge that is charoset or Hillel's famous bitter herb and matzah sandwich, nothing seems to be singular on this holiday. If only our unleavened bread were privy to such excess.

Pesach Wines

Pesach is a holiday where multiples abound. From the four questions, the 10 plagues and double dipping to the hodgepodge that is charoset or Hillel's famous bitter herb and matzah sandwich, nothing seems to be singular on this holiday. If only our unleavened bread were privy to such excess.

All Dolled Up For The Holidays

"My mother always made the Jewish holidays lots of fun when we were growing up, so is it any wonder I started my own Judaica business?"

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