Tag Archives: Holidays

Matzah Oven, Bukharia, Uzbekistan, 2000

In this photograph, an elderly woman removes a round piece of freshly baked matzah from a clay oven. Baked the old fashioned way, this handmade matzah is said to be denser and chewier than the crunchy machine-made variety. This photograph was taken after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Under Soviet rule in Uzbekistan and …

Purim’s Gandhi, Mumbai (formerly Bombay) India, 2001

To celebrate the festival of Purim, this boy in India’s capital city Mumbai has dressed up in costume, following the well-known tradition of dressing as heroes and villains from the story of Esther. But rather than a figure from the Megillah, he is wearing the iconic outfit of his country’s greatest political hero, Mohandas Gandhi, …

Kindling Holiday Lights, Bombay (Mumbai), India, 2001

Until modern times, Shabbat and holiday lights were usually kindled with oil. In some places, like India, that’s still the custom. The woman in this photograph is lighting hanging oil lamps in honor of the holiday of Purim. Although Jewish law doesn’t require the kindling of lights for Purim, it is the tradition in her community to welcome …

Kapparot, Kew Garden Hills, Queens, New York, 1995

In this picture, Kew Garden Hills, Queens, is the setting for kapparot, one of the more unusual Jewish folk customs. This boy’s mother holds a prayer book for him as he waves a chicken over his head. Through this act, which is practiced just before Yom Kippur, a person’s sins are symbolically transferred to the bird. The chicken …

Tisha B’Av, Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel, 1997

Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the month of Av, marks the destruction of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. This event happened almost 2,000 years ago, yet Jews around the world still mourn the loss every year on Tisha B’Av. And what better place to observe this day of mourning and fasting than at the …