Happy Passover

Seder foods (Image courtesy of Wikimedia user Jonathunder)
Seder foods
(Image courtesy of Wikimedia user Jonathunder)

Passover is the one Holiday besides the New Year which is celebrated by a majority of all Jews from around the globe. The preparations for this Holiday very often drive people nuts.  The commandment is not to have any leavened product in your home during this 8 day period; this means that the house must be cleared of bread and all other such foodstuffs. And that’s on top of cleaning and cooking in preparation for the family gathering. Especially with small children in the household, it’s not hard to see why people get a little crazy at this time of year!   Continue reading

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The Celebration of Purim

Hamentashen, a traditional Purim sweet (CC image by Rebecca Slegel)
Hamantaschen, a traditional Purim sweet (CC image by Rebecca Slegel)

The observation of Purim begins the evening of February 28th through March 1st.

Purim is a holiday that represents a tangible victory over an enemy. Many things are done to commemorate this victory. The Book of Esther is read both on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. People go around in costume to show their happiness, a festive meal is eaten, and charity is given to help those who otherwise couldn’t celebrate this occasion. People give out packages of food to friends (usually in the form of a dessert) to celebrate camaraderie.

For more on the history and celebration of this holiday, see “Who is that masked man?” Happy Purim!

Contributed by: Edward Shabes, Library Assistant, Midtown

 

(Originally posted in 2016)

Chanukah: The Festival of Lights

A Chanukah menorah (or chanukia) (CC0 image via Wikipedia)
A Chanukah Menorah, or Chanukia (CC0 image via Wikipedia)

Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Rededication, or the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day holiday that generally falls sometime in December (in the Hebrew calendar, the 25th of Kislev).  It celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple after the successful revolt of the Maccabees against the Seleucid Empire. To rededicate the Temple, oil was needed to relight the menorah inside, and there was very little left – only enough to burn for one day.  However, the oil used burned for eight days, and to celebrate this, a festival was created – Chanukah. Continue reading

Celebrating Sukkot

A sukkah from inside. (From Wikimedia user Muu-karhu)
A sukkah from inside (via Wikimedia user Muu-karhu)

After the solemnity and introspection of the High Holy Days, Sukkot, the Festival of Booths, is always a treat. Like the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, I look forward to Sukkot every year because this holiday, unlike Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, is an unaltered celebration.  After the Exodus from Egypt, the ancient Jews traveled the wilderness for forty years before reaching the land of Israel. They lived in small huts called “sukkot” during this time. The holiday of Sukkot commemorates those temporary dwellings: Orthodox Jewish families build a small hut, or Sukkah, outside the house where they eat all meals for the seven days of the holiday. Many Orthodox Jews also sleep outdoors in the Sukkah. A typical Sukkah would look something like this:

(source)
(source)

Continue reading

Total Eclipse of the Sun

Solar Eclipse (CC0 image via Pixabay)

 

It’s the end of the world! Actually no, it’s just a solar eclipse, but not just any solar eclipse: a total solar eclipse. A total solar eclipse will pass over the United States on Monday, August 21st. For a brief amount of time, around 2.5 minutes, the moon will block out the sun, the brightest stars and planets will be visible, and animals and insects will believe it is nighttime. One of the more spectacular features of a total eclipse is being able to view the corona (outer ring caused by its atmosphere) of the sun for a brief period. It is a sight to be seen. Continue reading

The Sky’s the Limit! Association of Jewish Libraries Annual Conference

On June 19, 20, and 21, the Association of Jewish Libraries held its annual conference. The Association of Jewish Libraries has chapters all over the world, ranging from all regions of the United States to Europe, the U.K., and Israel. The annual conference is a chance for Judaica Librarians from all these chapters to assemble and exchange information about the dynamic field of Judaica Librarianship, from Hebrew day school libraries and university libraries to synagogue libraries. Continue reading

Ice Cream Social: Facts for National Ice Cream Month

(CC0 image via Pexels)

Being that it is summer I figured I would write a lighthearted blog on a lighthearted topic – Ice Cream.

July is National Ice Cream Month. Yes – National Ice Cream Month (and National Ice Cream Day) are officially recognized holidays designated in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan after receiving a joint resolution from Congress on the matter. It seems that even Congress can agree on their love for this sweet treat. Continue reading

4th of July Weekend

Flag in a 3D-printed holder, created at our Bay Shore Library

Happy Independence Day from Touro Libraries!

Though library locations will be open on Monday, if you’re looking to get a jump start on the holiday celebrations, know that John Adams would have had your back. He insisted that July 2nd (the day the first of the signers affixed their names to the Declaration) was the proper anniversary. For this and more trivia to share around the barbecue or at the beach this weekend, look back on our 5 Independence Day Facts post.

Touro Libraries will be closed on Tuesday July 4th. Have a safe and happy holiday!