I had come to Israel to join my friend Anat Hoffman, who is one the leaders of the Women of the Wall. The previous month, there had been a random decree that as women were coming in, they were not allowed to wear their prayer shawls, their tallits. I’ve been wearing a prayer shawl since I would say the late '70s, a long time. And it’s just considered a regular part of my ritual in prayer. In 1968, the Orthodox rabbinic created a mechitza, which is a separation between men and women at the Western Wall. And the understanding here in a very traditionally observant manner, in an orthodox manner, is that men are obligated to pray. Women are not. The Orthodox have deemed this site to be a synagogue.
I grew up in a home with my single mother and two sisters. My mother had one sister, two nieces, and one nephew. When my mother died, our synagogue shipped in the men of the traveling shiva minyan to say Kaddish for her the night of her funeral.
Following a court ruling in their favor, leaders of an organization pushing for women's prayer rights at the Western Wall have withdrawn their endorsement of Natan Sharansky’s compromise proposal to expand the egalitarian section there.
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.)
Given that Yom Kippur is the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, it makes sense that it can, and should, be joyful.
Although we learn to say “I’m sorry” as young children, as we age, these words take on more meaning, perhaps reflecting true regret about our behavior or its impact.
Rabbi Stephen Karol's new book is based on his many years of helping congregants in mourning, which shaped and sharpened his perceptions of death and Jewish mourning tradition.
I heard Kol Nidrei on a violin tonight.
They should take all legal documents
and set them to music.
All vows –
This legal document
written in unholy language
a prenuptial agreement
for our inevitable failing.
This relationship with
From those who always fast to those who have considered not doing so – or who have taken a year or two off for health reasons – here are a few personal perspectives about fasting on the holiest day of the Jewish year.