As I boarded the plane to Israel in the summer of 2002 for my first year of rabbinical school at HUC in Jerusalem, my mother said, "Please, just don't meet an Israeli." As soon as the plane touched down at Ben Gurion airport, I knew that I was home. A few months later, I met that Israeli. From our first conversation, he understood that I was studying to be a rabbi, and I understood that he wanted to live only in Israel.
I am vegan because I am Jewish. Everything that led me to a vegan practice came from my childhood where I kept kosher, learned by asking thoughtful questions, and practiced daily rituals like hand washing and reciting brachot that brought intention to aspects of daily life.
D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-MuchinSeptember 8, 2022
In his 1966 novel, The Gates of the Forest, Elie Wiesel famously wrote, "God created [hu]man[s] because [God] loves stories." Indeed, each of our lives is a story that is told to the world. Our stories involve many characters, have plot twists, and offer lessons that teach something of the nature of life. Our life stories highlight what is important to us, what ideals guide us, and the significant experiences that have shaped who we are. Every life is a story. Telling that story helps us remember who we are.
The month before the High Holidays, Elul, is a time of spiritual preparation and t'shuvah. This year, as we conclude a Shmita, or sabbatical year, after focusing on taking time to pause, rest and reflect, I feel a sense of urgency and the need to act.
Rabbi Austin Zoot
Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur worship services are among the most attended services of the year. That can be a challenge when the worship experiences are not the easiest entry points to Judaism, especially compared to the joyousness of Simchat Torah, the food and rituals of Hanukkah, or the sensory stimulation of Passover.