ODU Jewish Studies

What is a shofar?

There are many instruments in our world. Some people have played, seen, listened to, or learned how to play various types of instruments, whether it be the Triangle or the Theremin. Some people seek out learning to play an instrument… Continue Reading →

What is a tallit/tallis?

The Tallit or Tallis, depending on how you want to spell it (Hebrew/Yiddish), is a Jewish prayer shawl. Typically these shawls are tied with knots or fringes along the edges. Additionally they are almost always made of wool and are… Continue Reading →

What is havdalah?

Havdalah, or “separation” in Hebrew, is Shabbat’s closing ritual. In a simple multi-faceted ceremony, there are blessings over lights, spices, and wine or grape juice, Havdalah is an uplifting way to end Shabbat and start the new week. The objects required for Havdalah include… Continue Reading →

What is a yarmulke? (Or a kippah?)

A Yarmulke or a Kippah is a small clothed brimless hat worn by mostly Jewish men. Some of these men wear the cap the entire day, while other only wear the yarmulkes during time of prayer. The yarmulke and the… Continue Reading →

What are challah and challah covers?

There are many pertinent symbols of Judaism which all represent various customs. Two of these symbols are called challah and a challah cover. Challah is braided-style bread that is typically eaten on Shabbat (Jews’ Day of Rest). This specific type of bread can be presented… Continue Reading →

What are tefillin?

My Holy Object is Tefillin. What exactly are tefillin? Some might call them a phylactery; but ultimately, they are small black boxes used for prayer. The small black boxes are filled with Hebrew parchment scrolls and come in a set… Continue Reading →

What is a yad?

Yad, otherwise known as hand in Hebrew, is a religious pointer, which resembles something you or your teacher might have used in elementary school. Although Jack Black’s pointer is far more suited for his school of rock, the Jewish Yad… Continue Reading →

What is a mezuzah?

I have never been invited into a Jewish home. It is not because I am not fun to be around, but it’s mostly because I grew up in the Christian Bible Belt of the Deep South and, to my knowledge,… Continue Reading →

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. The words literally translate to, “first of the year.” The exact date for Rosh Hashanah changes annually on the Gregorian calendar (usually falling in September or October), but in the Hebrew calendar, it… Continue Reading →

Tu B’Shevat

When the average person thinks of Earth day or “going green,” they would most likely think of going outside, cleaning up the environment, appreciating nature, and planting flowers. When an average person thinks of Earth day, they do not think… Continue Reading →

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