Q & A on Pesach

How can we, in Uganda, celebrate Pesach if we cannot buy Matzot or Kosher Wine?

(The first part of my answer is an edited version of a 2013 article by my friend Shayna Zamkanei in The Times of Israel)

 

Passover begins in a few weeks, and many Jews are purchasing square “matzos” sold in cardboard boxes. But why?

In an 2004 article on www.Aish.com called “The Inner Meaning of Matzah”, rabbi Pinchas Stolper wrote: “We bake flat, crisp matzah in order to reenact the Exodus, when the Children of Israel fled Egypt in a hurry.” However, the truth is, when fleeing Egypt, the Children of Israel did not eat “flat, crisp matzah”. In fact, this flat Pesach-“bread” was were not eaten until the 19th century.

What the Israelites ate was massá (a more historically accurate transliteration than “matzah”), and that massá looked very similar to a soft pita.

We know this to be true for several reasons, the first of which is the “korékh” component of the haggadá (usually called the Seder by Ashkenazim). “Korékh” means to roll up or to wrap around, and that is what we are supposed to do when remembering Hillel and making the “Hillel sandwich.” Since we cannot roll massá that is hard and crisp, this proves that massá used to be soft and pliable.

Second, it is clear from the Babylonian Talmud (Pesachim 7a) that bread and massá looked the same and could be easily confused: “Rabbah the son of Ribbi Huna said in the name of Rab: If a moldy loaf [is found during Pesah in a bread bin and we are uncertain whether it is bread or massá], if the majority of loaves [in the bin] are massá it is permitted [because we assume it to be like the majority].”
Besides this source clearly showing that one could not see the difference between massá and bread, the massá currently sold in most stores also never grows mold, no matter what we do to it. Soft massá, on the other hand, easily does.

We find more proof in later sources as well. And while eating soft massá is nowadays often seen as a specifically Sephardi custom, even Ashkenazi sources refer to massá as soft and much thicker than crackers…

For example, the Rama (Rabbi Moshe Isserlis) wrote that massá should be made thinner than a tefach (around 3 inches). A tefach thick was recommended in the Babylonian Talmud…
Also, the (Ashkenazi) Chafetz Chaim advised that massá be made “soft as a sponge” (Mishna Berura, Orach Haim 486).
In “The Laws of Baking massá,” the Shulchan Aruch deems baking to be sufficient  when “no threads can be pulled from it.”
Rabbi Hershel Schachter, rabbinic dean at Yeshiva University and halakhic advisor for the kashruth division of the Orthodox Union, stated clearly that there is nothing that prohibits anyone (even Ashkenazi Jews) from eating soft massá.

 

Today’s incarnated form of massá started with the industrial production beginning in the 1800s. Eating massá that resembles a cracker needlessly changes the Passover experience into an artificial one without any roots in Jewish sources but rather dictated by the needs of a commercial industry (easy mass production and unlimited shelf life). In any area with a Jewish community, there is no excuse for not producing soft massot, as the Israelites did.

 

Anybody who teaches that our ancestors ate crispy massot while leaving Egypt, is perverting history and reading a new custom into the Torah.

 

In conclusion, baking your own massot is on a much higher level to than to get them in boxes from Israel.

In order for you to seewith your own eyes how these massot can be baked, I posted three different videos.

1)      Here is a video of a Rabbi and his family making massot at home: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3lkauu3f-k

2)      Here are (Syrian) Sephardi Jews who bake softer, thicker massot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbmFdXS7tqk

3)      In my opinion, the most delicious ones are the Yemenite style massot.
These massot seem to be the closest to the ones that were eaten in the times of the Torah and the Talmud.
In this video, you can see that they also use some oil, and egg, and some herbs, which is all optional. They come out soft and the “Hillel Sandwich” (korékh) is actually a bread roll, like it originally was.
Here is the video showing how these are made and what they look like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XELBl70zd7Y

 

Massot with egg is – according to custom – however not used for the haggadá ceremony, but can be freely made and eaten during the other meals of Pesach.

