I began my journey to Judaism nervously. Unlike the Charedim (ultra-Orthodox) who are anxious before the word of God, I was anxious in the uncertainty of the future.
This morning I met again with my usual cohort of Jewish clergy who study sacred texts together each week in the coffee shop.
By Cantor Barbara R. Finn
In the game “Truth-or-Dare,” I choose “truth” nearly every time. I’m not much of a dare-taker. Thus, if you and I were playing “Special Edition Truth-or-Dare: High Holy Days,” I would confess that the prayer Avinu Malkeinu provides me with both my second-favorite liturgical moment and my second-greatest pet peeve of the year’s liturgy. (Note: Even though I may have to repent for it, I will leave you in suspense about my favorite liturgical moment and my greatest liturgical pet peeve. Also, “Special Edition Truth-or-Dare: High Holy Days” is fictional, although I hereby declare copyright in the event Mattel or Hasbro comes knocking at my door.)
In Parashat Yitro, we are overwhelmed by the power of the encounter of God and the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. The people respond to God's Presence saying, "All that the Eternal has spoken we will do!" (Exodus 19:8).
Parashat Ki Tisa recounts the incident of the Golden Calf in a multilayered narrative about faith and leadership. In Exodus, chapter 32, we read that Moses remained on Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights. In his absence, the Israelites demanded that Aaron fashion an idol so God would be present with them.