A fancy Israeli-type dreydl from the collection of Sheri Levin. Note the letter pey instead of shin. Photo by Susan Ellman.

A fancy Israeli-type dreydl from the collection of Sheri Levin. Note the letter pey instead of shin. Photo by Susan Ellman.

I have a little teetotum? Does the Chanukah toy come from Judea or England?

By Susan Ellman

From humble beginnings, the traditional four-sided Chanukah top has gone on to become so much more: a precious family heirloom, a beautiful work of art, a valuable collector’s item, a religious symbol imbued with mystical significance, the focus of international tournaments, a tool for teaching kindergarteners at Jewish day schools reading readiness and probability, or a beloved part of many happy childhood memories.

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D'var Torah: Darkness haunts Torah’s stories of rival brothers

By Rabbi Noah Chertkoff

During the cold and dark winter months, I often long for spring and the beginning of the return of more natural light. Especially when reading the next several weeks of Torah portions concluding the book of Breishit (Genesis) and beginning the book of Shemot (Exodus).


Chanukah story’s aftermath may have lessons for today

By Leon Cohen

The events behind the festival of Chanukah constitute one of the best stories in all of Jewish history. But one aspect of that story usually gets left out of most accounts of the holiday’s origin.


Anti-Semitism in Europe is growing

By Hannah Rosenthal

European Jews are feeling more vulnerable, more afraid for their safety, and are looking into leaving for the U.S., Canada or Israel. And they are not wrong to be thinking about whether there is a future for European Jews.


Sukkah solution turned problem into joy

By Leigh Bojan

My friends and I had a goal and we were not going to let meddling grownups mess it up for their own purposes.


Wonderful links forged via MJF Israel Center

By Monica Arnstein

After an Israel trip in high school followed by a semester abroad in Jerusalem a few years later, I knew that Israel would always be a big part of my life and it would be important for me to pass this love for the Jewish state on to my children.


Hineni: 'Here I am' and 'I am here' are different

By Rabbi Simcha Prombaum

One means, "I am listening." The other means, "I am ready to do."


World News

Israeli-Americans’ ambivalence visible at first IAC conference

By Ron Kampeas

The inaugural conference Nov. 7-9 of the Israeli American Council was much like other Jewish gatherings — except the Jews were Israelis and a lot of what characterizes Jewish America remains alien to them.


Federations see future in more collaboration

By Uriel Heilman

Part pep rally, part training and part family reunion, the annual General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America on Nov. 9-11 drew some 3,000 people to a conference center outside Washington.