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About jewtee

I love to design t shirts, I love to travel and I love photography. I'm also a committed Jew, so my work reflects these elements.

The Rosh Hashanah Card Story

Colorful Hebrew English Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah card

Summer is almost over. As usual, it goes by too quickly. When the summer ends, it’s back to school time. But it’s also time to think of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah is early this year. It begins after sunset on September 9, about two and half weeks away.

Speaking of Rosh Hashanah, do you know when the first Jewish New Year cards were sent? Do you think that maybe Jews just copied the Christian tradition of sending Holiday cards? Read on to find out.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, the first Jewish New Year cards were actually sent in the Middle Ages, while Christian New Year cards only began to be sent in the 19th century. The practice of sending cards for the Jewish New Year is first mentioned in the Book of Customs of Rabbi Jacob, published in 1556 in Germany.  Since Jews believe that on Rosh Hashanah one’s fate is set down in one the three open Heavenly books, German rabbis recommended that letters sent in the month before Rosh Hashanah should begin with the blessing that the recipient be inscribed and sealed for a good New Year.

When postcards were invented in Vienna in 1869, they quickly became the favored method of sending Jewish Holiday greetings. The peak period for illustrated postcards was from 1898-1918 and they were produced mainly in Germany, Warsaw and New York City. German cards were often illustrated with Biblical themes, while those from Warsaw depicted the religious life of Eastern European Jewry. Although the scenes on these cards were often theatrically staged, they preserved views and customs which were lost during the Holocaust.

The mass immigration of Jews from Eastern Europe to the United States in the early 20th century led to an increase in the production of these cards. Often, these Jewish New Year postcards depicted America as the new homeland, while others featured Zionist ideology and contemporary views of Israel.

In Israel, during the 19th century, Jews sent Rosh Hashanah greetings using tablets of varying sizes, featuring images of its four”Holy “ cities, as well as holy sites in and around Jerusalem. The binding of Isaac was a popular motif and it was often drawn against the backdrop of the Temple Mount. These tablets were often sent abroad for fundraising purposes.

In the 1920s and 30s, Jewish New Year cards printed in Israel depicted work on the land and “secular” views of the new pioneers. Over the years, many new designs and motifs were created. Towards the end of the 20th century, the sending of physical cards in Israel declined and was superseded by phone calls and internet messages.

In the United States, the advent of email and ecards also caused the practice of snail mailing Jewish New Year cards to family and friends to decline. However, many people still love to get actual cards. For those people, JewTee has a large selection of different types of Jewish New Year cards.

We hope you’re one of those people who both likes to send and receive paper versions of Rosh Hashanah cards you can read and display.

JewTee.com has many different types of Rosh Hashanah cards. Here are a few of our favorite funny ones:

Rosh Hashanah Jewish New Year Note CardsShofar Funny Jewish New Year CardJewish Wake Up Call Funny Jewish New Year CardFunny Jewish New Year card Apples and Honey

Here are some Hebrew English Rosh Hashanah cards:

Hebrew English Rosh Hashanah Jewish New Year cardColorful Hebrew English Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah card

Old Fashioned Hebrew English Rosh Hashanah cardHebrew English Jewish New Year Card

JewTee has many more cards. To see the entire collection of Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah cards, click here.

Categories: Jewish Blog, Jewish Holidays, Jewish New Year Cards, Judaism, religion, Rosh Hashanah Cards, Rosh Hashanah Jewish New Year | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Do We Celebrate Father’s Day?

father-1004022_1920

Since the Middle Ages, Father’s Day has been celebrated by Catholics in Europe on March 19, St. Joseph’s Day. Today it is celebrated in Europe and the Americas in March, April or June. However, the origin of Father’s Day in the United States  has no relationship to the Catholic celebration and is totally secular in origin.

The first Father’s Day in the United States was celebrated in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 5, 1908. Grace Golden Clayton dearly missed her father who had died in 1896. In addition, she wished to honor the memories of the 361 men who had died on December 6 of the previous year in the worst mining disaster in history. Occurring in Monongah, West Virginia, just a few miles south of Fairmont, this disaster resulted in the deaths of 250 fathers, leaving a thousand kids fatherless. Clayton suggested to the pastor of her church that he honor those men by dedicating a Sunday sermon to their memory and he did so.

The following year, Sonora Smart Dodd, a woman from Spokane, Washington sat in church listening to a Mother’s Day sermon. Dodd’s mother had died in childbirth and her father had singlehandedly raised her and her five siblings. Dodd decided she wanted to establish a day, June 5, her father’s birthday, to honor her Dad and others like him. She went to churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials to drum up support for her idea. As a result of her efforts, on June 19, 1910, a Father’s Day celebration was held at the YMCA in Spokane, Although she had originally suggested that the event be celebrated on June 5, the pastors did not have sufficient time to prepare their sermons, so the event was deferred to the third Sunday in June. Several local clergymen accepted the idea and sermons honoring fathers were presented throughout the city.

Young women handed out red roses to their fathers at the church service and large baskets of red roses were passed around with those in attendance asked to pin a rose on their clothing- red for the living fathers and white in memory of those no longer alive. Dodd then traveled through the city on a horse drawn carriage bringing roses and gifts to home -bound fathers. This Father’s Day celebration became an annual event in Spokane. Other towns also adopted the Holiday.

A bill to make Father’s Day a national holiday was introduced in Congress in 1913, but it was not passed. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson traveled to Spokane to speak at a Father’s Day celebration. While he wished to make it an officially recognized holiday, Congress resisted, fearing it would become commercialized. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge recommended that the entire country observe the holiday in order to foster closer relationships between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers their obligations to their children. But he stopped short of issuing an official  proclamation.

Many men were not in favor of the holiday. They did not like the attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gifts and they resented the commercial use of the day to sell more products, which were often paid for by the father himself.

