Browsing Tag

bizarre rituals


Purify Your Life With 17th-Century German Jewish Magic!

By On October 31, 2017

If you like your self-help books to feature Medieval Jewish magic, The Book of Abramelin is for you. Thought to have been written by the German Jewish Talmudist Rabbi Yaakov Moelin around… Read More


Why Some Jews Cut Their Fingernails in a Funny Order

By On April 26, 2017

Jewish tradition has a strange and ancient obsession with fingernails. So ancient, in fact, that it dates back to the biblical human originals themselves, Adam and Eve, who were said to have… Read More

Trump’s Supporters Are Making Us Miss the E-Mezuzah

Could the E-Mezuzah Have Saved the Internet?

By On August 4, 2016

Given that Deuteronomy tells us, “And you shall inscribe them on the doorposts (mezuzot) of our house and on your gates,” Jews generally affix a mezuzah to the doorway of their homes.… Read More


How Big Is Your Afikoman?

By On April 9, 2014

How many Saltines can you eat in a minute? How about an even harder challenge: How much matzah can you eat when it comes time to eat the afikoman? And how much maror can you eat before… Read More

Latkes Versus Hamantaschen

The Ultimate Jewish Question: Latkes or Hamantaschen?

By On March 14, 2014

As we approach the holiday of noshing hamantaschen, scholars will once again take on a pressing argument. Which is superior: the latke or the hamantasch? Is such a quibble worthy of any high-minded… Read More


The Passover After-Party

By On April 3, 2013

Passover’s over; Mimouna is here! Or, more probably, there. Originally little-known outside of North Africa, Mimouna is now a popular Israeli holiday. The one-day affair, which begins at sundown on the last day of Passover,… Read More


Hasidic Yoga

By On January 3, 2013

The end of a sun-scorched street in the Israeli Haredi enclave of Ramat Beit Shemesh is probably not where you’d expect to find a yoga studio. But proprietors Rachel and Avraham Kolberg learned the practice… Read More


Mitzvah Tantz

By On August 20, 2012

The mitzvah tantz is one of  Hasidic Judaism’s most bizarre rituals. It takes place at weddings, when the leading members of a community–a prominent rabbi or the bride’s new father-in-law, or both–dance before her. According to the Talmud,… Read More

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