It is important to keep in mind, that when baking massot, according to halakha, we have a maximum of 18 minutes. Ashkenazim start to count the 18 minutes when the moment the water is mixed with the flour. But Sephardim (and that is the original halakha) only start counting after the kneading is stopped. And one can knead the dough as long as wanted. It is therefore smart to keep kneading until right before it is flattened and baked.

As far as the Haggadá is concerned, the Shearith Israel holiday prayer books have the Haggadah printed, starting on page 61!

If you have no kashér (kosher) wine, you should use regular grape juice from the store. It is true that grape juice is halakhically considered wine and falls under the same rules and restrictions, but one of these rules is that wine which has been cooked (boiled for even a second), is kashér. It so happens that commercially produced grape juice is always pasteurized (which is, halakhically speaking, cooked) and therefore kashér and can be used for Pesach.

 

Rabbi Sjimon den Hollander

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT PURIM

JEWS ALL OVER THE WORLD WILL BE CELEBRATING THE WONDERFUL PURIM HOLIDAY

 

Here are some QUESTIONS and ANSWERS ABOUT PURIM, as written by rabbi Sjimon den Hollander PVAO Chairman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PURIM March 20-21 2019 CELEBRATION

 

Question:

What are the most important things to observe on Purim?

Answer:

There are four obligations to fulfill on Purim:
1) Listening to the Meghilla
2) A Sengudat Mitzwa (A festive meal)
3) Mishloach Manot (Sending food)
4) Mattanot la-Evyonim (Gifts for the Poor)

 

Question:

What is the Meghilla?

Answer:

The Meghilla is the Book of Ester. Meghilla literally means scroll. The Meghilla is read from a scroll.

 

Question:

When should we listen to the Meghilla?

Answer:

Two times: Both in the evening of Purim (Purim Eve), and also during the day of Purim.

 

Question:

I have learned that women are exempt from certain commandments. What about listening to the Meghilla?

Answer:

When it comes to listening to the Meghilla, women are also obligated.

 

Question:

Do we fulfill this obligation if the Book of Ester is read from a regular book?

Answer:

Unfortunately, that does not fulfill the commandment.  However, if there is nobody with an Ester-scroll, then it is the best you can do.

 

Question:

If the obligation is to listen to the Meghilla which is read from a scroll, can we listen to a recording of someone who read it from a scroll?

Answer:

Most rabbis believe that listening to a recording is not valid, but there is an opinion that it is enough to fulfill the mitzwa. Once again, if there is no real Meghilla, it is advisable to listen to a recording.
Here is a link to a recording, written from a scroll. The style is of the Sephardi Jews from Iraq:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbmYiQNmXYw

 

This is another link, much more attractive in my opinion, in the real style of Kahal Kadosh Shearith Israel, recorded in New York, but unfortunately not recorded from a scroll.
Excellent for those who want to study the tune for next year!!!!
https://shearithisrael.org/megillat-esther

 

Question:

If it is a requirement to listen to the Meghilla, then how can there be a custom to make noise during the reading of Haman? Doesn’t it prevent you from hearing every word?

Answer:

This is very true. The noise making during the reading of the name Haman, is a very late custom which started within some Ashkenazi communities. Most rabbis were actually against it. Unfortunately, the custom spread throughout most Jewish communities. But even today, there are still Sephardi synagogues that do not allow it. This is the only right we: to read the Meghilla with dignity, so we can hear every word.
However, there is no problem, when we tell the story to children in their own language, if they make noise during the naming of Haman.

 

Question:

The story of Ester is such an important story. Why is it not part of the Torah?

Answer:

The story of Ester took place many centuries after the life of Moses.

 

Question:

What is the Sengudat Mitzwa?

Answer:

The word Sengudaa (סעודה), often written as Seudah or Se’udah, means a meal.
A Sengudat Mitzwa is a prescribed, festive meal.

Question:

When should we have this festive meal?