During the 1920s and 30s, there was even a movement to scrap both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in favor of a single holiday, Parents Day. Every year the Pro Parents’ Day groups would rally in New York City’s Central Park as a public reminder that both parents should be honored together.

However, the Great Depression derailed this effort, as struggling retailers redoubled their efforts to make Father’s Day another Christmas buying spree for men.

Dodd stopped promoting the celebration for a number of years because she was busy with her studies in Chicago. In the 1930s, Dodd returned to Spokane and started promoting the celebration of Father’s Day again. She was helped in this endeavor by trade groups, who manufactured items of interest to men such as ties and tobacco pipes. By 1938,  a trade organization, the National Council for the Promotion of Father’s Day, took up the cause. However, Americans still resisted the holiday, as they viewed it as nothing more than an attempt by merchants to cash in on the success of Mother’s Day.

During World War II, advertisers argued that celebrating Father’s Day was a way to honor American troops and support the war effort. By the end of the war, Father’s Day had already become a national institution.

In 1957, Maine Senator, Margaret Chase Smith wrote a Father’s Day proposal, accusing Congress of ignoring fathers. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers and designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. However, it was not until six years later, in 1972, that President Richard Nixon made it into a permanent national holiday.

Although Dodd used the “Fathers’ Day” spelling when she petitioned for the Holiday, the spelling  “Father’s Day’ was used in the 1913 attempt to have Congress  establish an official day and that is the spelling used today.

This year Father’s Day is on June 17. Here are a few of JewTee’s favorite gifts for Dad.

Super Abba Ceramic Father's Day Mug

Only the best for the best.

 

Zeyde Rocks Funny Jewish Father's Day T Shirt for Grandpa

Zeyde (Yiddish for Grandpa) is the Best.

 

Abba Knows Best funny Father's Day Jewish Baseball Cap

And everyone knows it.

 

Shalom Y'All Heavy Cotton Twill BBQ Apron

Welcome Everyone.

 

To see JewTee’s entire collection of Father’s Day gifts, click here.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Anti Israel Hate Fest Continues

The Gaza riots on May 14, 2018, brought new opportunities for the media, the EU and many others to bash Israel again, The headlines screamed about the deaths of “innocent” Palestinians protesting “peacefully” on Israel’s border. The fact that over 85% of those killed on that day were known members of terrorist organizations and that 40,000 “peaceful” protestors attempted to storm the border fence using Molotov cocktails, IEDs, flaming tires, firearms, and flaming kites, was missed by many.  But imagine what the U.S. would have done had over 1.5 million (number adjusted relative to population of US versus Israel) ISIS members tried to storm the US borders. For that matter, any and every country would be expected to defend its borders from those whose aim was to storm the border, kidnap citizens and kill as many Israeli citizens as they could. And yes, those were Hamas’ stated aims. So describing the protestors as peaceful was not truthful at best.

But the media do not care about the truth, nor do they care about Palestinians. When, in April, Syrian forces shelled the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus in their attempt to root out ISIS, dozens of Palestinian refugees and local Syrian civilians were killed. However, there were no howls of pain from the media, or the UN and its councils and commissions about this. It seems that the only time the world cares about the deaths of Palestinians is when they happen at the hands of Israelis.

So, of course, the United Nations was up in arms about the deaths in Gaza. On May 14, the Security Council attempted to pass a resolution mandating an independent probe of the deaths on the Gaza border. “The Security Council expresses its outrage and sorrow at the killing of Palestinian civilians exercising their right to peaceful protest,” read a draft of the statement “The Security Council calls for an independent and transparent investigation into these actions to ensure accountability,” read the text. The United States vetoed the resolution.

Not to be deterred, on May 21st, the United Nations Human Rights Council, which includes such stalwart defenders of human rights as China, Iraq, Venezuela and Qatar, voted to send an “independent” international commission of inquiry to investigate the violence at the Gaza border.

Holding Israel to a different standard than any other country in the world is just a convenient way to blame it for even the smallest perceived misdeed. Let’s face reality. Being anti Israel is the politically correct way of being antisemitic. It’s not PC to say you hate Jews, but to say you hate Israel is totally acceptable, especially if you even mask that somewhat by saying you are pro Palestinian and an advocate for Palestinian rights.

Unfortunately, antisemitism seems to be an incurable disease. It sometimes seems to go into remission, but always reemerges sooner or later. Perhaps, as suggested by Melanie Phillips (Observations, Jerusalem Post, May 25, 2018), constant repetition of the fact that the West Bank is Jewish land occupied by Arabs, that Arabs are the true colonizers, that Jews are the only extant indigenous people of the land and that the Balfour Declaration, which was approved by the international community, gave the Jews the right to settle the entire land from the river to the sea. These measures will not cure antisemitism, but they may make the Palestinian narrative seem a bit more unlikely and make it a little harder to hide behind the pro Palestinian mask. Further, Israel should remind the world that it is the Palestinians who favor “ethnic cleansing” as they have repeatedly stated that when they get their country it will be Judenrein, free of Jews.

To proclaim Israel’s right to exist and Jerusalem as its capital city, JewTee has created a number of Pro Israel designs which appear on shirts, pajamas, mugs, tote bags, aprons  buttons, and gift items. Here are some of the most popular:

America Israel Friendship button

America Israel Friendship Button

 

Jerusalem Israel's Capital American Apparel Fitted T Shirt

Jerusalem has never been the Capitol of any other entity besides Israel.

Hamas Exists To Kill, Israel Kills To Exist, Baseball Cap

Hamas kills because it wants to. Israel kills because it has to.

 

Israel Is Forever Women's T Shirt

Israel Is Here To Stay.

I Stand With Israel Large Ceramic Mug

Drink to show your support for Israel.

To see our entire collection of Pro Israel Shirts and gifts, click here.

