Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Nittal Nach, Christmas Eve

    Nittel Nacht, or “birth night”, is Yiddish for Christmas Eve . From around the late 16th century, many Jews in Europe observed this night, principally by not learning Torah. With many of the locals running wild in the streets on Christmas Eve, it was not safe for Jews to be out, and most Jews did not have any books at home.

    Some say that it was an act of mourning. Jesus’s birth was the start of a lot of grief for Jews and so, just as on Tishah b’Av they didn’t learn Torah, so too, on Christmas Eve. A mystical reason, given in Chasidic sources, is that on this inauspicious day Jews did not want to confer the spiritual benefit that Torah study gives to the world.

    Jewish-Christian relations have improved immeasurably and today keeping Nittel Nacht has become rare. Among Western Jews, having a tree, a turkey dinner and inviting the neighbours over for drinks are far more common ways of observing Christmas. Where is the right balance between fear and disdain on the one hand and ingratiation and ass

Jewish ways

Not sleeping on Rosh Hashanah

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Not sleeping on Rosh Hashanah
Jewish ways

Censoring Aleinu

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Censoring Aleinu
Jewish ways

Veggie cheeseburgers

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Veggie cheeseburgers
Jewish ways

Reading the ketubah

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Friday, September 4, 2015

Reading the ketubah
Jewish ways

Reciting psalm 27 in Ellul

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Reciting psalm 27 in Ellul
Jewish ways

Havdalah before Tishah B'av

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Havdalah before Tishah B'av
Jewish ways

Thirteen Attributes

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Thirteen Attributes
Jewish ways

Dedicating a new home

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Dedicating a new home
Jewish ways

Spilling wine at Havdalah

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Spilling wine at Havdalah