This site lists the historical origins of customs, how they have developed and changed over the ages and, wherever possible, it gives at least one explanation for them. On this website Jewish practices are described from the point of view of Reform and Liberal Movements in Britain.

Because some Orthodox Jews may wish to read the site, the site does not include the divine name in Hebrew characters. Following the views of Yair Chaim Bachrach, Simon b Zemach Duran and Akiba Eger, some versions of the Divine name do appear in English characters.


References to the Mishnah are given with the Tractate, Chapter and Mishnah eg. Berachot 5, 3. Such references date from before about 220 CE.

References from the Babylonian Talmud are given as Tractate, page number. eg. Berachot, 21b. These would be prior to 500 CE.


This site was written by Rabbi Lawrence Rigal between 2001 and his death in 2010. It is no longer being updated.