Answer:

The meal should be had on the day of Purim itself. Of course, it is nice to have a meal in the evening as well, but the Sengudat Mitzwa can only be fulfilled during the daytime.

 

Question:

Should we have this meal with a lot of people, or can it just be with our own family?

Answer:

It can be just with your own family, but it is nice to invite people. In some communities, the people cook together and have a meal with the entire community. However, you can even have it alone (although, that is not as festive of course).

 

Question: Isn’t there also an obligation to drink until you don’t know the difference between Mordechai and Haman? Does that also apply for young children?

Answer:

I believe the idea that one has to get drunk on Purim is based on a misunderstanding. It seems that in the time of the Talmud, there were some who got drunk on Purim. While they were drunk, they would do bad things. The majority then limited the drinking by saying: Only drink until you do not know the difference between “Blessed is Mordechai” and “Cursed is Haman”. (Not: between Mordechai and Haman!!!). Blessed is Mordechai in fact means: “May the good side win!”, and Curses is Haman means: “May the bad side lose!” In fact, there is no difference between the two; if the good side wins, the bad side loses. So after you take your first sip, if you ask yourself what the difference is between the two, you will realize that you don’t know, and you need to stop right away.
Maimonides (the Rambam) is very clear that getting drunk is equal to idol worship, at all occasions, also on Purim. Because God stands for reason, and when you are dunk, you erase your reason. Furthermore, being drunk is damaging to the body, and especially to the brain, and we are not allowed to cause ourselves damage.

 

Some others say that, a person should drink just a little more than usual, and then take a nap, because , when you sleep, you certainly do not know the difference between Blessed is Mordechai and cursed is Haman.

 

Question:

What is Mishloach Manot?

Answer:

Mishloach Manot is the mitzwa to give food.

 

Question:

To how many people should we give food?

Answer:

We should give food to at least one person, but we can give to as many as we like.

 

Question:

What kind of food should we give?

Answer:

It should be at least two different types of food. Also, the food should be prepared.
So packets of tea, or a pack of rice which still must be boiled, is not a valid way to fulfill this mitzwa.

 

Question:

When should the food be given?

Answer:

The food should be given on the day of Purim itself.

 

Question:

Do poor people also need to give food to other poor people?

Answer:

Poor people also are required to fulfill the mitzwa. Hopefully, if two poor people exchange their food, they both have fulfilled the requirement.

 

Question:

Can we give Mishloach Manot and Mattanot la-Evyonim to non-Jewish people?

Answer:

The mitzwa is only fulfilled by giving these to Jews. That makes sense, because these gifts are given to them to help them celebrate Purim with happiness and joy, and non-Jews generally do not celebrate Purim. However, it is still a good idea, after we give the required gifts to Jews, and in addition to share the joy and also give something to non-Jews.

 

Question:

What is Mattanot La-Evyonim?

Answer:

Mattanot La-Evyonim is the mitzwa to give money to poor people on the day of Purim.

 

Question:

To how many people should we give money?

Answer:

At least to two individuals.

 

Question:

How much money should we give to each person?

Answer:

The amount we give should at least be enough for the person the buy a meal.

 

Question:

When should the money be given?

Answer:

The money should be given on the day of Purim itself.
Sometimes a person is assigned to collect Mattanot la-Evyonim from a number of people and then to distribute it among the poor. Such a person can collect the monies before Purim, but he must make sure to hand it to the poor during Purim.

 

Question:

Can we give it to these poor individuals together as a family, or should every member of my family fulfill this mitzwah?

Answer:

It should be done by each member of the family separately. Even though pre-bar/bat mitzwa children are technically not obligated, it is a very good way of teaching them to be charitable when they hand over money to a poor person.

 

Question:

Do poor people also need to give money to other poor people?

Answer:

Poor people also are required to fulfill the mitzwa. Hopefully, they will also receive from others as well. Several people can exchange money back-and-forth. It is important for even poor people to understand that they should not only expect to receive but also to support and contribute to others.

 

Question:

What is the proper greeting for Purim?

