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.
Inspired by Stan, our congregation's 83-year-old bar mitzvah boy, I’m thinking that I may not wait until I turn 83 to recreate some part of my entry into adulthood, according to Jewish tradition, on an upcoming Friday night.
In 2010, I watched two dynamic Argentine cantors, Gaston Bogomolni and Ari Litvak, create an incredible Shabbat evening service called “Davenin’ La Vida Loca,” which translates loosely as “Praying the Crazy Life.” Filled with music in the Argentinean style of Friday night worship, together with compositions from Latin American composers, the worship was so well received that Bogomolni and Litvak were commissioned to create a series of Latin American anthologies. The first one, Ruach Hadarom, Anthology of Congregational Melodies from Latin America, Volume I: Shabbat, will be available soon, with anthologies for the High Holidays, festivals, and weddings to follow.
I ask you, is this a sheyn punim (a pretty face)? I’ve been dying to say those words for the past four years, ever since I came to China to work as a teacher of oral English at Nanyang Normal University.
In the midst of the water crisis here in Flint, MI, Shapiro’s Delicatessen of Indianapolis – purveyors of exceptional Jewish foods since 1905 – traveled 300 miles to deliver a “We stand with you” meal to Flint’s Jewish community on the last Shabbat in January.
I’ve often been taught that as the people of Israel, named after our forefather, we are meant to struggle with God. It just never occurred to me that could include the struggle to remain upright.
Most of us are looking for simple ways to re-center ourselves and our lives, and ReformJudaism.org's new weekly podcast is designed to help you do just that.
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.)
This week's Torah portion, Ki Tisa, interrupts the description of the building of the Tabernacle with a long narrative section that includes the story of the Golden Calf, the smashing of the Ten Commandments, the carving of the second set of tablets, and — although perhaps less famously — the most chutzpadik (impertinent) question in the whole Torah.
The question comes after Moses has negotiated twice with God on behalf of the Israelites: first, with moderate success, when he asks God to forgive the people for the sin of the idolatrous Golden Calf; and second, when he successfully convinces God to lead the Israelites along the next stage of their journey.
But Moses' next negotiation with God is not on behalf of the Israelites, but for himself. Out of the blue, it seems, just as God has acceded to his second request, Moses speaks up again. "Oh, let me behold Your Presence!" he says to God (Exodus 33:18).