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This came just before I left on my work trip so now it’s time to make my ancestors proud and also make some pickles

(I haven’t started but this is specifically Ashkenazi cooking and especially Eastern European Jewish, which is my background. It is my hope that I will finally learn to appreciate borscht properly)

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Making this post because it seems lots of people don’t really understand what makes a Jew an Ashkenazi.

Ashkenazim are the Jews who moved into Europe during the Middle Ages, starting off in the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe and eventually making it all the way to England. Most Ashkies lived/live in Eastern Europe, especially Russia and Poland. 

There are also smaller Jewish groups in Europe who are not Ashkenazi, such as Sephardi and Italkim.

Now, even though different Ashkenazim lived in different countries and had variations in their culture, they were/are still of the same ethnic group. A German Jew is an Ashkenazi who’s from Germany, and they are ethnically the same as a French Jew, a Romanian Jew, or an Estonian Jew. 

Basically, a German Jew doesn’t mean someone who is half Jewish half German (although being mixed is certainly a thing) but a Jew who lived in Germany. Most Ashkenazim didn’t mix with non-Jews, so your average Russian Jew wouldn’t be part Russian.

One thing that could make this confusing are Ashkenazi names, such as ones ending in -stein, -burg, and -sky, which are actually European names. Jews traditionally didn’t have surnames, so Europeans forced them to choose a local one, that’s why there are Jews with German and Polish names. 

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Today I went to my first ever Kabbalat Shabbat with my girlfriend and it was amazing! I didn’t understand most of the service (the parts that weren’t in Hebrew were in Spanish and I’m still learning), but it was such a fun, happy, familial atmosphere and it made me feel so good. We stayed to have some challah afterwards, and the whole way home we were discussing and telling each other how we felt and she was explaining things to me that I didn’t understand. It honestly was the greatest experience, and I can’t wait to go to more services at home

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So I’m attending this single’s weekend thing at my shul.

There are three ways this can go. I can either:

A) meet my soulmate

B) just meet other humans and make friends

or

C) get super anxious and awkward and uncomfortable the whole time

I’ll let you know how this goes.

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The Shabbat protects man from himself. By nature, man keeps himself very busy trying to occupy time and space with his self-expressions. On Shabbat he is asked to cease from this activity and reverse it. He must make space for the rest of creation and for God. As such he must release the reigns he holds over space and time and let them proceed without his intervention. Because he is not allowed to “work” on Shabbat (which includes even transporting objects from a public domain to a private and vice versa) a Jew learns how to distance himself from his physical space.

Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo

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What does it mean to “take God’s name in vain?” When I was a child, I was taught that this commandment prohibited saying curse words. But is cursing an unforgivable sin? Is it really worse than murder?

Biblical scholar David Sperling suggests that a better translation of the commandment is “do not speak the Eternal’s name to that which is false." In its original time, the commandment may have been understood as "do not identify the Eternal (our God) with another god.” Today we could read it as “do not put God’s ‘label’ on actions that are not godly.”

Rabbi Jennifer Jaech

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