Answer:

Many people mistakenly say “Chag Sameach”, especially in Israel. However, in the Torah, the word Chag is only used for the Pilgrim Festivals: Pesach, Shabungot and Sukkot.
A better greeting is Purim Sameach!  An old Sephardi greeting is: Purim Alegre!

 

Purim Alegre to you all!
Rabbi Sjimon den Hollande

Shabbat Sleepover House

About Shabbat and the Prohibition to Walk beyond a Certain Distance

 

The Sabbath (or Shabbat as it is called in Hebrew), is probably the best known of all the Jewish observances.  For those Jews that ‘keep’ (observe) the Shabbat, it is considered a precious gift from God. Shabbat is arguably the most important ritual observance in Judaism.   It is a day of spiritual enrichment and rejuvenation.  The word Shabbat itself means to end, or to cease (i.e. from work). Jews believe that God made heaven and earth, in six days and on the seventh day (Shabbat), He ceased from His creating work. When Jews rest on the seventh day after being active on six days of the week, they, in a way ‘imitate’ God in both His creative activity and in refraining from work periodically, thereby acknowledging that He is the Creator and Master of the universe. Shabbat-observant Jews remind themselves on a weekly basis, that our work, as important as it is, is not the ultimate end-in-all goal in life.  It is good to temporarily set it aside on behalf of higher values, spirituality, and a different experience of time. 

Resting on the seventh day is also about freedom. In ancient times, only the ‘upper class’ and the wealthy had time to rest. In Pharaoh times in Egypt, the slaves (Jews), never had a day of rest. So by resting on the seventh day, Jews remind themselves that they are liberated, and meant to strive spend quality time free not only of physical labor but also of mental anxiety. During the week we may be ‘slaves’ to our work and the need to succeed but on the seventh day we can experience a deeper freedom, as were our ancestors freed from slavery. 

ShabbatThe Jewish concept of resting on Shabbat may not be what we think it is.  It does not necessarily mean doing nothing or sleeping.  The Torah and the rabbinic tradition explain that Shabbat “resting” is merely desisting from a number of specified activities. Among these are activities like kindling fire, sewing, writing, cooking, baking, harvesting, sowing, building, trading, carrying objects outside a house or private area, traveling (let’s say in a car), or walking beyond a certain distance.

 

Getting technical:


The distance that one may travel (we are talking about traveling on foot here) on the Shabbat depends where one is at the start of Shabbat.  If you are in a house outside of a town, meaning in a remote cottage, a farm house, or a “little house on the prairie”, you can walk as far away from that house as 2,000 cubits in each direction (which is roughly about 1 kilometer or almost two-thirds of a mile).  In other words one can walk anywhere within an imaginary circle that has a diameter of 2 km, i.e. 1.25 mile, with the house exactly in the middle.
On the other hand, if you live within a village or a town, even a town as big as New York City or London, you can walk anywhere within that town until the edge of the town, plus another 2,000 cubits beyond the edge (also in each direction).

A Personal Experience   

(by Sjimon den Hollander):


