Rosh HaShanah

Easing on Down the Road…Sukkot is All Uplift

10/02/2009
Special to the Jewish Week

The days between Yom Kippur and the beginning of Sukkot offer a welcome opportunity for a change of mood.

But Seriously… Barack Obama’s Nobel Prize

10/16/2009
Special to the Jewish Week

Just a few weeks ago, I wrote a blog entry that cited my second day Rosh Hashanah sermon.  It defended President Obama from what I consider ill-advised attacks against him, caustic and often personal attacks not grounded in any reality.  As I see it, he’s a relatively untested politician in a terribly difficult job in a ridiculously difficult time, doing the best he can.  The jury is out on him, and time alone will tell.  (Yes, Mr. Safire a”h, too many clichés, but they are all perfectly appropriate!).

Hair, Harry And Hindus

Sunday, September 28th, 2008   In the end, of course, “Hair” is a Broadway musical, a superficial story with superb songs that just happen to be about drugs, dropouts and draft dodging. Some teenagers, from a yeshiva, told an old man (me) that seeing  “Hair” made them wish that they were “activists,” too, like the kids in “Hair,” which is as connected to real life as wanting to be a nanny after seeing “Mary Poppins,” or a horse after “Equus.”  

They’ve Got A Nit To Pick

Staff Writer
10/20/2009

Every Rosh HaShanah, as Dalya Harel welcomes friends and relatives from abroad into her home from abroad, she eagerly awaits the arrival of some other New Year favorites — apples, honey and head lice.

“It’s a very busy season,” she said. “I had guests from Israel, and I cannot tell you what they brought me.”

The Latkes That Bind

12/16/2005
Special To The Jewish Week
When I was a small child in Houston, my mother would come to school every year to teach about Chanukah. Armed with her guitar, wax-encrusted menorah, dreidels and box of latkes mix, my mother (laying her New York accent on a little thicker than usual) gave my Christian classmates a brief recap of the Maccabee story before launching into some songs. A blonde girl once requested "Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer." The teacher looked embarrassed, but my mother laughed and said, "Why not?"

Noah Feldman And The Snub Factor

08/17/2007
Special To The Jewish Week
All month I’ve been debating whether or not to jump into the Noah Feldman frenzy.   Feldman, for those of you who have spent the past month under a rock, is the bete noire of Modern Orthodoxy: a yeshiva day school grad who recently published a New York Times Magazine article about how his alma mater has ostracized him for intermarrying.

Closer To God, Far from Shul

09/07/2007
Staff Writer
There are people who don’t want to come to a traditional structure because they don’t like tradition,” Rabbi Hoffman says. Hence his abbreviated, participatory service in a decidedly non-synagogue site. “We cater,” he says, “to both a traditional and non-traditional crowd.”

Begging For Forgiveness

09/22/2006
Staff Writer
A man who likes extinct languages, Mel Gibson had a chance to practice his Latin this summer — he made several mea culpas.Following his drunken, sexist, profane, anti-Semitic tirade in Malibu in July, the actor-director apologized to the police officers who arrested him. He apologized in a general public statement for saying “despicable” things.

Garrison Keillor's Christmas Card to the Jews

I've been a fan of The Prairie Home Companion since it went national, though I confess I often hit the “off” switch when host Garrison Keillor starts to sing,  so I don't exactly know what to make of his column this week in Salon – which also appeared in newspapers around the country.

Keillor is complaining about a Unitarian rewrite of the Christmas song “Silent Night” that pretty much removes all the Christian content.

Wired To The High Holy Days

09/26/2008
Staff Writer
Houston — Just released from the hospital and too weak to attend High Holy Days services at her synagogue four years ago, Pearl Altman listened on the telephone. The congregation of Mrs. Altman, a retired teacher and investment banker, had made that arrangement for homebound members like her. But the audio-only broadcast could not duplicate the in-shul experience, she says. Too much dead time, extended minutes of silence or of prayerbook pages rustling. There must be a better way, said Mrs. Altman and her husband Sig.
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