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The Agudagram

April 2022

At the great seder night of Pesach when we read and discuss the immortal words of the Pesach Hagada, my family has always enthusiastically sung the portion of the Hagada that we know as “Dayenu.” By the grace of G-d, I have been able to witness a number of my generations singing this meaningful poem of praise to the Almighty for the bountiful goodness that he has bestowed upon us.Since I am leading the singing that always accompanies this poem, the melody may be somewhat out of tune but what it lacks in pitch it makes up for in enthusiasm and volume. I have always thought about the words that make up this poem and the entire concept that “Dayenu” communicates to us.

March 2022

For many Jews, Volodymyr Zelensky is a ‘modern Maccabee ’ as he fights Ukraine’s war Leading his country in battle against Russian invasion, Jewish president is being compared to storied heroes, while also seen as dispelling notions of Jews as unpatriotic

February 2022

In the Gregorian c alendar, the leap year is no big deal, just an extra winter day (unless you happened to be born on Feb. 29) But the Jewish people are not ones to do things in halfmeasure, so we add an entire month to our leap year. And, what’s more, whereas the rest of the world has a leap year every four years like clockwork, in the Jewish world it comes whenever it’s needed, seven times in 19 years (more on the math later).

January 2022

Tu B’Shevat is a holiday about the land of Israel and our connection to the land. For those of us who do not live in Israel, Tu B’Shevat is an excellent opportunity to find ways to plant Israel at home, in our lives and hearts. In Jewish tradition, Tu B’Shevat, the New Year of Trees, is celebrated on the 15th (TU=ט”ו) day of the Jewish month of Shevat טבש.

December 2021

Hanukkah in Israel is a magical time. There are events happening all over the country, schools are on hol iday, and families are busy exploring the country and celebrating the ‘festival of light’. This year, Hanukkah will begin on November 28 and continue for 8 nights, ending on December 6th.

November 2021

In a rare alignment of calendars, Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah both fall on the same holiday weekend this year. And Americans planning to celebrate this double holiday have dubbed it Thanksgivukkah like in 2013.

October 2021

On Wednesdayand Thursdayof this week, we markthe arrival of the month that is usually referred to as either חֶשְׁוָןor מַרְׁ חֶשְׁוָן. It is common knowledge that the second name developed from the first: the word מַר, which means “bitter,” was added to חֶשְׁוָןbecause it is the only month in the Jewish calendar with absolutely no holidays or other out-of-the-ordinary days —not even a fast day.

September 2021

Although the High Holidays —the two days ofRosh Hashanah(the Jewish New Year) andYom Kippur(the Day of Atonement) —occupy three days only, they lie within a web of liturgy and customs that extend from the beginning of the preceding Hebrewmonth of ElulthroughYom Kippur. The focus of this entire period is the process ofteshuvah, or repentance, whereby aJew admits to sins, asks for forgiveness, and resolves not to repeat the sins.

August 2021

The “Three Weeks” between the 17th of Tammuz and the Tisha B’Av have historically been days of misfortune and calamity for the Jewish people. During this time, both the First and Second Temples were destroyed, amongst other tragedies.