Categories: Anti Semitism, Gaza, Gaza War, Hamas, Israel, Israel T Shirts and Gifts, Jewish, Jewish Blog, Terrorism, UNHRC, United Nations | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Israel Mourns and Celebrates

Shalom Y’all:

These past few weeks were momentous ones for the State of Israel. On April 12, Israel celebrated Yom HaShoah, which commemorates the death of millions of Jews during the Holocaust.

Yad Vashem Israel Hall Of Names

Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Hall of Names

 

On April 18, Yom Hazikaron, Israel Memorial Day, Israelis remembered Israeli soldiers missing in action, those who lost their lives fighting for freedom for the State of Israel, and terrorist victims, felled by forces who wish to see the end of the Jewish State.

Garden of The Missing In Action, Mt. Herzl, Jerusalem, Israel

President Rivlin pays his respects at the Garden of The Missing In Action, Mt. Herzl, Jerusalem, Israel

 

This was immediately followed, on April 19, by the joyous celebrations of Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s 70th Independence Day. 

Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day, Flag Dance

Flag Dance performed by Bet Shemesh students in honor of Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel Independence Day

Israel Independence Day Flags

Israel flags and sign commemorating Israel Independence Day.

 

Lag B’omer with its festive bonfires was on May 3.   

Lag B'Omer Bonfire, Jerusalem, Israel

Lag B’Omer Bonfire

 

On May 12, Israel won the Eurovision Song contest. See the winning song, Toy,  by Netta Barzilai below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CziHrYYSyPc

 

On May 13 Israelis rejoiced on Yom Yerushalayim, which celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem and the ability of Jews to visit the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. 

Hassid praying at the Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel

Hassid praying at the Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel

 

On May 14, the United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem, followed two days later by Guatemala and on May 21 by Paraguay. Unfortunately, on the day of the United States Embassy move, 50,000 Palestinians engaged in very violent riots, including attempts to breach the security wall separating Gaza from Israel, throwing Molotov cocktails, sending flaming kites towards Israel, etc. These acts, which endangered the lives of Israeli citizens, resulted in the unfortunate death of 62 Palestinians, at least 53 of whom were members of terrorist organizations. Let’s hope Hamas will end the violence so peace can be restored.

US Embassy, Jerusalem, Israel

US Embassy, Jerusalem, Israel

 

After nightfall on May 19 and on May 20, Israel celebrated the Jewish Holiday of Shavuot, Pentecost, on which Jews celebrate the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. It’s customary to learn Torah throughout the night. In Jerusalem, tens of thousands finish their nightime of study by walking to the Kotel, Western Wall, before dawn, to pray the morning prayer at sunrise. This practice began in 1967, when the army regained control of the Kotel a week before Shavuot and opened it to Jewish visitors on Shavuot. That year over 200,00 Jews came to pray at the site that had been off limits to them since 1948. Since then thousands of Jews continue to walk to the Kotel every Shavuot.

Crowds praying at dawn at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Israel.

Crowds praying at dawn at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Israel.

 

Now its back to the regular routine: for elementary, junior high and high school students until the end of school year in June; college students finish in June unless they they take classes in the summer semester, which ends in August; and for many employees until August, when most Israelis take their vacations.

The three week period of mourning for the Temple begins on July 1 and Tisha B’Av, the fast day for the two Temples, begins the night of  July 21.

The Jewish High Holidays are early this year. The first night of Rosh Hashanah is on September 9.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Holocaust, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israel, Israel Independence Day, Israel Memorial Day Yom Hazikaron, Jerusalem, Jerusalem Day, Jewish, Jewish Blog, Shavout, Video, Western Wall Kotel, Yom Haatzmaut, Yom Hazikaron, Yom Yerushalayim | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is Shavuot?

Spring Flowers mini This year, 2018, Shavuot falls on May 20 and May 21. How much do you know about Shavuot? Want to know more? Here are 10 questions and answers to help augment your Shavout knowledge.

Q. What does Shavuot mean?

A. Shavuot means weeks. It marks the end of the seven week countdown between Passover and Shavuot. Shavout commemorates the day G-d gave the 10 commandments and the Torah to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai. Shavuot also means Oaths. The Jewish people swore allegiance to G-d and he pledged his devotion to the Jewish people.

Q. Does Shavuot have any other names?

A. Yes. The Torah has three different names for Shavuot: Chag Shavuot, the Festival of Shavuot; Yom HaBikkurim- the Day of the First Fruits and Chag Hakatzir- the Festival of the Harvest. In the written record of the Oral Law it is called Atzeret- Restrain and in the prayers recited during Shavuot it is called Zeman Matan Torahteinu- the time of the giving of the Torah.

Q. What do these names refer to?

A. Shavuot is the only holiday described in the Torah which does not have a specific Jewish month and day ascribed to it. The Torah says only that Shavuot should be celebrated 50 days after the second day of Passover. This is because Passover and Shavuot are connected-  the purpose of the exodus from Egypt was to create a free Jewish people who would serve G-d and the way to do was by following the Torah which was given on Mount Sinai.                

Yom HaBikkurim- the Day of the First Fruits. In the days of  the Temple in Jerusalem, the Jewish farmer would tie a thread around the first fruits to start budding. The farmer would then bring these fruits in a basket to the Temple in Jerusalem starting from Shavuot and ending Chanukah.

Chag HaKatzir- the Harvest Festival, refers to the wheat harvest season which occurs around the time of Shavuot.

Atzeret- Restrain (from work)-  This name reminds us not to do work on Shavuot.

Zman Matan Torahteinu- the time of giving of the Torah- Shavuot commemorates the receipt of the Torah from G-d at Mount Sinai.

Q. Isn’t Shavuot also called Pentecost?

A. Yes,. Pentecost is the Greek name for Shavuot and means the 50th day. However, Pentecost also refers to the Christian Holiday of Pentecost which occurs 50 days after Easter and celebrates an occurrence in the life of Jesus.

