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Culture & History

Jewish Culture N° 154 by Gilberte Jacaret

Rosh Hashanah
A day of judgment and coronation, the sounding of the shofar...

Yemenite-style shofar

Psalm 81

« Sing aloud unto God our strength :make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.
2- Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery.
3- Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day…
10- I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the Land of Egypt:open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it…… “

The theme of the prayers is the "coronation" of God as King of the universe in preparation for the acceptance of judgments that will follow on that day.

According to the biblical story, God commands Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. (Genesis 22:5 and 22:8). After Isaac is bound to an altar, the angel of God stops Abraham at the last minute, saying "now I know you fear God." At this point Abraham sees a ram caught in some nearby bushes and sacrifices the ram instead of Isaac.

The shofar is blown in long, short and staccato blasts that follow a set sequence:
  • Teki'ah (long sound) Numbers 10:3;
  • Shevarim (3 broken sounds) Numbers 10:5;
  • Teru'ah (9 short sounds) Numbers 10:9;
  • Teki'ah Gedolah (very long sound) Exodus 19:16,19;
  • Shevarim Teru'ah (3 broken sounds followed by 9 short sounds).
The total number of blasts on Rosh Hashana is 100.

The shofar is traditionally blown each morning for the entire month of Elul, the month preceding Rosh Hashanah. The sound of the shofar is intended to awaken the listeners from their "slumbers" and alert them to the coming judgment.The shofar is not blown on Shabbat

Symbolic foods

Traditional Rosh Hashanah foods: Apples and honey, pomegranates, wine for kiddush.

Rosh Hashanah meals usually include apples and honey, to symbolize a sweet new year. Other foods with a symbolic meaning may be served, depending on local minhag ("custom"), such as the head of a fish (to symbolize the "head" of the year).

Some of the symbolic foods eaten are dates, black-eyed peas, leek, spinach and gourd, all of which are mentioned in the Talmud. Pomegranates are used in many traditions, to symbolize being fruitful like the pomegranate with its many seeds. The use of apples and honey, symbolizing a sweet year, is a late medieval Ashkenazi addition, though it is now almost universally accepted. Typically, round challah bread is served, to symbolize the cycle of the year. Gefilte fish and Lekach are commonly served by Ashkenazic Jews on this holiday. On the second night, new fruits are served to warrant inclusion of the shehecheyanu blessing.


Jewish Heritage and Nature

September 29th 2013
On September 29th 2013, this year's edition of the EDJC will evolve around "Jewish Heritage and Nature".
The relation between Judaism and Nature is manifold, on many different levels.
In order to deepen the understanding of this subject, we will present you over the next months, a series of articles, bibliographic references and similar.


Jewish Culture N° 151 by Gilberte Jacaret

 musee 1Core Exhibition
Building on the dynamic interaction between the Museum’s location on Independence Mall, the history and traditions of the Jewish people, and the broader national experience, the core exhibition highlights the diverse backgrounds, expectations, and experiences of Jews who came to and made their homes in the United States. Explore how and when Jews immigrated to America, the choices they faced, the challenges they confronted, and the ways in which they shaped, and were shaped by, their American home.
On each of the core exhibition’s three and a half floors you will encounter people, episodes, ideas, and experiences that highlight the religious, social, political, and economic lives of American Jews. You will see historical objects, enter period environments, and experience cutting-edge interactive technology. Learn about aspects of Jewish religious life, including major holidays, rituals, and lifecycle events.
4th floor — Foundations of Freedom: 1654 – 1880


Jewish Culture N° 150 by Gilberte Jacaret

Oldest complete Torah scroll reportedly found in Italy
University of Bologna says 850-year-old Jewish text, belonging to Babylonian tradition, was mislabeled by a librarian in 1889.
By Haaretz | May.29, 2013
An Italian university has found what it claims to be the oldest complete Torah scroll known to exist, the BBC reported on Tuesday.
The scroll, which was found at the library of the University of Bologna, was believed to be no more than a few hundred years old, the report said. But recent carbon dating tests suggest it was written some 850 years ago, making it the oldest complete Torah ever found, Mauro Perani, the university's Hebrew professor said.

According to the university, the ancient text was not lost, but was mislabeled in 1889 after one of the its librarians dated it to the 17th century.
After re-examining the scroll, Perani determined it belongs to the Babylonian tradition. Perani also recognized in the writings features that were forbidden in later versions of the Torah.


Jewish Culture N° 149 by Gilberte Jacaret


Moscow's Jewish Museum: "A living museum for a lively people"
October 20, 2011   Pauline Tillmann
 auschwitz museum
Russia was once home to five million Jews. Today, the few thousand remaining in Moscow have a new place to explore their heritage.
There are over 100 state museums in Moscow, but for Jewish history there are none. That changed this past May with the opening of a private museum dedicated to the history of the Jewish people in Russia.
There was a time when many Jewish people called Russia home. At the beginning of the 20thcentury, more than 5 million Jews lived in the Russian empire. Then came two world wars, Stalinism and three waves of mass exodus. As a result, today only a few hundred thousand remain. The Jewish population of Moscow is estimated to be 250,000. No one is certain of the exact figure, since there is a national census only once every 10 years, and even then, not every Jewish person states that they are, in fact, Jewish, although today they do not have to fear any official consequences for this identity. During the Soviet era, it was a different story. Many universities and institutes refused to admit Jews.


Jewish Culture N° 148 by Gilberte Jacaret

At Auschwitz, Netanyahu vows Israel will do everything to prevent another Holocaust
The prime minister was speaking at the opening of a new Holocaust exhibition at the former Nazi death camp in Poland, designed by Yad Vashem experts; Netanyahu is on a two-day visit to Poland, attending a ministerial summit in Warsaw.
Haaretz, By The Associated Press and Barak Ravid | Jun.13, 2013

In a defiant speech coming from the place symbolizing the suffering of Jews during World War II, Israel's prime minister warned on Thursday that Israel will do everything to prevent another Holocaust and to defend itself against any threat.


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