   The following story happened to me about ten years ago.  It was on a Friday, and I was flying back to my home in New York City from a short vacation in Colorado. According to my travel schedule, I should have landed early enough to make it home before Shabbat and in time to prepare, but for some unforeseen reason there was a serious delay, and I landed right at the time when Shabbat was supposed to start.  I made it off the plane before the deadline but now I was in the airport and Shabbat had started.  What to do now?  The airline personnel were not willing to help at all, and there I was with my suitcase.  There were a number of problems that presented themselves to me as a Shabbat observer.  I am not supposed to use a vehicle (a cab), I am not supposed to carry objects on the street (my suitcase, my wallet, my keys), and I am supposed to honor the Shabbat with a festive meal, which was not possible at the airport; as a matter of fact I didn’t have any food or drinks with me and to make things worse, I was am not supposed to buy anything on Shabbat either.  And to make it even more complicated, we are not supposed to fast on Shabbat…!
I calculated all pros and cons.  Not having the Shabbat meal and saying blessings over wine in honor of Shabbat is less serious than breaking the laws of carrying and traveling, so all things considered, it would be better to stay in the airport until the next evening.  However I could not physically do that.  There was no place to lay down on a bench, and perhaps I could do without food or drinks, maybe I could drink water for a fountain, but I certainly couldn’t manage without sleep.
Then I came up with a plan.  I had traveled with a non-Jewish companion, and he was still at my side, seeing if I would be okay.  Shabbat is not incumbent on non-Jews.  According to Judaism, a non-Jew is not obligated to keep these laws as they are only part of the covenant that God made with the people of Israel.  Non-Jews can serve God in different ways (bit that’s a different topic).
Shabbat This kind companion agreed to take my suitcase, my wallet and my keys and deliver it to my apartment, and I gratefully accepted his offer.  Then I started walking from LaGuardia Airport to my home in downtown Manhattan.  I wasn’t really sure how to walk but I used my sense of direction and probably didn’t go as straight as I could have.
I walked through the night at a high pace and it took be somewhere between 3 to 4 hours.  All my muscles and bones hurt me when I came home.  I said the blessing over wine, had a tiny mini-meal and fell asleep. 
I do have to confess something though…  I didn’t make it to Shabbat service that next morning.

The Situation in the Jewish Village of Putti, Uganda:


ShabbatSome Putti Jews live too far away from the village itself, but still wish to pray at the synagogue located within the village. 

To enable them to observe Shabbat and to comply with Jewish Law, they need a place to rest and sleep during the Shabbat period without needing to use transport to get from place to place.

Putti Village Assistance Organization (PVAO) has therefore set up a fund in order to build a “Shabbat Sleepover House”… The building is currently underway.

Shabbat

We urgently need to buy more bricks in order to create more sleeping areas.   Can you help us achieve this goal?? Our aim is to raise $5,000 for this important project. By donating just $25, you will donate 100 bricks! PVAO thanks you for taking the time and trouble of contributing in any way you can.

You can make an earmarked donation by clicking on the donate button below:


We are grateful for any help you can give!

The Mikvéh In Putti (Uganda)

What is a Mikvèh?

A Mikvèh* is a collection or gathering of water, and fulfills an essential role in the religious life of the Jewish people.

The Background:

According to Torah law (also called the “Law of Moses”) a person can become ritually ‘impure’. This ‘impurity’ does not suggest sinfulness and is most often not perceived as negative in itself.  The most important consequence of such impurity was that being impure would (temporarily) disqualify someone from visiting the Temple in Jerusalem.  It is generally assumed that the one of the main functions of such a concept was to instill a higher level of awe and respect to the person while entering the Temple and participating in its service. 
There were several different levels of ritual impurity, depending on what had brought the impurity about, and related to these different levels, there were distinct rituals for removing the impurity.  In some cases, for minor levels, the impurity would cease automatically at the end of the day.  For others, only the washing of the person’s hands was required.  In the most severe case, after touching a corpse, a highly complicated ritual was involved that lasted a week, for the impurity to be removed.  In many cases however, the appropriate procedure was for a person to totally immerse him or herself in water.

Some Laws of Ritual Purity Perpetuated after the Destruction of the Temple:

After the destruction of the Temple, maintaining these practices had become less relevant.  Therefore, in most cases, the rabbis of the Talmud decided to temporarily abolish them, until the time when, one day in the future, the Temple would be rebuilt.  However a number of exceptions were made for cases in which the practice would continue.  The ritual washing of hands in certain occasions, such as before eating bread is such an example in which purity laws were perpetuated.  Other examples directly involve the topic of our article, the Mikvèh (which is a body of water that fulfills a number of prescribed conditions; more about that later). 
These examples are:  Firstly, the immersion of someone’s entire body at the occasion of his/her conversion to Judaism (which, as a side note, also explains the origin of Christian Baptism).  Secondly, the practice to dip newly acquired metal and glass food utensils in such a body of water.  And thirdly, the requirement for a menstruant woman to immerse herself after a period of separation from her husband, before she can resume intimate relations.  Similarly such an immersion is required at the end of a period following giving birth. 