Q. What are the Shavuot rituals?

A. Women and girls light candles to usher in the Holiday. On the first night of Shavuot it is customary to stay up all night learning Torah. On the first day of Shavuot, everyone goes to the synagogue to hear the Book of Ruth read from a scroll and the Ten Commandments read from the Torah. On the second day of Shavuot, Yitzkor- the prayer for the departed, is recited. Work is not permitted during the Holiday.

Q. What is the Book of Ruth?

A.  One of the books of the Bible which is named after the central figure, Ruth. It  tells the story of a Moabite woman, Ruth, who converts to Judaism and becomes part of the Jewish people.

Q. Why is the Book of Ruth read on Shavuot?

A. Ruth is the story of a person accepting the Torah and becoming part of the Jewish people. This is what all Jews did on Mount Sinai. Reading the story reminds us to rededicate ourselves to the Torah and the Jewish people.                                                  

Shavuot takes place during the harvest season and the story of Ruth takes place during the harvest season.                                              

Ruth was the ancestor of King David whose birth and death were on Shavuot.

Q.  Do we eat any special foods on Shavuot?

A. The Jewish tradition is to eat dairy foods on Shavuot, such as cheese blintzes, cheesecake, quiches, casseroles, etc.

Q. Why do we eat dairy food on Shavuot?

A. When the Jews received the Torah on Mount Sinai, they were not permitted to eat meat and dairy food together. So many people eat a separate dairy meal and a separate meat meal to commerate this. 

When the Jews received the Torah, they were only allowed to  eat meat which was slaughtered according to Jewish law. Since it was the Sabbath and since no such meat was available, they ate a dairy meal instead.

The numerical value of the Hebrew word for milk, chalav, is 40. This corresponds to the 40 days Moses spent on Mount Sinai before receiving the Torah.

The Torah is compared to milk.

Q. Are there any other traditions on Shavuot?

A. It is customary to decorate the synagogue and the house with greenery and flowers in honor of Shavuot. The most common reason given for the custom is that sheep and cattle were not allowed to graze facing Mount Sinai when theTorah was given. However, since the Torah was given in a desert, a miracle must have occurred, temporarily turning the desert area into one filled with greenery.

Other explanations include: the fact that Moses was placed in a reed basket in the Nile on the second day of Shavuot; a way of remembering  that the custom  was to decorate the baskets of the first fruits brought to the Temple on Shavuot with flowers and greenery. 

                                                       HAPPY SHAVUOT!

Categories: Jewish Holidays, religion, Shavout | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Passover Questions and Answers

seder Table 1

Passover is almost here. The first seder is on the night of March 30, 2018. To help you understand Passover ,or Pesach as it’s known in Hebrew, better we have compiled a list of general questions and answers. Hope they answer some of the questions you had about Passover.

Q. What is the story of Passover?

A. Passover, known in Hebrew as Pesach, commemorates the emancipation of the Jews from slavery in Egypt and their Exodus from Egypt, led by Moses, in 1313 BCE. It also celebrates their miraculous deliverance at the Red Sea from the Egyptian army who pursued them.

Q. Why is Passover so important?

  1. Passover is very important to the Jews since it marks the emancipation of the Jews and the beginning of their nationhood.

Q. Where is the story of Passover mentioned in the Bible, or Torah?

A.  Exodus- 1-15.

Q. What are the dates of Passover in  2018?

A. Passover begins at sundown March 30 and ends nightfall April 7.

Q. How are the dates of Passover determined?

  1. The dates of Passover, similar to all other Jewish Holidays, are determined by the Jewish calendar which is a lunar calendar. Passover always begins on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month of Nissan. Due to the discrepancies between the lunar and solar calendars, Passover falls on different days of the Gregorian solar calendar each year.

Q. Can Passover fall on the Sabbath?

A. Yes.  And this year, 2018, Passover begins on Friday night, March 30, which is also the start of the Jewish Sabbath.

Q. Where is Passover celebrated?

A. It is celebrated by Jews throughout the world in their homes and synagogues.

Q. Where did Passover get its name?

  1. During the last of the ten plagues,- the slaying of the first born-the Lord “passed over” the homes of the Jews which they had marked with pascal blood on their doorposts and its lintels.

Q. When is the Seder Held?

  1. The seder is held on the first two nights of Passover, this year March 30 and March 31 (In Israel, only one seder is held; this year on March 30.)

Q. How many days is Passover celebrated?

  1. Passover is celebrated for eight days (seven in Israel.)

Q. Why is Passover celebrated for seven days in Israel and eight days everywhere else?

A. The Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar. In Temple times, it was set monthly based on sightings of each new moon.  The presence of the new moon was communicated to the many Jews living further away -e.g. Persia, by means of a system of smoke signals. It would take time for all Jews to be notified of the sightings, sometimes even a day later. To ensure all Holidays would be observed at the proper time, one day was added to each festival just in case. However, in Israel, Jews knew when the new moon was sighted, so they did not observe the additional day. By the Fifth century,  a permanent calendar was developed which was independent of new moon sightings. This is the calendar used today. But the tradition of the additional day for those living outside of Israel is maintained.

Q. Which days of Passover are most important?

A. The first two days and the last two days (first day and last day in Israel

), since on these days Jews must desist from work.

Q. How has the celebration of Passover changed over the years?

  1. In the afternoon before the Jews left Egypt, they sacrificed a lamb, roasted it and ate it in the evening together with matzah (unleavened bread) and bitter herbs. The first year after the exodus, when the Jews were wandering in the desert, Passover was also celebrated this way. However, the next time Passover was celebrated this way was after the Jews had conquered Israel and taken possession of the land. The eating of the sacrificial lamb continued annually while the two Temples stood. Afterwards, the rabbis established the Passover seder which is now held on the first two nights of Passover. Only the Samaritans still practice the ritual of the sacrificial lamb today.

