Holidays

Holidays

By The Jewish Theological Seminary | Collected Resources | Hanukkah | Pesah | Purim | Rosh Hashanah | Shavuot | Shemini Atzeret | Simhat Torah | Sukkot | Tishah Be'av | Yom Hashoah | Yom Hazikaron-Yom Ha'atzma'ut | Yom Kippur

Explore these sources from scholars and students at JTS to enrich your holiday experience.

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The Haggadah

The Haggadah

The order of the Seder is codified in the Haggadah. The text evolved over millennia, and varied regionally. The JTS Library has many illuminated and rare haggadot, including this manuscript which was found in the Cairo Geniza, marking the Seder rituals of the Jews of Palestine–note there are only two questions as opposed to four. […]

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Leaving Egypt with Compassion and Justice

Leaving Egypt with Compassion and Justice

Apr 8, 2023 By Ben Levy | Commentary | Pesah

The Torah reading for Shabbat Hol Hamoed Pesah (Exodus 33:12–34:26) describes the aftermath of the Golden Calf. How do we make sense of this choice?

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The Primacy of Questions

The Primacy of Questions

Mar 31, 2023 By Joel Seltzer | Commentary | Shabbat Hagadol | Tzav | Pesah

The truth is, of all the Jewish holidays of the year, Pesah, requires the most forethought, the most planning, the most cleaning, and yes, the most questions! The Jewish tradition understands deeply that ritual does not simply “occur,” instead it is the result of painstaking preparation and “beginning with the end in mind.”

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Liberating our Planet: Climate Torah for the Passover Seder

Liberating our Planet: Climate Torah for the Passover Seder

Mar 31, 2023 By JTS Dayenu Circle | Commentary | Pesah

This year for Passover, JTS is proud to share Liberating our Planet: Climate Torah for the Passover Seder. Passover is an annual reminder that profound changes to our lived reality are possible, and now more than ever, we as a Jewish community need to pursue profound action to stop the climate crisis. This project is […]

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Between Words and Pictures: Medieval Illuminated Haggadot from the JTS Library  

Between Words and Pictures: Medieval Illuminated Haggadot from the JTS Library  

Mar 23, 2023 By Marcus Mordecai Schwartz | Public Event video | Pesah

This session explored some of the priceless treasures in JTS’s collection of Haggadah manuscripts. We consider how the text of the Haggadah and the accompanying hand-drawn illustrations are—or are not—in conversation with each other and make some other unexpected discoveries between the covers of these rare medieval manuscripts. 

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Remembering Together

Remembering Together

Apr 22, 2022 By William Plevan | Commentary | Pesah

The celebration of Pesah is an outstanding example of the central role that memory plays in Jewish tradition. Underscoring the importance of memory for sustaining human societies, Elie Wiesel wrote, “Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future.” Communal memory, of course, goes far beyond what any one individual can remember and experience. And yet, what makes memory so powerful as a vehicle for communal identity is that it speaks to us on a personal level.

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Which Is “Wiser”: The Story of the Exodus or the Laws of Pesah?

Which Is “Wiser”: The Story of the Exodus or the Laws of Pesah?

Apr 15, 2022 By Jeremy Tabick | Commentary | Pesah

One of the core aspects of the Torah’s Pesah commentary is the education of the participants. In its very introduction, in the reading for the first day of Pesah, the concern of education is placed front and center: “When your children will ask you, ‘What is this service for you?’ you will say, ‘It is a pesah sacrifice to God . . .’” (Exod. 12:26–27). Indeed, justifying the practice of Pesah to children comes up in the Torah no less than four times.

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