Every year, the season of reflection and renewal is culminated by the celebration of Simchat Torah (literally “the rejoicing of the Torah”).
I did not have a typical Reform Movement upbringing, and would say that the three years I lived on an island in Alaska are probably most emblematic of that.
Thanks to social media and electronic devices you can check in on Foursquare and read the Mishkan T'filah prayer book on a handheld device at the same time. Yet for all the modern inventions, the Torah remains unaffected.
I’ve come to the conclusion we need to change the date of Simchat Torah. Our Jewish festivals must be re-envisioned as inspirational community gatherings of joyful spiritual Jewish celebration. Every single festival needs to be a time of great community involvement and meaning.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that it can be difficult to be Jewish at Christmas time. It has seeped into North American cultural consciousness so thoroughly that South Park even wrote a song about it, complete with trademark expletives.
Four years ago, Josh and I met at the intern orientation for our training programs in the mental health field. I thought he was loud and a know-it-all (truth be told, he really does know a lot!) and he thought I had pretty eyes.
For the past several weeks my mailboxes, both virtual and real, have been overflowing with messages urging me to “buy, buy, buy.” As a result, I have been spending a lot of time hitting “delete, delete, delete” and tossing torn envelopes and catalogs into the recycle bag to t