Q. How is Passover observed today?

  1. Jews observe Passover today by eating Matzah during Passover, avoiding leaven and holding seders commemorating the emancipation from Egypt, which include the drinking of four cups of wine, eating Matzah and bitter herbs and retelling the story of the Exodus.

Q. Why do Jews eat Matzah during Passover?

A. The Bible, Torah, commands Jews to eat Matzah during Passover to commerate the Matzah which they ate while fleeing Egypt. They had planned to eat bread, but they left in such a hurry that the dough did not have time to rise. Matzah was also the food given to them as slaves and the food eaten on the night before the Exodus.

Q. Why don’t Jews eat leaven, flour with yeast, during Passover?

Passover gifts? The Torah, Bible, says in Exodus 12:14-17 that to commemorate the Exodus, Jews should observe the festival of Passover by removing leaven from their homes before the festival and eating only unleavened bread during the festival.

Looking for Passover gifts? Check out JewTee’s Passover:bibs, onesies  t shirts, sweatshirts, jerseys, kids tees, bibs, onesies, hats, mugs, aprons, seder pillows, tote bags cards, and even dog shirts here.

Categories: Jewish, Passover | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Hanukkah Facts and Blessings

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Shalom Y’all:

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy!

This year JewTee has decided to feature articles about the fast approaching Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, or  Chanukah, a holiday of joy and thanksgiving. We all know that on Hanukkah you light candles, play the dreidel and eat latkes, but why do we do these things? Read on to find out the answers to these and many other Hanukkah questions.

When is Hanukkah 2017?

Hanukkah 2017 begins the evening of December 12th and lasts until nightfall December 20, 2017. 

What does Hanukkah mean?

Hanukkah, or Chanukah, is the Hebrew word for dedication or inauguration. The word Chanukah in Hebrew can also be divided into two Hebrew words: Chanu- meaning they rested, and Kah-here.  In addition, the numerical value of the Hebrew letters which spell Chanukah is 25. On the 25th day of Kislev, the Hebrew date of Chanukah, the Maccabees rested from fighting and rededicated the Temple.

What is the History of Hanukkah?

The history of Hanukkah starts with Alexander the Great. When he conquered Syria, Egypt and Israel, he  allowed the countries he conquered to practice their own religion and gave them a bit of autonomy. Some Jews liked the Hellenistic pagan culture and began to adopt Greek language, names, customs and dress.

More than 100 years later, a descendent of Alexander, the Seleucid Greek King Antiochus IV ruled the area. In 168 BCE, thinking the Jews had revolted, as they had forced his Hellenistic High priest designee to flee, he entered Jerusalem, massacring thousands of Jews and enslaving thousands more. Siding with the Hellenists against the Traditionalists, he forbade the practice of Judaism, including the Sabbath, circumcision and dietary laws, under the penalty of death. Torah scrolls were confiscated and burned. He restored his Hellenistic High Priest and further defiled the Temple by placing a statue of Jupiter above the altar and requiring that pigs be sacrificed there to the pagan god.  The King then ordered representatives to go from town to town to force the people to worship the pagan gods. Those who refused were put to death. 

When they reached the town of Modiin, where Mattityahu, the old priest lived, an altar was built in the center of the village and a Greek officer demanded that Mattityahu offer sacrifices to the Greek gods. When he refused, a Hellenistic Jew attempted to offer such a sacrifice. Mattityahu  killed him. His five sons and their friends then killed the  Greek overseer and destroyed the altar. This band of Jews fled to the hills and formed a guerilla army. So began the war against the Hellenistic Jews and the Greeks. 

Before his death, Mattityahu designated his oldest son Judah, nicknamed Maccabee, Hammer, to lead the battle against the Greeks and the Hellenistic Jews. Judah’s followers were called the Maccabees, which is also an acronym for the Hebrew phrase- Who Is Like You Among the Powers,  Oh Lord.

The Greeks fought the Maccabees and their followers. After three years, in 165 BCE, the Maccabees managed to reconquer Jerusalem. The Temple had been used as a pagan sanctuary in which pigs were sacrificed on its altar. The Maccabees cleaned the temple, built a new altar and menorah, as the real one had been melted down by the Greeks. The Maccabees then rededicated the Temple on the 25th of Kislev, which is the Hebrew date on which we begin the celebration of Chanukah.

When they attempted to light the Menorah with pure olive oil from jars with the High Priest’s seal, they found only one vial, containing enough oil to last but one day. This was problematic, as the Menorah was supposed to be lit daily. Miraculously, it lasted for eight days, which was enough time for a new supply of oil to be produced.  To commemorate this miracle, the sages established an eight day holiday of thanksgiving and candle lighting.

Hanukkah really celebrates two miracles- the military victory of the vastly outnumbered Jewish army over the Seleucid Greeks and the spiritual victory of Jewish values over Hellenism, symbolized by the rededication of the Temple. The candles that we light memorialize the spiritual victory.

Hanukkah Traditions and Foods

The most important Jewish tradition relating to Hanukkah is the lighting of the Hanukkah candles. Here are some questions and answers concerning the lighting of the Hanukkah candles.

How many Hanukkah Menorahs Should I Set Up for My Family?

In the Sephardic (Jews originally from the Iberian peninsula) tradition, only one Menorah per household is lit. In Ashkenazic tradition, each member of the household  lights his or her own menorah.

Which Hanukkah Candles Should I Use?

Many people like to use olive oil, since the miracle of Hanukkah involved olive oil. These days many Jewish bookstores, including those online, sell pre-measured olive oil in disposable glass cups which fit into the cupholders of many standard menorahs. But wax candles are fine also as long as they last at least 30 minutes after nightfall.

Where Should I Place My Menorah?

The idea is to publicize the miracle of the lights. So, if possible, place it outside the house on the left side of the front door, where passerby will see it. If you live on an upper floor, or placing it outside is not feasible, put it next to the window facing the street. If this is also not feasible, then place it inside the house on a table.