Requirements for a Mikvèh:

Water, like people and many objects can become ritually impure. Under Torah law, however, there are two distinct conditions that can make a body of water immune from becoming impure 

In other words, under two possible circumstances will water always be pure.  According to rabbinic law, exactly such water is needed if one would immerses oneself for the purpose of purification.  Only water which is inherently pure can be used for this specific ritual.
The first scenario involves rain water that has naturally gathered into a basin.  However, the flow of the water into the basin must happen without any interruption, and there is a number of rather complicating additional conditions.  One of them is that the rain water cannot flow through any metal pipes or through certain vessels.  Also, once the rain water is gathered into the basin, it has to be still, i.e. it has to stop flowing.  This limits certain bodies of water to be used as a Mikvèh.  For instance, a river that is primarily fed by rain water is unfit for ritual immersion.
The second scenario involves water that flows uninterruptedly from an active spring.  This involves a different set of prerequisites, which are generally less complicated.  Most significantly, the water can be used even if it keeps flowing from the spring well.

The Mikvèh in Putti:

It is this second type of Mikvèh that is used by the community of Putti. The water flows from thespring into the Mikvèh basin and back out again (see below).

The Mikvèh in Putti:

The Mikvèh

(Photography: Menachem Kuchar)

In the second illustration, one can see the actual water spring and the channel leading to the Putti Mikvèh.

The actual Mikvèh is made slightly removed from the spring itself, to create safer conditions for immersion as well as an environment of privacy by means of walled enclosure (as the immersion is typically performed without clothing).

The Mikvèh2

(Photography: Menachem Kuchar)

The third illustration shows Putti’s actual Mikvèh:

Making use of a spring and flowing water offered the significant advantage that it doesn’t offer a breeding ground for mosquitoes.  The alternative option for building a Mikvèh, namely with collected still-standing rain water, would instead have created a dangerous source of malaria.
In addition, in the way the Mikvèh was built in Putti, the water flowing out is now used to irrigate the crops on the land that feed the people!

The Minimal Amount of Water in a Mikvèh:

One thing we know is that there should be enough water to cover the entire body of an average person.   According to some authorities, as long as a person’s whole body can be covered with water, then the Mikvèh is sufficient for him/her.  The majority of the rabbis of the Talmud however held that the quantity of water has to be at least 40 se’ah.  The question then immediately comes up: How much is a se’ah?  Typically for most things Jewish, that is a matter of debate.  It doesn’t really help to know that a se’ah is supposed to be the same size as 144 eggs…  How big the average eggs in the time of the Talmud were, is another point of discussion.  In short, the opinions on the minimal quantity of water in a “ritual bath” differ from 293.2 liter (77.5 gallons) to a much stricter opinion that quotes a minimal amount of 572 liter (151 gallons).  Nowadays, as there is no maximum quantity of water, all Mikva’ot, (including the Putti Mikvèh), are built larger than the biggest quoted minimum, to accommodate all opinions. 
The above mentioned immersion of new cooking utensils has a smaller minimum of water, but can be done in the same Mikvèh as well.

Other Types of Mikvèh:

Many of the world’s natural bodies of water, such as seas, oceans, spring-fed lakes, and spring-fed rivers  are Mikva’ot as well, and can be used for purification purposes.  Before the construction of the Putti Mikvèh, the members of the Putti community generally utilized a nearby river, which offered several hazards, such as the presence of parasites, water snakes and other creatures that live in the rivers.

When the Mikvèh is Used:

According to Jewish practice, immersing in a Mikvèh is required on a number of occasions.

