Throughout the year, we offer a variety of ways to incorporate Jewish learning into your daily life. Here are three you might not have thought of yet. In this article, religious educator Samuel Waldman will give you tips on how to integrate Jewish learning into different aspects of your life and help you discover new ways to make it happen.
Shabbat: Start the week with a day of rest
It might come as a surprise to learn that not only the Jewish people, but many other cultures as well, observe a day of rest each week. The Jewish sabbath is observed from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday. Observing this week of rest is an important ritual for most Jews, who believe it is a time to take a break from their normal schedules and connect with their inner spirituality. While the practice of Judaism began nearly 3,000 years ago, modern technology has made it possible to observe the sabbath in a new way. With the advent of smartphones, apps, and other digital technologies, many modern Jews have discovered a way to ease the transition between work and their sabbath by still being connected with family and friends during the week of rest.
Torah study: Commit to an ongoing program
Teaching a child basic Jewish values can be a daunting task. Studying the Torah, the Jewish holy scriptures, is often seen as a rite of passage for Jewish men. While many Jewish women also have a desire to learn Torah, Torah study is not as commonly encouraged for women as it is for men. Still, it is a great way to take charge of your own Judaism and give your life meaning. There are many halachic (lawful) options for Torah study. You can commit to learning certain books of Jewish law, reading together as a family, or participating in a community program. There are many ways to learn Torah. You can learn a short Torah portion (approximately a week’s worth of text) a few times a year, or you can commit to a program that allows you to learn the entire Torah over several years. You can also choose to learn a different section of the Torah each season: fall for the holidays, winter for wisdom, or summer for inspiration. As Samuel Waldman explains, Torah study can be as simple or as intensive as you want it to be.
Hachanun: Eat together as a community on the last Friday of every month
When you hear the word “hanukkah,” what do you think of? Probably images of a family gathering together to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Perhaps you remember the menorah in the center of the table as a source of inspiration. While these are symbols of Hanukkah and part of the celebrations, there is something much more profound about the Hanukkah holiday. Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Maccabees over the Greek Seleucid Empire, which had tried to wipe out the Jewish religion. Hanukkah is a holiday of unity, showing how Jews were one people even in the face of great hardship. Hanukkah is a time for Jewish families to come together and celebrate together. As Samuel Waldman suggests, there are several ways you can help make this happen. First, make sure your family is included. Second, find an activity that brings your family together, even if it is just sitting around the table and talking. Third, plan a special meal together with someone in your family who might not otherwise get to celebrate Hanukkah.
From Martini Mitzvah to Menorah Mitzvah: Celebrating Jewish holidays in new ways
There are many Jewish traditions that are often overlooked. While some may seem like an unnecessary burden, they are actually important parts of Jewish life. One such tradition is the mitzvah to light a menorah during the holiday of hanukkah. While many families light a menorah during hanukkah, many people forget the mitzvah once the holiday is over. This menorah mitzvah can be a powerful reminder of the importance of keeping Jewish traditions alive. There are many Jewish holidays that are often overlooked. The mitzvah to light a menorah during the holiday of hanukkah is often forgotten. This menorah mitzvah can be a powerful reminder of the importance of keeping Jewish traditions alive.