When Should I Light the Candles?

It’s best to light the candles at nightfall. However, as long as people are still awake, it can be lit even late at night.

However, on Friday night the Hanukkah candles should be lit before the Sabbath lights, at least 18 minutes before sundown. Since the Hanukkah candles still need to burn for at least 30 minutes after nightfall, many people use Sabbath candles, as these last longer than the usual colored Hanukkah candles.

Is there a particular way to light the Hanukkah candles?

On the first night, place the candle at the far right, as you face the menorah. The helper candle, the Shamash, which is used to light the candle, is not counted as a candle. It should have a designated place on your menorah.

First light the Shamash, then recite the blessings, and then light the Hanukkah candle using the Shamash.

On the second night, begin by placing one candle on the right, followed by another on the right. Light the candle to the left, first. The principle is as follows -place candles in the Chanukah menorah from right to left; light the Hanukkah candles in order from left to right. This means that the candle added that night will always be lit first.

The first two blessings are said with the Shamash already lit, but immediately prior to lighting the Chanukah candles.

Blessing #1 

Baruch ata Ado-noi Elo-heinu melech ha-olam, Asher kid-shanu bi-mitzvo-sav, Vi-tzee-vanu li-had-leek ner shel Chanukah.

Blessed are You, the Lord our G-d, King of the universe, Who sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah candle.

Blessing #2 

Baruch ata Ado-noi Elo-heinu melech ha-olam, Shi-asa nee-seem la-avo-seinu, Baya-meem ha-haim baz-man ha-zeh.

Blessed are You, the Lord our G-d, King of the universe, Who made miracles for our forefathers, in those days at this season.

Blessing #3

This blessing is said on the first night only. 

Baruch ata Ado-noi Elo-heinu melech ha-olam, Sheh-he-che-yanu vi-kee-yimanu Vi-hee-gee-yanu laz-man ha-zeh.

Blessed are You, the Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season. Afterwards, we say the following:

Ha-nerot ha-lalu anach-nu mad-likin Al ha-nissim vi-al hanif-laot Al ha-tshu-ot vi-al ha-milchamot She-asita la’avo-teinu Ba-yamim ha-heim, ba-zman ha-zeh Al ye-dey kohan-echa haki-doshim.

Vi-chol shmonat ye-mey Chanukah Ha-nerot ha-lalu kodesh heim, Ve-ein lanu reshut li-heesh-tamesh ba-hem Ela leer-otam bilvad Kedai le-hodot u-li-hallel li-shimcha Al ni-secha vi-al niflo-techa vi-al yeshua-techa.

 We kindle these lights for the miracles and the wonders, and for the salvation and for the battles which You performed for our forefathers, in those days , at this season, through your holy priests. These lights are sacred for all eight days of Chanukah and we do not have permission to make personal use of them, but only to look at them in order to express thanks and praise to your great Name for Your miracles, Your wonders and Your salvation.

To watch the Chanukah candles being lit and to hear the blessings, click here:

There’s still time to buy Hanukkah shirts, mugs, aprons and other gifts from JewTee.com. To see our entire collection of Jewish and Hanukkah apparel and gifts, click here:

Our next post, will highlight Hanukkah foods and another Chanukah traditions. 

 

 

Categories: Chanukah, Chanukah Hanukkah T Shirts and Gifts, Hanukkah, hanukkah blessings, Hanukkah Facts, Hanukkah Traditions, Jewish Blog, Jewish Holidays, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Four Reasons Why Tisha B’Av Is Relevant Today

Temple Burning Tisha B’av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, is a fast day commemorating  the destruction of both the First and Second Temples located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the subsequent exile of Jews from their country. This year it begins at sundown July 31 and ends at nightfall on August 1st. 

A number of other calamities also befell the Jewish people on that day including: the crushing of Bar Kochba’s revolt against Roman rule and the death of 580,00 Jews in Israel as a result of it; the official start of the First Crusade which killed 10,000 Jews in France and Germany during the first month alone; the expulsion of the Jews from England, France and Spain; the beginning of the mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto; and Himmler’s receipt of approval from the Nazi party for the “Final Solution,” which resulted in the death of six million Jews.

While  these seasons are more than sufficient to warrant a day of fasting, many Jews  wonder if the fast is still relevant today since the main reasons for the fast – the destruction of the two Temples and the city of Jerusalem and the expulsion of its citizens- is not as relevant today.  Jerusalem has been rebuilt and united and Jews have returned to Jerusalem and to Israel. However, as we will see, Tisha B’Av is extremely relevant to us today.

  1. The Temple- Although the Temple has not been rebuilt, Israel is in possession of the site on which the first two Temples were erected- the Temple Mount. However, as evidenced by recent events, the Temple Mount is far from being”in our hands.” The unfortunate decision to leave the Waqf, an Islamic trust controlled by Jordan, in administrative charge of the Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, has resulted in the belief by Palestinians and most other Muslims that the Temple Mount belongs to them. Furthermore, despite historical and archeological evidence to the contrary, Muslims have proclaimed that Jews have no connection to the site and to East Jerusalem. This July, the World Heritage committee of UNESCO passed a resolution disavowing Israeli sovereignty of the Old City Of Jerusalem, which includes the Western wall and the Temple Mount. How Christian countries which believe in the Bible and New Testament can agree to such nullification of their own history is beyond belief. The decision by Israel to remove all security devices from the gates leading to the Mount has reinforced the Arab belief in their sovereignty over the site. Clearly, the Temple Mount is not “in our hands.”
  2. Anti Semitism- Anti Zionism is the new Anti Semitism. Anti Semitism is alive and well and is ever increasing its hold on the populations of the world. In Arab countries, it’s in their mother milk. Although some Arab leaders may secretly want to cooperate with Israel, the incitement and hatred promulgated through the years has created an Arab population whose pores ooze anti semitism. The European populace, bolstered by the large influx of muslim refugees, is not Jew friendly. America is seeing a rise in anti semitism that is likely to continue.
  3. The Diaspora- Only half the World’s Jews live in Israel. That means that the other half live in the Diaspora. While life in the Diaspora can be good, Israel is intended to be the homeland of the Jews. For two thousand years Jews prayed for their return to Jerusalem. Now that this is possible, Jews should put their money where their mouth is and come to live in Israel.
  4. Lack of Respect- The Rabbis say that one of the main reasons the second Temple was destroyed was because of the lack of respect Jews paid to each other. Today, this lack of respect has become endemic. Different Jewish sectors totally disparage each other- religious and secular, Haredim and other Jews, Orthodox and Conservative and Reform, and factions within these groups. If we don’t respect each other, how can we expect others to respect us? Only when there is a national crisis, do most groups pull together and briefly behave as one people.

