Jewish ritual

  When I lost my father, seven years ago, I was devastated ― sad and overwhelmed, uncertain what to do.  Judaism gave me
Eventually, I contacted a local friend who's an Orthodox rabbi. He called ahead to the beit din. While I am certain that
"The Jewish people invented circumcision." "Circumcision is a matter of Jewish identity." "All Jews circumcise." People often make such assumptions. But are the assumptions valid?
On Hanukkah we wish one another, Hanukkah same'ah! 'Happy Hanukkah!' Because it's a celebration, a remembrance of something good, a time in our mythic past when our ancestors saw miracles . . . and needed them.
When the Hasidim of Kotzk prayed, they did not move. Any external sign of piety was deemed pretentious. The story is told of a great student, who after one prayer session -- though someone observing from the side would not even have noticed that he was praying -- was bathed in sweat and had actually cracked two of his teeth.
Some say that the period of Judaism we are now in, its institutions and leaders, are on the verge of major transformation. Many of us don't see it coming.
Over the centuries, there have been many different ways to decorate the Torah. Like all Judaica, there is no particular style of Jewish art. Jews adapted their decoration to whatever surrounding local style they were living in. Here are some examples.
This is the time to sit with the anxiety, the ambiguity and the unknowability of our lives. This is the time to go down deep in to the deepest recesses of who we are, to find resources and riches we didn't know were there.
It's that time of year that every Jew dreads. Eight days without bread, pizza, pasta or anything else that leavens. But not in our house.
Passover, in many respects, is among the most accessible and relatable moments on the Jewish calendar. It invites us to immerse ourselves in the Jewish narrative in a way no other holiday does.
Why do we repeat the same story over and over again? Why do we never actually "get there"? Because every place, every moment has the potential for constriction and release, for fear and hope, for degradation and praise, for brokenness and wholeness.
Jewish ritual is meant to be experiential -- something that simultaneously catapults us backwards in time and propels us forward in anticipation of the future. When we sit at the seder we are attempting to connect with the Power that makes for freedom, identify that force within ourselves and the Universe to bring about redemption.
Is being around Jews or joining a synagogue or celebrating Jewish holidays with Jews what we yearn for? I'm not sure.
Perhaps nothing unifies Jews across levels of observance and backgrounds more than our adherence to superstitions involving babies. We Jews don't mess around with this stuff. Frankly, I find this curious.
"As enacted, the regulation does no more than ensure that parents can make an informed decision" whether to consent, she
Light illuminates worlds. The Hanukkah candles are meant to illuminate that which we would wish to celebrate as real in our world.
Why have Jews traditionally given money to our children on Hanukkah? While it is now commonplace to also give gifts, the original tradition remains to give gelt.
Looking back at the devastation Hurricane Sandy brought to New York, it is hard to imagine that the city still managed to function at all. Many stories of bravery and tragedy were recounted but there were also many stories left untold.
For the eight days and seven nights of Sukkot, Jews traditionally eat and sleep in a sukkah, a temporary dwelling with a