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As part of the URJ Reflection Project, a new set of offerings and experiences for the High Holidays in a time of social distance, we’ve also developed three short essays that allow you to go deeper into the essence of Jewish wisdom that grounds these rituals.
As the High Holidays approach once again, we have created a number of resources for individuals and congregations to utilize as we mark these most important days in the Jewish calendar. We know we will be a stronger, more vibrant Jewish community when we fully incorporate the diversity that is the reality of modern Jewish life. We hope that each of these materials will help your High Holiday experiences and programming serve a wide range of identities and help you create communities of belonging.
In a scant 19 lines, Genesis Chapter 22 reports that God once instructed Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering. This notorious incident, known as the Akedah or the Binding of Isaac, is read every Rosh HaShanah and has inspired an unknowable number of sermons, essays, artworks, and interpretations.
Every year I look forward to this time as a reset button, and a chance to truly evaluate who I am and who I am becoming. I also know, from my time as a congregational rabbi, that for those of us working in the Jewish world, Elul takes on its own strange character.
This is not going to be a sad story, I promise. But it does start out with the process of going through my parents’ condo after their passing.
This Elul, what comes to mind as I think about my own growth and what empowers me towards religious action is the work of Northeastern University’s Community Fridge.
Blaming God for such tragedies is theologically problematic; blaming God for failed human policies is blasphemous. This idea is worth considering as we cope with the devastating aftermath of the multiple disasters confronting us.
Jewish tradition recognizes that fasting is not a safe practice for all Jews. For this reason, children under the age of 13 and individuals who are pregnant or ill are not required to fast in Yom Kippur. For those who fall into this category, the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services provides a special meditation to recite instead, written by Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub.