“Everybody — every human being — has the obligation to contribute somehow to this world”

—Edith Carter, Holocaust Survivor

Faith


Inspirations from the Jewish Experience: Holiday Texts and Readings

The rhythm of Jewish life is determined by its calendar. Throughout the year, Jewish holidays offer opportunities to celebrate as a community, contemplate who are, and where we came from, and where we are going. The following are a selection of uplifting texts that relate to each Jewish holiday. To begin, click on the pictures or names below.
 

Yom Ha’atzmaut

This decorative plate is an item purchased by many tourists in Israel. The plate depicts a menorah, and the lions of Judah.

 
 
 
 
 

Simchat Torah

Simchat Torah

This rare Torah was recovered in Isfahan, Persia (in what is now Iran) from a “Genizah,” a place for storing Jewish books or ritual objects which have become unusable. The torah is handwritten on deerskin leather, and is on display in Mapping Our Tears.

 
 
 
 

Purim

Purim

The purim graggers and Megillah scrolls featured in this case are from the 19th and 20th centuries. The Megillah  contains the Book of Esther, which is read every year on the Purim festival to commemorate the deliverance of the Jewish people living throughout the ancient Persian Empire from a plot by Haman the Agagite to annihilate them. The gragger is a noise-maker, and is rung each time Haman’s name is read.

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hanukkah

Hanukkah

The Menorahs were discovered by a Christian nurse assigned to a American Field Service in post-World War II Europe. The nurse discovered one menorah in a destroyed synagogue in Austria, and later found it’s match in a rubbish heap on a Berlin street.

 
 
 
 

Passover

Passover

The Coppel Haggadah

 
 
 
 
 
 

ShavuotShavuot

This ark was created by the Jewish Welfare Guild during World War II. One of four arks built, it was transported throughout war torn Europe on the back of a Jeep, and used by rabbis working with Jewish American soldiers.

 
 
 
 
 

Tu B’Shevat

Tu B’Shevat

This Jewish National Fund Tree Fund Certificate was presented to the Talmud Torah Grade School in Newport, Kentucky in the 1920s. The certificate recognizes the students at the school for donating money to plant trees in Israel. By the end of the 20th century, Israel was the only country to have more trees at the end of the century than it started with in the beginning.