Rabbi David Spinrad’s Installation Shabbat Dinner

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What Are Kohanim, or Jewish “Priests"?

Posted on March 25th, 2019


Descendants of Aaron, the priest, enjoy special privileges.


A kohen (also spelled cohen or kohan) is a descendant of the sons of Aaron who served as priests in the Temple in Jerusalem.

Traditionally, kohanim (the plural of kohen) get special honors in synagogue, but also are subject to certain restrictions. Like Levites, who are descendants of the priests’ assistants and also singled out for certain honors, kohanim are descendants of the tribe of Levi.

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9 Things You Didn’t Know About Purim

Posted on March 18th, 2019
From MyJewishLearning

This article is featured in Jvillage Network's Purim Guide. For more articles, recipes, crafts, and ideas, visit here. 

From Esther's vegetarianism to the Jewish leap year, things that might surprise you.


With costumes, spiels and lots of drinking, Purim , which in 2019 starts at sundown on Thursday, March 20, is one of Judaism’s most raucous holidays. You might know about beautiful Esther thwarting evil Haman’s plans, the custom of getting drunk and what hamantaschen are. But we’re guessing there’s a few things about this holiday that might surprise you.

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Ahasuerus and Vashti: The Story Megillat Esther Does Not Tell You

Posted on March 11th, 2019
Dr. Malka Z. Simkovich,  Dr. Rabbi Zev Farber,  Rabbi David Steinberg for TheTorah.org


This article is featured in Jvillage Network's Purim Guide. For more articles, recipes, crafts, and ideas, visit here. 


How the rabbis came to imagine Ahasuerus as a usurper who halted the rebuilding of the Temple and his wife Vashti as a wicked and grotesque Babylonian princess, who lived as a libertine and persecuted Jews.

In popular Jewish imagination, Ahasuerus is an illegitimate usurper king, and his royal wife, Vashti, is a grotesque Jew-hating villain, who gets what she deserves.  Neither of these portraits appears anywhere in the book of Esther, however. The megillah makes no mention of either Ahasuerus’ or Vashti’s lineage, nor are we told that Vashti persecuted Jews, or, for that matter, grew a tail, and had one hundred and three pimples (contrary to the children’s song popular in some circles).

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What Is Purim?

Posted on March 4th, 2019
by Rabbi Shraga Simmons for aish.com


This article is featured in Jvillage Network's Purim Guide. For more articles, recipes, crafts, and ideas, visit here. 


Summing up the Purim holiday: They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat.


Purim is Judaism’s most dramatic, fun-filled holiday. When else can you dress up like a bunny rabbit and eat doughy triangles filled with poppy seeds?
Purim occurs on the 14th of Adar. (In certain walled cities like Jerusalem, “Shushan Purim” is celebrated the following day, the 15th of Adar.)

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The History of Yiddish

Posted on February 25th, 2019
By Mordecai Walfish on MyJewishLearning


Yiddish originated in Germany, but was eventually spoken by Jews all over Europe.


In its 1,000-plus-year history, the Yiddish language has been called many things, including the tender name mameloshen (mother tongue), the adversarial moniker zhargon (jargon) and the more matter-of-fact Judeo-German.

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Second Seder

The second seder at Beth El takes place on April 20, 2019 at 6:00 PM. The cost is $60 for members and $25 for member children and $80 for non members and $30 for non member children. RSVP here

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