Snippets

The trees of life.

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eitz chayim it is a tree of life jewish papercut artOne of my favorite bits of Torah is where it talks about how to treat trees during a war: "When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by wielding an axe against them; for thou mayest eat of them, but thou shalt not cut them down." Read more...

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Upon all those who occupy themselves with Torah.

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It was a small group of new rabbis, eight men and women, but what a group. Ordination at Hebrew Union College is a fascinating experience. To tell the truth, I was sort of pea-green with envy at the prospect of getting to study for five years: Torah, talmud, Hebrew, homiletics, cantillation, liturgy, philosophy, theology. And with the best rabbis. The highlight of the service, for me, was when the newly minted rabbis stood and faced their teachers and recited the Kaddish d'Rabbanan, the special kaddish honoring teachers. It is said daily in traditional synagogues, and I wish it were in...

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To teach, to learn, to grow: Pirke Avot.

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I have lost track of how many times I've done a papercut of the line from Pirke Avot 1:6, "Get yourself a teacher, make yourself a friend." This makes me happy, not only because I enjoy doing them but because of what it says about Judaism. Knowledge is portable, and its transmission has preserved the Jewish people against long odds. In a religion that elevates study to a holy pursuit, our teachers mean everything to us; they are our rock stars.  This particular line from the Talmud has a third part, as so many mishnayot often do: "...and judge every...

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Hashem: The Hebrew Name

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Names are supremely important in Judaism. The Creator's name ~ indicated by the Hebrew letters yud-hey-vav-hey in the Torah, the tetragrammaton ~  is so sacred we don't really know how to pronounce it at all. So, some say "Hashem" (the name) in its place or simply Adonai (Lord). Particularly observant Jews will often write G-d to express the deity, avoiding the whole word which is never to be defaced or erased. When Moses asks God who He is, God says cryptically, "Ehyeh asher ehyeh," which means something like "I will be what I will be." In the Torah , the...

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Connecting to Judaism through Art - Jewish Papercut Workshops

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Kim Phillips, artist at Hebrica Judaic Art, offers workshops in Jewish papercut art for synagogues, religious schools, Jewish day schools, and Jewish federation progams. Whether you'd want a 3-hour workshop, an elective mini-course, or weekend artist-in-residence program, a curriculum can be tailored to your needs. More on that here.  

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