Ask the Expert: Kosher Symbols

Posted on March 26th, 2017
By MJL Staff


How to decode the different kosher labels.


Question: I’ve noticed that there are a lot of different symbols that indicate something is kosher. An OU, a triangle K, a cRc in a triangle, etc. One of my friends only eats things with some of the symbols, and not others. What’s the difference?
–Pam, Austin

Answer: You’re right that there are dozens of different symbols that indicate something is kosher. Each symbol comes from a different organization or rabbi.

What The Labels and Symbols Mean

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Why The Exodus Was So Significant

Posted on March 19th, 2017
By Rabbi Irving Greenberg for MyJewishLearning.com


Why The Exodus Was So Significant


Periodically, scholars survey historians’ opinions as to what is the most influential event of all time. In recent decades, the Industrial Revolution has often appeared at the top of the list. For the politically oriented, not uncommonly the French Revolution wins; for Marxists, the Russian Revolution. Christians often point to the life and death of Jesus as the single most important event of history. For Muslims, Mohammed’s revelations and his hegira [exile, 622 CE] have a similar transcendental authority.

Yet when Jews observe Passover, they are commemorating what is arguably the most important event of all time — the Exodus from Egypt. If for no other reason than the fact that the Exodus directly or indirectly generated many of the important events cited by other groups, this is the event of human history.

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Want to learn more about Passover?  Check out our Passover Resource Kit.
 

Heaven and Hell in Jewish Tradition

Posted on March 12th, 2017
BY RABBI OR N. ROSE FOR MYJEWISHLEARNING.COM    


Jewish Sources Are Conflicted About What Happens After We Die.


Like other spiritual traditions, Judaism offers a range of views on the afterlife, including some parallels to the concepts of heaven and hell familiar to us from popular Western (i.e., Christian) teachings. While in traditional Jewish thought the subjects of heaven and hell were treated extensively, most modern Jewish thinkers have shied away from this topic, preferring to follow the biblical model, which focuses on life on earth.

The Bible’s Sheol: An Underground Abyss
The subject of death is treated inconsistently in the Bible, though most often it suggests that physical death is the end of life. This is the case with such central figures as Abraham, Moses, and Miriam.

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Aloha! Have a Hawaiian Purim

Posted on March 5th, 2017
The Joy of Kosher


In Hawai'i, the word aloha means hello, goodbye, and love. This Purim, when you greet your guests, you can say aloha in addition to shalom, as you offer them a lei and a Coconut Ambrosia Hamantaschen (see below). 

In fact, get the whole family involved: All you need are Hawaiian shirts, sunglasses, leis or flower necklaces, and a laid back fun-in-the-sun attitude. If you're feeling creative, you can also put together grass skirts with ribbons or streamers.  

Below you will find some great Hawaiian inspired recipes for your Purim meal as well as mishloach manot. And don't forget to print out our nifty Aloha Happy Purim cards, to decorate with your own photos and message!

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For more great Purim ideas, check out our Purim Resource Kit.

 

Yahrzeit: Remembering on the Anniversary of a Death

Posted on February 26th, 2017
 
By MJL Staff, MyJewishLearning.com


Lighting candles and saying Kaddish each year in memory of a loved one.


Yahrzeit is a Yiddish word meaning anniversary of a death. It is the yearly anniversary of a loved one’s death (traditionally the anniversary of the Hebrew date, not the Gregorian date). Jews observe yahrzeit at home by lighting a special long-burning candle in memory of the deceased.

Yahrzeit candles are also known as yizkor candles, because they are also lit on behalf of loved ones on the four Jewish holidays (Yom Kippur, Shemini Atzeret, Passover and Shavuot) that include a Yizkor, or Jewish memorial, service. These candles, often packaged inside glass jars, can be purchased at Judaica stores and online. Many supermarkets carry them as well.

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