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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). 

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

Do You Know?

Click on a question to see the answer.

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  • 1. Do you know when the Holocaust took place?
    The Holocaust is an historic event which began in 1933 and ended in 1945, during which Nazi Germany persecuted and tried to eliminate the Jewish people, based on its antisemitic and racist ideology. It took place in the areas occupied by Nazi Germany and its collaborators.
  • 2. Do you know who are the Romani people are, and why they were persecuted?"
    The same racist ideology and belief in the racial superiority of the German people that was used to justify the murder of Jews was applied also to the Romani tribes, or “gypsies” of Europe. It is estimated that about 500,000 and possibly more Roma and Sinti were murdered in extermination camps and died of hunger and disease in forced labor and concentration camps. The “Romani Holocaust” has been largely unknown and it was not until 1982 that Germany recognized that it committed genocide against the Romani tribes. https://www.romasintigenocide.eu/en
  • 3. Do you know about Jewish resistance to the Nazis?
    Resistance to the Nazis took many forms from individual acts of courage to organized resistance. To die with dignity was a form of resistance. To survive hunger and demoralizing brutality, were acts of resistance and victory of the human spirit. The military strength of Nazi Germany and its allies, the concentration of Jews into ghettos, the thorough administrative system put in place, and the hostility of the civilian populations made it impossible for Jews to resist effectively, but it did not prevent them from trying. There were over a hundred uprisings, of which the best known is in the Warsaw ghetto. The Warsaw uprising in 1943 was the largest armed resistance against deportations to death camps. The revolt was defeated, but the courageous act of resistance helped raise Jewish morale and fueled resistance across Nazi occupied areas. The Warsaw uprising has been documented, including a detailed report with photographs prepared by an SS officer, known as the “Stroop Report”, used as evidence in the Nuremberg Trials for war crimes held after WWII.
  • 4. Do you know about the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews?
    The planned deportation of the Jews from within Bulgaria's pre-war borders (but not the areas annexed during the war) was never carried out. Bulgarian public figures protested against the deportation - among them Bulgarian Orthodox Church bishops, and persuaded the Tsar to postpone their deportation indefinitely. Their property was confiscated, they were forcibly relocated and all Jewish males between the ages of 20 and 40 were sent to forced labor, but the majority were not deported to the death camps. A monument is located in Charles Clore park in Tel Aviv. Its twin is in Bulgaria near the National Assembly in Sofia. Both monuments were initiated in 2013, when Bulgaria marked the 70th anniversary of the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews.
Traditions Photo Key

The Augusta Jewish Museum has many more stories to tell.

Please come see us when the AJM opens in Summer 2024.

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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 2024.

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