So what can we do to try to better the situation and turn Tisha B’Av from a day of fasting into a day of rejoicing? To begin with, we need to vociferously denounce all attempts at denying the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. We must make it clear to everyone that Israel is the Jewish state both historically and legally and all attempts to deny this are false. In addition, Jews must visit Jerusalem and the Western Wall in large numbers to make it clear to all that Jerusalem and Israel belongs to the Jews.

The solution to Diaspora Jewry is clear. They should come to Israel now, of their own volition, before they are forced to leave. Those who are afraid of religious coercion need not worry. Israel is a democracy and all forms of Jewish worship are welcome. There is an egalitarian section of the Wall and it will be expanded and made even more aesthetically pleasing. Those looking to find meaning in their lives can reconnect with Judaism in a Jewish country in which one need not strive to hide one’s Jewishness to be accepted. Institutions of Jewish learning abound and are very welcoming.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for anti semitism. It will continue to gain new adherents. As the world becomes an ever more dangerous place, the Jews as scapegoat, aka Israel, will continue to grow in popularity, as expressions of sympathy with Israel will be forbidden. The recent lesbian marches are prime examples. However, all efforts should be made to counter this anti semitism in every way possible.

Finally, Jews need to begin treating each other with greater respect. There is no reason for name calling, or shaming Jews with whom one disagrees. One need not agree with a fellow Jew, but should not make the disagreement a basis for the denigration of the other. Multiple viewpoints can and should exist and the merits of each debated respectfully. We must remember that all Jews are family and we must try to act accordingly.

May everyone’s fast be easy and meaningful. May our next Tisha B’Av will be one of rejoicing, not mourning.

Categories: Anti Semitism, Israel, Jerusalem, Jewish, Jewish Blog, Politics, Temple Mount, Tisha B"av, UNESCO, Western Wall Kotel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Kotel and Conversion Controversy- A Tempest In A Teapot?

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As I sat in my living room yesterday on an overcast fast day marking the beginning of the three week mourning period for the two destroyed Temples in Jerusalem, I could not help but reflect on the current Kotel and Conversion controversy which threatens to weaken the ties between Israel and its brothers and sisters in the Diaspora. One of the main reasons the Rabbis give for the destruction of the Second Temple, is Sinas Chinom, the baseless hatred of one Jew to another. This, I fear, is what this controversy may lead to.

Does Israel really not care for Diaspora Jews and is it indifferent to their feelings and religious beliefs? Is Israel a country a country controlled by the Haredim, or (Ultra Orthodox), whose every whim is honored? Do secular, Reform and Conservative Jews really not have a place where they can pray as they wish in the Kotel complex?

Nothing could be further from the truth. Israel values and appreciates Diaspora Jews of all types. The country is not controlled by Haredim. In fact, 44% of Israeli Jews self identify as secular, while only 9% identify as Haredim. There is a pretty area near the Kotel set up for egalitarian prayer. Unlike the separate areas for men and women at the Kotel, which are often crowded and under the direct sun, the egalitarian area is shaded and often empty.

So why the uproar? It’s mainly about the Compromise bill on the Kotel, the Western Wall, which was approved by Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and Haredi ministers, but frozen at the last minute at the behest of the Haredi party in the government. Yes, since the Haredim initially approved the compromise, they should have gone along with it. if the compromise was not acceptable to them, they should never have approved it. If later they were not happy with it, they should have discussed their objections with the other parties to the compromise. The freezing of the compromise bill and the lack of notice and consultation with parties to the agreement, greatly angered those affected, especially, the Reform and Conservative movements. The bill would have given the power to oversee the egalitarian space to a committee that would have included representatives of Conservative and Reform Judaism. The freezing of the bill means that the egalitarian area will continue to be overseen only by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation. This loss of power over a segment of Judaism’s holiest site was a big blow to the non Orthodox movements and they reacted accordingly.

However, their reactions made it seem as if the Israel government had denied the right of non Orthodox people to pray in an egalitarian area at the Wall. That’s fake news. The egalitarian area is alive and well and this bill does not change that. In fact, the government said that the area will be enlarged and made even more  aesthetically pleasing. However, through this bill, Conservative and Reform Judaism hoped to gain official recognition as alternate forms of Judaism in Israel. Both the Reform and Conservative movements are very weak in Israel, as Israelis who are religious are generally traditional, Orthodox or Haredi, and those who are secular usually do not belong to any movement. So this was the opportunity the  two movements were waiting for to become official alternate forms of Judaism, and it failed.

While their disappointment and anger is justified, making it seem that the Israeli government is ignoring the needs of Diaspora Jews is just not true. There is an egalitarian area for prayer and no one is taking that away. The potential loss of power of the Conservative and Reform movements of the egalitarian prayer space is inconsequential to all but the movements’ leaders. Members of these movements will not be affected in any way by the freezing of the Compromise bill.

