Life lessons

Golems, dybbuks, and other things that go bump in the night

Golems, dybbuks, and other things that go bump in the night

Halloween may be October 31st, but it seems like the whole month of October is dedicated to goblins, nefarious beings and things that go bump in the night. The Talmud has a rich, though vague, demonology.  While the Kabbalah provides many insights into demons and dybbuks, golems, and ghosts which are all the results of misspent life energy. They are part of a long history of Jewish speculation about shedim (demons, also a word used to refer to foreign gods) and demonic personalities such as Lilith.So what about when the life-energies are misappropriated? What happens when something goes wrong? If we...

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The Borscht Belt - The Jewish Alps - The Catskills

The Borscht Belt - The Jewish Alps - The Catskills

It was the highlight of the year - our getaway to the Borscht Belt. There would be a group of families, cousins, and friends of my parents, and we would pile into cars and reassemble at the agreed-upon location that year - either The Concord, The Nevele, Fallsview, or Kutschers. We only went for a few days, not the entire summer like in "Dirty Dancing" or "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel", but to us, it seemed like a decadent dream. It was the 1960's, the food was endless, as were the activities and entertainment. The adults would get all dressed up...

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Funny Jewish Women

Funny Jewish Women

"I've been rich and I've been poor. Rich is better." As in so many other areas, coming to America meant breaking the Old World pattern by which Jewish women performed in dramatic roles but rarely as comedians. American Jewish women became prominent comic performers in the immigrant generation, when comedic talents like Sophie Tucker, Fanny Brice, and Molly Picon took to the stage. Their comic routines expressed the experiences and desires of many second generation Jews, yet they appealed to mainstream audiences as well.In every successive generation, Jewish women comediennes helped shape the contours of American comedy. From Sophie Tucker,...

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5 Jewish Symbols and their meanings - Star of David, Hamsa, Dove, Tree of Life and Chai

5 Jewish Symbols and their meanings - Star of David, Hamsa, Dove, Tree of Life and Chai

One of the things I love about our culture, aside from the food, is the great art, symbolism and motifs. Whether they are adorning jewelry, handcrafts, Synagogue walls or fine art, the Chai, Star of David, Hamsa, Tree of Life and the Dove are ever present in Judaic art. Ever wonder about the significance of these symbols? Here is a quick guide to their meanings. ChaiChai means “life” in Hebrew. This uplifting word affirms one of the most important values in the Jewish religion: preserving and celebrating life. Hence the common toast on Jewish occasions (and one of my favorite...

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A Multitude of Mezuzah Facts

A Multitude of Mezuzah Facts

A Mezuzah case is used to protect the klaf (parchment), but is not halachically required. As such, the case may be made out of just about any material. Of course we prefer glass here at Beames Designs. But most importantly a beautiful Mezuzah is a mitzvah itself.Why is the Hebrew letter Shin on the front?Shaddai, ("Almighty") is one of the biblical names for God. It also serves as an acronym for Shomer Daltot Yisrael, "Guardian of Israel's doors". The Mezuzah case should have an opening through which the word Shaddai is visible. If the casing is made of a material...

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