Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 7:11 am
Credit The Jewish Museum, New York / Art Resource, NY
At Hanukkah, many Jewish families celebrate with foods such as latkes and donuts that are fried in oil. The tradition honors the story of the miracle that occurred when a one-day supply of oil burned for eight days inside a temple under siege by the enemy .
Some Jews also eat dishes like kugel, cheesecake or rugelah that all share one ingredient — cheese. But how did cheese make it onto the holiday menu?
It starts (as many of these tales do) with a woman. This woman was Judith.
An ancient circumcision ritual is at the center of a present-day legal battle in New York.
The New York City Department of Health wants to require parental consent for a controversial circumcision practice, which it says can spread the herpes virus. But several Jewish organizations are suing to block the new rule, which they say violates their freedom of religion.
For thousands of years the Jewish people have been forced to move around — fleeing bigotry, slavery, pogroms, famines and tyrants. But words are portable, and to Jews — who are among those known as "the People of the Book" — they are precious possessions. As Amos Oz and his daughter, Fania Oz-Salzberger, write in their new book, Jews and Words, "Ours is not a bloodline, but a text line."