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Sep 27, 2019, 7:27 AM
Rosh HaShanah and the mystery of the Gezer calendar
When is the “real” Jewish New Year? As temperatures begin to drop and the Hebrew lunar month of Elūl comes to its end, Rosh Ha-Shanah, the Jewish New Year festival, is upon us. But is Rosh Ha-Shanah, “the Head of the...
Jun 28, 2019, 5:36 PM
What a challah is and isn’t, and is it halāl? (Shelach)
Bakeries in various countries that have or had large Jewish communities make special breads that are called “challah” or something similar, and represent the kind of ceremonial bread that was called “challah” by the respective Jewish community – generally...
Jun 14, 2019, 6:01 PM
Parents’ wishes, from ancient amulets to Fiddler on the Roof (Naso)
Forty years ago this summer, a group of archaeologists and volunteers headed by archaeologist Gabriel Barkay were involved in a modest dig, at a site overlooking the Ben-Hinnom Valley in Jerusalem. The excavation was done almost in the shadows...
Jun 7, 2019, 8:02 PM
Dairy, Bethlehem and the Book of Ruth (Shavu’ot)
No one really knows why the holiday of Shavu’ot is celebrated with dairy products – cheese cakes, blintzes, puddings, ice cream and other dairy sweets, depending on the particular Jewish community. When the Jerusalem Temple was standing, Shavu’ot was the...
May 10, 2019, 4:17 PM
Forgotten Jewish attributes of Allāh (Kedoshim, Emor)
Today it is often not known that for more than half a millennium – from the Arab-Islamic Conquest to long after the Crusades – most Jews lived under Arab and Islamic rule, with important communities in Mesopotamia, Egypt, North...
Apr 16, 2019, 8:32 PM
Did an Aramaean (almost) kill our father? (Pesach)
The holiday of Pesach (Passover), in addition to celebrating the Exodus of a group of Hebrew slaves from bondage in Egypt and their transformation from a clan into a nation, also marked the beginning of the barley harvest in...
Apr 8, 2019, 8:18 AM
Indecision and scapegoating at the kalpi… kalfi… kalpé?
To those following the run-up to the Israeli elections, one mysterious word sticks out as being central to the democratic process. The two-syllable Hebrew word for “ballot box,” written קלפי. To start with, its very pronunciation is a matter of...
Apr 5, 2019, 1:01 PM
Is a metzora’ the same as a leper? (Tazria’ & Metzora’)
The upcoming Torah readings (Tazria’ and Metzora’) deal extensively with a medical and dermatological condition called tzårá’at (צרעת), and how it is to be handled (Vayiqra / Leviticus 13 and 14). From the word itself, not so much information can...
Daniel Kennemer is the founder of the Mount Carmel Arabic Immersion and the Jethro's Tent Initiative for Biblical Hebrew. He studied Archaeology and Geography at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem