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Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah – Jewish holidays

By |2017-08-25T11:57:45-07:00August 25th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Apples For thousands of years, the Jews celebrated their New Year around the beginning of spring, just like everybody else in West Asia. Passover was probably port of this old New Year celebration. Sometime before 100 AD, though, the Jews split off from this ancient tradition and began to celebrate a different new year, the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, [...]

What is the Talmud? History of Judaism

By |2018-04-08T01:10:59-07:00August 25th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

The Mishnah is at the top center, the Gemara is in the center of the page, Rashi is on the right, and other later commentators are on the left and bottom. About 200 AD, rabbis from all over West Asia, some living under Roman rule and some under Sassanian rule, began to write down their discussions of how [...]

What’s a synagogue? History of Judaism

By |2017-08-25T12:00:25-07:00August 25th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

The remains of the Second Temple in Jerusalem Synagogue in Greek means a place for coming together, a meeting place, and that is what a synagogue (SIN-ah-gog) is. It is a building where Jews come together and pray to their God. In this way it is a lot like a Christian church. The most important difference is that [...]

What is Sukkot? – Jewish holidays

By |2017-08-25T10:31:10-07:00August 25th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Sukkah - a temporary house just for the holiday People along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea first began celebrating Sukkot probably at least six thousand years ago, when they were beginning to be farmers. Like Passover and Hanukkah, Sukkot was a harvest festival. After plowing, planting, pulling weeds, watering, and worrying about whether diseases or storms would wreck the [...]

Sodom and Gomorrah – Bible stories

By |2018-04-09T10:35:31-07:00August 25th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Lot's wife turns to a pillar of salt as God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah. Morgan Bible, France, 1250s AD (commissioned by Louis IX) One story from the Bible about how nomads were good and cities were bad is about the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. In the time of Abraham, after the Jews had moved to [...]

Second Jewish revolt – Jewish history

By |2017-08-25T10:13:15-07:00August 25th, 2017|History, West Asia|

The Roman emperor Hadrian, 117-138 AD (now in the British Museum) During the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, the Jews once again tried to get free of Roman rule. But like the First Jewish Revolt, this revolt failed as well. In addition, Hadrian hated the Jews. Hadrian was really into anything Greek, including Greek religion. [...]

Samson and Delilah story – Bible stories

By |2018-05-22T23:12:35-07:00August 25th, 2017|History, Religion, West Asia|

Samson and Delilah story: Samson (or David?) wrestles the lion. Silk tapestry, probably from Syria, in the 600s AD Backstory of Samson and Delilah Just as the Jews were finally getting rid of the Canaanites, around 1100 BC, the Bible says that a new enemy came to Israel. These were the Philistines (FILL-uh-steens). (More about the Philistines) [...]

Who was Rashi? Jewish history – Middle Ages

By |2018-04-12T00:08:10-07:00August 24th, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Troyes, France Shlomo Yitzhaki, or Shlomo son of Yitzak, was a Jewish man born in Troyes, France, in 1040 AD. This was when the Capetian kings ruled France. Shlomo was an only child, and his father home schooled him. When Shlomo was a teenager, his father died. Shlomo got married at 17, but soon he left [...]

What is a rabbi? Judaism – Religion

By |2018-09-10T09:58:12-07:00August 24th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

The rabbi Maimonides, in a later medieval painting What does "rabbi" mean? Rabbi means "great one" in Hebrew, or "respected one". It's a Hebrew word related to the Arabic word rabb, meaning "lord." Saying "Rabbi" showed respect, like calling someone "Sir". More about the Hebrew language When did the word "rabbi" get started? In [...]

Where did Purim come from? Jewish holidays

By |2019-03-22T11:03:51-07:00August 24th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Mordecai is leading Esther (on the horse) to talk to the Persian king. A fresco from the world's oldest preserved synagogue at Dura-Europos in Syria (244 AD) How did Purim get started? At first, maybe as early as the Stone Age, Purim was a Jewish winter festival that was probably related to the Babylonian [...]