The Conversion bill which would have given sole authority for conversions in Israel to the Chief Rabbinate also would not change the status of Reform and Conservative Jews. All conversions in Israel are currently done under Orthodox auspices. The bill would only have prevented private Orthodox courts, a desirable alternative for many, from granting conversions in Israel. The conversion bill would not have changed anything under the Law of Return.

The Kotel is a religious area. Religious Jews have been praying there and preserving its holiness for millennia. They pray daily for the restoration of the Temple and fast a few times a year to commemorate events which negatively affected the Temples’ existence. The Kotel is open to all, as is the egalitarian area. The failure of the Compromise bill to pass has not affected the rights of secular Jews to pray there in any way. All Jews, no matter how they were converted in the Diaspora, are still Israeli citizens under the Law of Return.

So let’s put this incident in perspective. Leaders of the Reform and Conservative movement suffered a loss of power, but their members were not negatively affected in any way. So let’s stop insinuating that the Israeli government took away the rights of secular Jews to pray, or failed to appreciate their invaluable contributions to Israel.

In these trying times, when anti semitism is rebounding, let’s remember that we are all Jews, regardless of our way of showing it. Let’s unite behind Israel, which is the only Jewish state in the world and the only country which can guarantee that Jews will not be discriminated against because they are Jewish. Israel needs the Diaspora Jews and the Diaspora Jews need Israel.

Show your support by coming to Israel and praying at the Kotel or its egalitarian area. You’ll be glad you did.

Categories: Israel, Jerusalem, Jewish, Jewish Blog, Judaism, religion, religious freedom, Western Wall Kotel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Jerusalem Day Is Important For Jews

                  

Last night and today Israelis celebrated Jerusalem Day, or Yom Yerushalayim, as its called in Hebrew. This year marks the 50th anniversary of this momentous day.

Just why are they celebrating and why should Jews everywhere celebrate the day? This day marks the high point of the Six Day War, in 1967, when Israeli soldiers liberated eastern Jerusalem and the Old City and were finally able to see, touch and pray at the Western Wall, the Kotel.

Why is this important? Tuesday of this week Trump paid respects to the holiest site in Jerusalem by praying there. Prior to this, during the illegal Jordanian occupation  of the eastern half of Jerusalem (from 1948-1967). Jews were expelled from the area and were barred from praying at the Wall. Rachel’s Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs were also off limits. Jerusalem was a divided city, divided in half by a concrete wall topped by barbed wire. Jordanian snippers regularly fired into Western Jerusalem. As a result of the Six Day War, Israel regained control of all of Jerusalem. It reunified the city and extended Israeli law to all its parts. It also guaranteed freedom of worship and protection of the holy sites of all religions.

Is this the only reason the Six Day war is important? Not all all. As a result of the war, Israel more than tripled the size of the area under its jurisdiction, from 8,000 to 26,000 square miles, about the size of New Jersey. Israel captured the SInai (which it later returned to Egypt), the Golan Heights (from Syria), the Gaza Strip (which was controlled by Egypt) and from which Israel withdrew its forces and expelled its citizens in 2005, and the West Bank.

It was a momentous miraculous victory. Three armies- Egypt, Jordan and Syria were massed to attack Israel. Frenzied mobs called for its destruction. The United Nations peacekeeping force assigned to Sinai to keep peace between Egypt and Israel was forced to leave by the Egyptians. Israel stood alone against three armies. A victory by those forces would have, Heaven forbid, resulted in the elimination of the Jewish State. This was one war Israel had to win. And win it did, but the victory came at a high cost. Israel lost twice as many men in proportion to its population as the United States lost in its eight year war in Vietnam.

And what if Israel had won, but had not captured any territory. Well, the Golan Heights would have remained under Syrian control. That means that Israel would have been infested with Hezbollah and ISIS fighters. Jerusalem would have remained a divided city, with the Old City of Jerusalem remaining under Jordanian control. Jews would have been barred from the Wall and from living in East Jerusalem. Israel would, in fact, have been hard pressed to remain stable and safe. Without ’67, Israel’s enemies would be demanding their rights to Tel Avi, Haifa and of course the western part of Jerusalem. The ’67 war turned Israel into a viable nation.

Why is a united Jerusalem important to all Jews? Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel, the land of the Jews. It was Israel’s capital thousands of years ago and has never been the capital of any other country. It is the heart and soul of Israel. Jerusalem cannot be divided. Asking Israel to do so, is not only against Israel’s interests, but also against the world’s interests. Israel safeguards all holy places and allows freedom of access to all. In contrast, the Jordanians who control the Temple Mount refuse to let Jews even mumble a prayer on the Mount, but they let their children play sports on the plaza. So much for its holiness. Control of the holy places by the Palestinians, or even international forces which can be expelled by the host country, will not ensure freedom of access to all. Rachel’s Tomb, which is in Bethlehem, is now covered by concrete and barred wire to ensure the safety of its visitors. The Tomb of Joseph in Nablus is not safe for Jews to visit. The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron requires an armed Israeli presence to protect worshippers. In short, only Israel guarantees the safety of Holy Places under its rule. Furthermore, it would not take long for Hamas to take control of any area ceded to the Palestinians  by Israel. Those would be dangerous times for Israel and its neighbors.

But there’s more. In order for Israel to remain viable, it needs to have defensible borders. It’s neighbors have waged war against it and while Israel has signed peace treaties with some, others are waiting to pounce on it. And Israel must remain strong, very strong. Israel is the last place of refuge for Jews. As anti semitism and terror raise their ugly heads in all parts of the world, Jews now have place of refuge, a place where they can live openly and freely as Jews and where all can pray at the holiest of all synagogues. Those are real reasons to celebrate.

Categories: Anti Semitism, Hamas, Israel, Jerusalem, Jerusalem Day, Middle East, Politics, Pro Israel Post, religious freedom, Terrorism, Yom Yerushalayim | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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