Growing up in rural Massachusetts, Judaism held a much different context in my life than it does now. Until college, I did Judaism, mimicking the motions of being a "good Jew." I didn't combine milk and meat in my house because my father told me not to.
When I left for college my freshman year, I was nervous about exploring a new Jewish community. However, I immediately felt at home as I walked into my university’s Hillel’s Conservative Friday night services and saw the Siddur Sim Shalom, the prayer book I had grown up with.
I remember the absence of sound,
deeper than silence
and more lonely,
like the moment just
all stretched and
except there was no time
so waiting was
Cafe Spindel is a quaint café in the center of Bad Segeberg, Germany that used to house a wool-processing factory. Because it was an unseasonably warm and sunny late summer day when I visited, our host, Pastor Martin Pommerening, suggested we sit outside.
The “Days of Awe” is a good name for the High Holiday season because when we are in awe of something, that's a good thing, but I like “Awesome Days” so much better.
It is worth remembering another day of infamy – September 1, 1939 – the day that set in motion the destruction of six million Jews. That date is a grim reminder of a wondrous Jewish world that would soon be no more.
Acharei Mot, the first of this week's two parashiyot, begins on an unsettling note—a reminder of the death of Aaron's sons and the suggestion that such tragedies might occur again unless the priests take specified steps to prevent them