We receive quite a few letters asking Bubby short and quirky letters about Judaism. We're posting a bunch of her responses to those today.
Someone gave my daughter a "Jewish treat" at college. She said it was made from sesame seed paste and covered with chocolate. She thought the name of it was "havalah". Do I have the name correct?
Bubby: It's called Halvah. The chocolate is just a dressing. Just like candy with an icing. But you can buy that without the dressing. It's a candy that's used at parties, just like any other confection.
In the Jewish religion, is it customary to have a baby shower before or after the baby is born?
Bubby: A baby shower has nothing to do with religion. The very Orthodox would frown upon having it before the baby is born. Others would consider it a blessing. Just like a shower before a wedding. Some don't do it at all. But usually it's done by friends.
I am doing a paper for school and I need to know what the benches that are like pews in the shul are called. I think they are not called pews, but something else. Do you know?
Bubby: No! Just a bench. I have no idea if it has another name. Benches, or seats, or pews if you're referring to a row.
This may seem like an insensitive question, but I was always told that people of the Jewish faith bury their dead in an upright position. Fact or Fiction?
Bubby: Haha! That's fiction! I don't think that anyone is ever buried that way. I think it's just a joke. Even in ancient Egypt people are buried lying down, entombed in shrouds. In Israel, Jews or Muslims, and in America too, people are buries in shrouds. In America, after the body is cleansed and dressed in shrouds the body is buried in a coffin. In Israel they don't use coffins.
Help settle a life long question. Why is Passover 8 days? I need to answer this question. Please help.
Bubby: Well, it's really 7 days. But because of variations in timetelling, in Israel it's observed 7 days. But in America it's celebrated 8 days to ensure it's the full allotted time. Just as we observe 2 seders, in Israel since their calendar is different than ours, they have 1 seder.
I hope I'm right on all of these!
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