What Makes a Home Jewish?

How many Jewish objects can you identify on my shelves?

How many Jewish objects can you identify on my shelves?

In parashat Shelach-Lecha, we read about Moses sending 12 spies into the Promised Land to see what it was like: what grew there? Who lived there? What would the children of Israel face when they entered the Land?

If spies looked in your place, how could they tell that it is a Jewish home?

Would they see

Would they hear

  • Jewish music?
  • Hebrew prayers?
  • Hebrew spoken?
  • Radio from Israel on the computer?
  • a debate about ethics?

Would they smell

  • Jewish foods cooking?
  • Candles?
  • Havdalah spices?

Could they taste

Or could they touch

  • a challah cover?
  • a tallit [prayer shawl]?
  • Passover dishes?
  • Jewish art made by a child?
  • Shabbat candlesticks?

Can you suggest experiences they’d find in your home that would “give it away” as a Jewish home?



4 Responses to What Makes a Home Jewish?

  1. Jacques Hennebert says:

    Dear Ruth,

    The first translation of -Prayer : 9 tips for beginners- is over. I have edited it and adapted it (slightly) for a French audience. Anyway, allow me to send you a copy for proofing, before I submit it to our rabbi who is bilingual…

    I hope I did not betray too much your own words! By the way, there are really 9 tips listed…

    Thank you again, there’s more to come…

    Jacques Hennebert


    • rabbiadar says:

      Thank you very much, Jacques! And thank you for telling me about the numbering issue. I will correct that as soon as possible.

      You can communicate with me at ruthadar (at) gmail (dot) com

      Again, thank you.


  2. shocheradam says:

    Rabbi, do you think that it’s acceptable to use repurposed items for home ritual such as Shabbat? Right now, living on a shoestring budget, I don’t really have the money for $200 candlesticks or a Kiddush set for Shabbat, so I’m using items I already had in the house (for now, at least). Sometimes I worry that this isn’t really as acceptable as I want it to be. Any thoughts?


    • rabbiadar says:

      A quick answer, and I’ll do a post addressing it in more detail: items you already have are just fine. Plain candlesticks are fine. I have made kiddush with a Solo cup of grape juice, and it was fine. Really and truly.

      More soon.


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