Yom Kippur is bookended by music and liturgy that speak to us on an emotional level. We often cannot explain it; it is simple yet powerfully spiritual, reaching into our souls with a fervor that would leave us empty were we to miss those elements of the service.
The N’ilah service on late Yom Kippur afternoon is notable for its image of the Gates of Repentance closing their doors. At this late and hungry hour, for the final time during the Day of Atonement, we are summoned to repentance. The fact that many Sages argue we can actually delay our atonemen
Yom Kippur is the only day in the traditional Jewish liturgical year to have five services: in addition to the usual four shared with Shabbatot, Festivals, and Rosh Hashanah (evening, morning, Musaf, and afternoon1), Yom Kippur has a concluding service called N’ilah (li
Eighteen years ago, when I first led Yizkor on Yom Kippur at my current synagogue, I admit to having been startled by an exodus from the pews.
U.S. Reform congregations will soon commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with the annual celebration of Shabbat Tzedek, taking the opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made in advancing civil rights in the past half-century and to rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of racial justice.
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, Mark Ludwig, executive director of the Terezin Music Foundation (TMF), has created “an artistic memorial” to the 15-20 million people who died or were imprisoned in the Third Reich’s more than 42,500 camps and ghettos. Terezin served as a Nazi propaganda ploy to showcase how well Jews were treated in the camps, for example, by allowing musical and theater productions.
Recently I took the train down to Tel Aviv to attend a conference on the place of the Arabic language in Israeli culture and society. The topics of the lectures sounded interesting, addressing a number of questions that I had been thinking about for years, living here in the Galilee where 50% of the population are Palestinian Arabs.
When I was a kid, there was nothing better than hanging out on the couch on Saturday afternoons watching movies. I loved gladiator films, British horror flicks, westerns, and movies about faraway places. I had a massive kid crush on the god-like actors, and I desperately hoped to grow up to look like Joan Collins.