Annual pilgrimage of Hasidic Jews to Bobowa, Poland.

Before the outbreak of the World War 2 and the Nazi German invasion on Poland, the small town of Bobowa was an important centre of Hasidic culture. The Jewish people, who were invited to Bobowa in 18th century, constituted majority of Bobowa’s population in the 1930s. It was home to one of the most influential Hasidic dynasties in Poland, called Bobov or Bobover Dynasty. The 18th-century synagogue in Bobowa, renovated and reopened in 2003, is one of the most valuable examples of surviving Jewish sacral architecture in Poland, with carefully reconstructed fragment of polychromy. Nowadays Bobowa is an active place of worship and an important destination for the Bobover Hasidic pilgrims who visit the town’s synagogue and historic ohel (grave of prominent Jewish community leaders) every year.

Photos via bobowa24.pl.

Former Israeli President Chaim Herzog (z’’l) recites the mourner’s kaddish for the 37,000 Jewish people who died at Bergen Belsen concentration camp near Bergen and Belsan, West Germany; 1987. x

The Mourner’s Kaddish, which is in Aramaic, is said when mourning.  Its history can be traced to the Second Temple when it was known as the Half Kaddish (or Chatzi Kaddish).  The Kaddish was originally said by Rabbis - which is a practice that developed during the Babylonian Exile as most congregants did not speak Aramaic.  The Rabbinical Kaddish is still said by Rabbis, but it differs from the Mourner’s Kaddish slightly as it includes a prayer for Rabbis, scholars, and their students.  Probably the most widely known Kaddish is the Kaddish Shalem, which has been said since Talmudic times and differs from the Half Kaddish in that it includes a yearning for peace.  The Great Kaddish is customarily said at a siyum or at a grave at the time of burial and includes prayers for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and refers to the afterlife.

17th of Tammuz

The 17th of Tammuz is a fast day commemorating the fall of Jerusalem, prior to the destruction of the Holy Temple. This also marks the beginning of a 3-week national period of mourning, leading up to Tisha B'Av.

The 17th of Tammuz is the first of four fast days mentioned in the prophets. The purpose of a fast day is to awaken our sense of loss over the destroyed Temple – and the subsequent Jewish journey into exile.

Agonizing over these events is meant to help us conquer those spiritual deficiencies which brought about these tragic events. Through the process of “Teshuva” – self-introspection and a commitment to improve – we have the power to transform tragedy into joy. In fact, the Talmud says that after the future redemption of Israel and the rebuilding of the Temple, these fast days will be re-dedicated as days of rejoicing and festivity. For as the prophet Zechariah says: the 17th of Tammuz will become a day of “joy to the House of Judah, and gladness and cheerful feasts.”

What Happened on the 17th of Tammuz?

Five great catastrophes occurred in Jewish history on the 17th of Tammuz:

  1. Moses broke the tablets at Mount Sinai – in response to the sin of the Golden Calf.
  2. The daily offerings in the First Temple were suspended during the siege of Jerusalem, after the Kohanim could no longer obtain animals.
  3. Jerusalem’s walls were breached, prior to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE.
  4. Prior to the Great Revolt, the Roman general Apostamos burned a Torah scroll – setting a precedent for the horrifying burning of Jewish books throughout the centuries.
  5. An idolatrous image was placed in the Sanctuary of the Holy Temple – a brazen act of blasphemy and desecration.

(Originally, the fast was observed on the Ninth of Tammuz since that was the day Jerusalem fell prior to the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE. However, after Jerusalem fell on the 17th of Tammuz – prior to the destruction of the Second Temple – the Sages decided upon a combined observance for both tragedies, the 17th of Tammuz.)

How Do We Observe the 17th of Tammuz?

  1. No eating or drinking is permitted from the break of dawn, until dusk.
  2. Pregnant and nursing women – and others whose health would be adversely affected – are exempted from the fast.
  3. Should the day coincide with Shabbat, the fast is delayed until Sunday.
  4. Bathing, anointing, and wearing leather shoes are all permissible.
  5. The “Aneinu” prayer is inserted into the Amidah of Shacharis and Mincha by the chazan. Individuals insert it in Mincha only.
  6. Slichos and “Avinu Malkeinu” are recited.
  7. Exodus 32:11, in which the “13 Attributes of Mercy” are mentioned, is read at both the morning and afternoon services.
  8. Isaiah 55:6 – 56:8, which discusses the renewal of the Temple service, is read as the Haftorah at the Mincha service.

To the ever irrational ceciliadavidson:

I’m not a Jew hater. Moving the goalposts doesn’t mean what you think it means. Moving the goalposts happens when you set a standard of evidence and then when you see it’s met by your opponent, you change the standard of evidence. I’ve not done that. 

What I’ve done is lay waste to your accusation. If I hate Jews because I’m critical of Judaism, you hate Muslims and Christians because you’re critical of their religions. There’s no difference between educated criticism stemming from having identified with the religion in question and educated criticism even if one never affiliated with the religion. You never identified as a Muslim and yet you’re critical of Jihad; or at least I hope you are. Does this mean you hate Muslims? You’re critical of Sharia Law; or at least I hope so. Does this mean you hate Muslims? You’re critical of honor killings, even those carried out here in the West. Or at least I hope that’s the case. Do you hate Muslims? If this is the standard you apply to others, in order to be consistent, you have to apply the same standard to yourself. In other words, if, as you say, criticism of a religion or ideology is equivalent to hatred of people who identify with the religion or ideology, then you hate the people who affiliate with the religions and ideologies you criticize. If you are unable and/or unwilling to apply the standard to yourself, then it should be clear that something’s wrong with the standard. 

