I stood on the border of my wilderness.
It beckons in silent commandment,
My feet feeling for the road
That is dusty and half hidden
Under brambles and
Camp helps us feel closer to God.” With this sentence, I opened my dialogue with the summer leadership staff of URJ Camp Newman, a Reform Jewish sleepaway camp, at our annual retreat. As it turns out, even some of our rabbinic students felt uneasy about this language and its placement within our opening conversation.
This year at our Passover seder, I experienced something deeply powerful which I had not felt in the context of Passover before.
For a people with just one God, we Jews sure do a lot of counting.
Three patriarchs, four matriarchs, six days of creation, eight nights of Hanukkah, 12 tribes, 40 years in the desert, 70 years in a life - 80 if we’re really robust. You get the picture…
Tekiah! Teruah! Shevarim! Tekiah Gedolah!
In the traditional liturgy, the special character of each holiday is particularly conveyed by the piyyutim (hymns, liturgical poems) that are recited or chanted on that day. Most of these piyyutim have been omitted in Reform liturgies since the nineteenth century, out of a sense that their Hebrew diction is too arcane and their theology too medieval. Yet, some of these poems have routinely been retained in Reform High Holy Day prayer books, particularly for Yom Kippur.