1. Most importantly, a Jewish woman is required to immerse after a number of days following her menstruation.  During this period she and her husband are not allowed to be together in an intimate way, until she immerses in the Mikvèh or, as we saw before in another valid body of water.  Initially, according to Torah law and in most cases, this period of semi-separation lasted seven days in total, starting from the unset of her monthly period.  As a result of a development that started in Talmudic times in Babylonia, the custom evolved into a counting of seven days starting from the end of the woman’s menstruation (often resulting in a total of about 12 days on average).  This approach has become the general practice of virtually all observant Jewish communities.

2. As the practice of monthly immersion is only observed in the context of marital life, an unmarried woman does not visit the Mikvèh.  Therefore, her first visit to the Mikvèh is typically on the night before her wedding.

3. The above described practice is also observed after a woman gives birth. 

4. All Jewish converts, both men and women, immerse in a Mikvèh after they have been accepted by a Jewish court (a Beth Din).  This immersion constitutes their entering into the Jewish people.

5. In all these occasions, the ritual of immersing oneself in a Mikvèh, is more than just a ritualistic or legalistic practice.  Therefore, apart from the above described cases, there are other occasions for using a Mikvèh, which are voluntary and done for purely spiritual purposes. 
As an example, some grooms visit the Mikvèh on the day before their wedding. 
In addition, many Jewish men (and some women) visit a Mikvèh on the day before Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).  Others practice this custom even before other Jewish holidays, some every week before the start of Shabbat and few individuals go early every day before morning prayers. 

As was alluded to before, there is a strong spiritual component to this practice.  For one thing, a Mikvèh can be seen as representing the waters of creation, or/and a mother’s womb, while immersing and coming out of a Mikvèh symbolizes rebirth and spiritual renewal, or even resurrection.
Therefore, it is not surprising to find that a rather new application of the Mikvèh has emerged in our days, namely as a tool within certain post-trauma therapies.

Historically:

Jews have been building Mikva’ot for thousands of years.  In fact the Mikvèh is such an integral and essential part of Jewish practice that a Jewish community is required to make the building of a Mikvèh their highest priority.  A community is required to build a Mikvèh, even before investing in a synagogue!

Here are some pictures of Mikva’ot from (a) Antiquity, from (b) the Middle Ages and from (c) Modern Times.

The Final Stage:

The  building of the Mikvèh in Putti was made possible by generous contributions of donors like you and me. As a final stage we now need to plant trees around the Mikvèh, to provide shade and privacy for the people using it.  In addition the outgoing Mikvèh water can be used for fruit trees that provide nutrition and vitamins.  Efforts are made by the Putti Village Assistance Organization to raise money for this goal.

You can contribute to this lofty cause by donating $20 for a fruit tree, through the following link:  http://puttivillage.org/donate. (All donations are tax deductible)

Keeping Focus on God in the Synagogue

Did you ever ask yourself WHY?

In traditional orthodox Jewish synagogues men and women sit separately.  This practice allows the men and women to keep their focus on God and the prayers and not the opposite sex.  

On a more spiritual level men and women have different souls, from complementary but opposite sources.  When praying Jewish people aim for being with one’s true self, to communicate with their soul.  Men and women need space from each other to help them become intuned to their higher selves.  Sitting separately allows for this freedom. (commentary by Aron Moss;) 

What is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah (Chanukah) means “rededication” and is one of the most important and significant periods in the Jewish calendar. This Festival is often known as the Festival of Lights.

This year, Hanukkah started on the evening of Sunday December 6th. During this Festival, it is traditional to give gifts to one another. Putti Village Assistance Org. (PVAO) thought, what better way to start the Festival, than to give each family living in the Putti Jewish Community, a life saving mosquito net. These nets will undoubtedly help the Community to combat the unseasonable current malaria outbreak which is affecting every family in Putti. Children and the elderly in particular, are at most risk. We need to buy many more nets so we can ensure everyone is given one. No-one needs to die, nor fall seriously ill – mosquito nets will hopefully ensure that does not happen. For every $10 donated, we can buy a specially coated net for maximum protection. Our goal is to raise $750 by the end of the year.

Please help us by donating to this cause. Click the donate button to make a donation with paypal.

Happy Hanukkah to one and all!