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Jewish Practice
and Traditions

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Judaism is a religion replete with many traditions connected to its holidays, rituals, life cycle observances, and its connection to Israel. The Jewish people celebrate their culture and religion with a variety of symbols, items, foods, and activities. Prayer and study of Jewish texts are central to Jewish life as are learning about and doing acts of loving-kindness (Chesed) and repairing the world (Tikkun Olam). 


Are you curious about these Jewish objects? Learn about some of them Here.

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Traditions Photo Key

The Augusta Jewish Museum has many more stories to tell.

Please come see us when the AJM opens in Summer 2023.

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1. Challah—An “egg” (and yeast) bread. Usually made without milk and used on the Sabbath and other Jewish holidays. It is usually braided. For the High Holy Days, the challah is round-shaped and made with raisins. Often topped with poppy or sesame seeds.  A blessing is said before eating: “Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Ruler of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.” Some Jews may salt the bread as a reminder of the sacrifices made in the Ancient Temple.

2. Chanukah Menorah—A Chanukiah is a candelabrum that holds 9 candles; 8 celebrate each day of the holiday and an additional candle that is used to light the others each night of the holiday. More Information

3. Kippah—skullcap, also referred to as a yarmulke in Yiddish.  Traditionally worn by men as a sign of respect for God. Today it may also be worn by some women.  Wearing a kippah is a sign of reverence for God when praying, studying the Torah, saying a blessing, or entering a synagogue. Some men wear a kippah all the time.

4. Kiddush cup—A ceremonial goblet (or cup) used when the Kiddush is recited during holidays. The Kiddush is the prayer said over wine (or grape juice) as Jews are commanded to sanctify the Sabbath and holidays.

5. Matzah—Unleavened bread. Often referred to as the bread of affliction. Traditionally eaten during Passover, it symbolizes the “bread” that the Israelites made when leaving Egypt and without having time to let the bread rise as they had to leave in a hurry. Matzah is to the right of the Challah.

6. Mezuzah—Hebrew for doorpost; a piece of parchment with verses from Deuteronomy put in a decorative case and placed on the doorpost of a house and may also be placed on the doorposts of rooms in which we “live” (not including bathrooms and kitchen).


7. Seder plate—A plate used during the Passover seder ceremony on which the symbols of the holidays are placed. (Bitter herbs, roasted egg, parsley, charoset (a paste made to look like the mortar with which the Jews built during slavery In Egypt), shank bone, horseradish).


8. Shofar—a ram’s horn blown with various types of blasts during the High Holy Days in remembrance of the biblical story of the binding of Isaac. The sounding of the shofar is mentioned frequently in the Bible and is blown daily during the Hebrew month of Elul which precedes the High Holy Days.

9. Tallit—prayer shawl with fringes on the 4 corners (tzitzit) as described in the Torah and used during morning prayer services.


10. Torah pointer “yad”—Shaped like a hand (yad) at its end,  this pointer is used when reading from the Torah scroll to respect the scroll and eliminating the need to touch the parchment.

The Augusta Jewish Museum has many more stories to tell.

Please come see us when the AJM opens in Summer 2023.

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