Written by: Shalom LC


Dance and Song

Jerusalem of Gold

Jerusalem of Gold (in Hebrew, Yerushalayim Shel Zahav) is the beloved unofficial national anthem of Israel. The song is probably the most famous…
Erin Parfet


From the beginning, when the poem-now-song was first penned, Hatikvah, now the national anthem of Israel, has been controversial, complex, emotional,…
Erin Parfet
hava nagila

Hava Nagila

The Hava Nagila ("let us rejoice") is the first modern Jewish folk song in the Hebrew language, composed to celebrate the British victory over the…
Erin Parfet
Jewish Dance

Jewish Dance

With a basis in scripture ranging from Miriam’s dance in the Red Sea to the expressive poetry of Psalms, the Jewish people have since the beginning…
Erin Parfet


Mi Shebeirach

Mi Shebeirach is a traditional Hebrew prayer for healing, prayed publicly on behalf of another person who is ill. It starts with calling upon the God…
Erin Parfet
efrat center


Efrat, a nonpartisan, nonprofit pregnancy center founded by Herschel Feigenbaum, a Holocaust survivor who passionately believed that “children are…
Erin Parfet



Most everyone in the world knows that the Jewish people play with dreidels during Chanukah. Dreidel is a Yiddish term, with “drei” meaning turn;…
Erin Parfet

Lag B’Omer

“Rejoice on this day... celebrate by singing praises to God from the book of Psalms, and not God forbid by lightheaded frivolity.” -Rabbi Shneur…
Erin Parfet
tshuva hhd


Teshuvah ("returning") is the Jewish concept of repentance and returning to the path of righteousness after one has deviated, or returning to an…
Erin Parfet

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, translating to "head of the year" or "first of the year," is commonly known as the Jewish New Year, occurring on the first and second…
Erin Parfet


"See, this day I set before you blessing and curse: blessing if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I enjoin upon you this day; and…
Erin Parfet

Simchat Torah

Simchat Torah ("rejoicing of the Torah"), most likely of medieval origins, is observed by the Jewish people on the last day of Sukkot. The overall…
Erin Parfet


Set in the land of the Persian city of Shushan, located in modern-day Iran, the story of Purim (“Festival of Lots,” as derived from the ancient…
Erin Parfet

Shavuot and the Decalogue

One of the events that is traditionally commemorated during the Shavuot celebration is the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Strictly speaking, it…
Daniel Gordan

Days of Awe

Many are familiar with the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah (occurring on Tishri 1 and 2) and Yom Kippur (occurring on Tishri 10), but fewer are…
Erin Parfet

Jerusalem Day

Yom Yerushaláyim, or Jerusalem Day, is one of four Israeli national holidays added to the calendar in the 20th century. Jerusalem Day is a jubilant…
Erin Parfet

Avinu Malkeinu

Avinu Malkeinu ("Our Father, Our King") is an ancient litany recited daily during Aseret Y’mei Teshuva, or the Ten Days of Awe (with an exception on…
Erin Parfet

Jewish Culture

Star of David

The Star of David (also known as the Shield of David or Magen David) is an internationally recognized emblem of both Israel and the Jewish people,…
Erin Parfet

Jewish Heritage in New York City

There are more Jewish people in New York City than anywhere else in the world outside of Israel, with more Jews in Brooklyn alone than in Jerusalem…
Erin Parfet
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Tikkun Olam

Tikkun Olam is a Jewish phrase found in the Mishnah, a collection of rabbinic teachings and oral Jewish traditions dating back to the writings of…
Erin Parfet


The end of January and early February tend to be a beautiful time in Israel, with a kaleidoscope of pink and white blossoms peppering the otherwise…
Erin Parfet

Middle East

Israel Defense Forces

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) emerged from various pre-existing Jewish armed organizations and played a pivotal role in several significant…
Erin Parfet


The Hezbollah (“Party of God” or “Party of Allah” in Arabic) terrorist organization is a byproduct of the 1975 Lebanese civil war, which erupted…
Erin Parfet

Iron Dome

Israel’s Iron Dome (or Kippat Barzel in Hebrew), a land-based all-weather mobile air defense system, was designed to intercept and destroy a range of…
Erin Parfet

What is Hamas?

Hamas, an Arabic acronym for Harakat al-Muqawmah al-Islamiyyah (“zeal,” “strength” or “bravery” in Arabic or “Islamic Resistance Movement” in…
Erin Parfet

Oseh Shalom

Oseh Shalom is both a song and a prayer that encapsulates the Jewish longing for peace, acknowledging God as the source of the blessings of peace and…
Erin Parfet

Gaza Strip

The conflict between Israel and Gaza has a deep, complex history partially rooted in religion. This article will not seek to unpack all of that but…
Erin Parfet


Human Trafficking in Israel

"Today’s slavery flourishes precisely because slaves are kept invisible, without the ability to make their voices heard. As the voices of the…
Erin Parfet


Tekhelet is an azure-sapphire-midnight blue, fade-resistant dye mentioned approximately 49 times in the Tanakh, believed to be God’s chosen color for…
Erin Parfet

Frankincense and Myrrh

Thanks to the prevalence of the Christmas story and nativity scenes, even non-Bible scholars are familiar with the general story of the three wise…
Erin Parfet
beach 3017697 1280


In January of 2023, two members of Israel’s parliament, known as the Knesset, introduced a bill that would outlaw sharing the love of Jesus (Yeshua…
Erin Parfet

Prayer and Blessing

Shema Yisrael

Shema Yisrael ("Hear, O Israel), or the Shema, is the most famous and influential of the Jewish prayers and is central to the Jewish faith. The…
Erin Parfet


"Guard our coming and our going; grant us life and peace, now and always. (Siddur Sim Shalom, p. 33) (ufros aleinu sukat sh’lomecha) "Spread over us…
Erin Parfet


It is considered a mitzvah to recite Hallel (“praise” in English) in the synagogues on certain festive Jewish holidays. Hallel is a sacred communal…
Erin Parfet


"What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the entire Torah; all the rest is commentary” (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a).
Erin Parfet


Shehecheyanu ("that we are alive") is a generic Jewish blessing said in addition to regular blessings as the Jewish people express gratitude to God…
Erin Parfet


International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Though nations around the world may and do choose to honor their own national versions of Holocaust remembrance on different days throughout the…
Erin Parfet

Traditional Foods


Challah bread, translated from the Hebrew as referring to a cake, loaf, or morsel of bread, is a well-known food served at the weekly Shabbat as well…
Erin Parfet
charoset article 24


Charoset, a traditional dish served during the Passover Seder, offers a delightful range of flavors. Generally sweet, sometimes more savory, and…
Erin Parfet

Bagels and Lox

Neither bagels nor lox originated in the Big Apple, or in America, for that matter. Yet the combination of bagels and lox was somewhat accidental and…
Erin Parfet


Lecha Dodi

Lecha Dodi (“Come my Friend”) is a well-known eight-stanza hymn of mystical origins that is commonly sung at Friday night synagogue services to usher…
Erin Parfet


Havdalah is a beautiful multi-sensory ceremony and one of the most ancient blessings in Jewish religious life that symbolically marks the end of…
Erin Parfet
kiddush article 24


As zikaron le-ma’asei v’reishit ("a memorial to Creation"), Kiddush ("sanctification" or "separation") is a beautiful Shabbat benediction and one of…
Erin Parfet
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