April 13, 2011

Jewish engagement: combat or contract?

The decision for a couple to get engaged and make the ultimate commitment to each other is probably the most important step of their lives. From the moment two people decide to marry, spend the rest of their lives together and God willing raise a family and create a home, the direction their individual lives take changes forever. It is not just that now each partner surely has to reconsider […]
April 13, 2011

Signing with Love on Jewish prenuptial agreements

The modern prenuptial agreement was developed in order to safeguard the rights of the married women, and it makes provisions for the possibility of divorce. By setting up the rules prior to the marriage in the form of a monetary contract, both spouses have an interest to negotiate a divorce in a dignified manner and thus get-refusal is discouraged. There are a number of different versions in America, Israel and […]
April 13, 2011

Breaking plates can be fun – the tena’im ceremony

Tena’im  is the Hebrew word for “conditions”.  This ceremony refers to a contract setting out the terms of the marriage. The Tena’im ceremony dates back to the third century C.E and it represents a mutual agreement between the bride and groom’s parents.  It concerns the date and financial arrangements of the marriage. Often, the signing of the “contract” is accompanied by an engagement party for the couple and their parents. […]
April 13, 2011

Having a little “vort” with you!

A vort is a traditional engagement party, the Yiddish word “vort”  means “word.  This is the name of the ceremony because we celebrate the engagement of a Jewish couple by sharing words of inspiration and Torah. Usually someone close to the couple: a Rabbi, family member or friend is asked to share some meaningful words. Often the person inspires them with a beautiful idea or lesson from the Torah about […]
April 13, 2011

Pidyon HaBen: Cool customs and fascinating facts!

Only 1-of-10 Jewish families ever meet all the conditions for Pidyon Ha’Ben. If you were eligible for a Pidyon Ha’Ben, but did not have one, then you still can and should have one. Speak to your rabbi to arrange the ceremony! Some people have the custom to give their guests cloves of garlic and cubes of sugar to take home. These strongly-flavored foods can be used to flavor other quantities […]
April 13, 2011

So who exactly gets a Pidyon HaBen?

According to the Torah, Pidyon Ha’Ben only applies to a son who “opened his mother’s womb.” Therefore, all the following conditions must apply: The mother is Jewish, and she has never had a baby before, male or female. The baby was delivered in the normal way, not via C-section. The mother had no abortions or miscarriages prior to this birth. The father of the baby is not a Kohen or […]
April 13, 2011

The Pidyon Haben Ceremony in 7 easy steps!

1) Find a Kohen who will be happy to partake in this special ceremony. If you are unsure who to choose confer with your local rabbi who will be able to help you. 2) You will need five silver coins, containing approximately 110 grams of silver. Five U.S. silver dollars are often used, though the specific type of coins depends on where you are in the world. Once again – […]
April 13, 2011

Pidyon Haben 101

Pidyon Ha’Ben, literally means the “redemption of the first born son.”  The Pidyon HaBen  takes place when the first born who is male, is at least 31 days old. The ceremony involves “buying him back” from a Kohen/Priest in order to release him from the obligation of serving in the Temple. (see Numbers 18:15) Pidyon Ha’Ben, literally means the “redemption of the first born son.”  The Pidyon HaBen  takes place […]
April 13, 2011

Jewish girl’s names and their implications

Judaism places a great deal of significance on a child’s Hebrew name.  It is believed that a child will live up to his/her name, so you want to give the child a name that you would want him/her to live up to! Ashkenazi Jews often name their children after a departed relative, while Sephardic Jews sometimes name their children in honour of living relatives. In the case of someone who […]
April 13, 2011

The Jewish birth mother’s prayer

composed by Shelley List and Yael Penkower. English: Master of the creation: You have made me your partner in creating a new life on this great and wonderful day. My heart is filled with joy! Let my husband and family stand with me and praise Your mercy. For You did not desert me in my wailing, nor forget me in labor: but You fashioned from this great pain a great […]