You can keep screaming “Anti-Semite” and “Jew hater” till you strain you vocal chords; repetition does not a truth make. Your standard is irrational and ridiculous; criticism should not be equated with hatred. But if you want to keep claiming that, then your’e a Christian hater, a Muslim hater, an atheist hater, and [insert religious affiliation, ideology, political affiliation, or sexual orientation here] hater. I guess your irrationality precedes you because no one has supported you throughout this discussion and none of your followers are liking or reblogging your separate posts “shouting out” our private conversation. Clearly the “butthurt” is mere projection as it’s obvious from your insistent whining. Grow up and learn to take criticism of your religion without taking it personally. Way to prove the point of my post

Heading into Philly today to pick up my adorable and wonderful stepdaughter for her summer visit. Will be stopping at the Jewish History museum store to pick up a kosher mezuzah scroll, and undoubtedly to make @dadhoc Look At Things.

I was going to wait until my shul’s gift shop finished renovations, but. Ugh. It’s been months already. Kinda feel itchy and wrong without one.

judaism is a mountain for everyone

They say converts have to travel the upward hill with great difficulty. The rest have it easy, with the possibility to be any kind of Jew they want. What a privilege! The mountain is a mount.

But Judaism is tough for everybody. It’s learning later in life because you suddenly take an interest in the faith after twenty years of secularism, catching up on what you missed with a vague feeling of alienation. Or it’s learning hidden as a child, taking up what will later feel ‘home-like’ but always fearing antisemitism from the rest of the world. It’s searching for an answer in your roots and not always from within, because that is always less scary.

It’s finding your political views on a spectrum that already holds presets for you: judaism - jew - zionist. It’s accepting some things and rejecting others, with the fear of being a bad jew.

In a action-based faith, Judaism is also the struggle to kindle feeling when all is foreign, or when habit has settled in. It is filling in the gap between ethnicity and religion, and it is a mission for which we may not always have the tools right away.

And what if you stumble, and what if you fail…


The 17th of Tammuz Blues  - Ari Lesser

That day’s never been a good day for the Jewish Nation.

Tzom Tammuz begins at dawn on Sun, 24 July 2016.

Sanders is first Jewish American to win a presidential primary
Sanders made history with his New Hampshire primary win on Tuesday night, also becoming the first non-Christian to win a state in a presidential primary
By Ben Jacobs

Regardless of your personal politics, this is an amazing first in American Jewish History.  Kol hakavod Senator Sanders!

Once upon a time in the 1980s, when I was a twenty-year-old graduate student full of arrogance and attitude, I worked in the Hebrew books and manuscripts division of the Judaica Department at Sotheby’s New York. My boss was the “Judaica expert,” the late, great Jay Weinstein, a man truly deserving of his title, which he bore with immense modesty and humour. My own title was also “expert” but, by way of contrast, it only exacerbated my supercilious arrogance when I found myself called to the front desk to meet a client… The client I was about to meet on the day I am describing had called a week before to tell me that he was in possession of “a very old Hebrew book.” I was not looking forward to the encounter, since auction experts know very well that the hoi polloi consider anything more than ten years old to be ancient and hence of untold value. Disabusing clients of this notion as it applies to their particular treasure is an often painful but necessary task…
Mr. X, I was dismayed to find, embodied all my worst fears. Stooped, elderly, still in his coat, and eager โ€” very eager. Authoritative and disdainful though I made myself, he was simply unimpressed by my “impressiveness.” With total focus and trembling hands, he reached into a plastic shopping bag and produced, wrapped in newspaper older than I was, his “treasure” โ€” a book of Psalms, printed in Warsaw in 1920. I couldn’t believe this monumental waste of my precious time โ€” a brand new book of Psalms would be worth more than this! I was exasperated by this schlepper, and I wanted to tell him so. I wanted to show him the real treasures โ€” gold, silver, ancient, and precious illuminated manuscripts โ€” that had been entrusted into my “expert” care. I wanted to show him the door as I told him with authoritative disdain, “That book is worth whatever you paid for it!”
But at that moment, like the angel in the legend who moves Moses’ hand toward the glowing coal rather than the glittering crown, thus saving his life, some kindly spirit moved my tongue. And instead of that anticipated send-off, I faltered, “Um, what did you pay for this?” The old man drew himself up to his full 5 feet, 2 inches. “For this, I paid seven days’ Auschwitz bread,” he replied with a dignity that totally deflated my pose. It seems that the Nazis had caught him with the little Psalm book, and as a penalty for possessing it, imprisoned him without food โ€” only water to drink โ€” for an entire week. Like Moses touching the coal to his lips, I was struck dumb. “This,” I stammered, “is too valuable for us to sell.” And I stumbled out of the room, a changed young man, with a new appreciation of what is meant by the words precious, valuable, and treasured.
The rabbis of Conservative Judaism pass a resolution supporting transgender rights - The Washington Post

“The rabbis’ resolution begins by stating, “Our Torah asserts that all humanity is created b’tzelem Elohim, in God’s Divine Image.” It discusses historical evidence of “non-binary gender expression” in Jewish texts dating back to the third-century Mishnah, and points out current-day discrimination against transgender Americans in employment, medical care and voting rights.”

Yashar Koach, Mazal Tov!!!!