Faster! Bigger! Newer! More in touch! The innovative sector of Jewish life is thriving as never before through grassroots movements, including hip prayer groups, Jewish farming, and religious community organizing that are emerging to meet an expanding range of Jewish needs. While I consider myself a social entrepreneur within this trend and am excited by its progress and creativity, I can’t help but raise ethical concerns and questions about this progress. Why do so many innovators find it necessary to disparage the larger Jewish establishments?
Kwasniewski discusses religion and politics in Poland, Polish-Jewish relations today and the Holocaust with Jacques Berlinerblau, director of the Program for Jewish Civilization at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
Not again, I thought, as I saw police gathering on 40th Street and Seventh Avenue yesterday afternoon, less than 48 hours after the bungled (fortunately) car bomb on Times Square, a block from my office.
When Joe and I got engaged 13 years ago in Ann Arbor, Mich., I was sure we’d have trouble finding a rabbi to perform our wedding.
As it turned out, the rabbi at the local Reform temple was willing and available. When we arrived for our first meeting, I came expecting a lengthy interrogation about exactly how we planned to raise our children. I was prepared to commit to taking an Intro to Judaism class together and ready to solemnly pledge we would hand over our future children to The Jewish People, never ever have a Christmas tree in the house and so on.
The Talmud — and everybody else — ponders the puzzling discrepancy between the two formulations in the Chumash with respect to the Sabbath. One iteration of the Ten Commandments (or “Articles”) in the Chumash uses the word shamor (“keep, guard”), while another uses zachor (“remember”) to describe the broad Sabbath requirement. These two locutions have been midrashically interpreted in different ways, in the broad range of halachic details that the Torah places under rubric of Shabbat.
When it comes to Jewish prayer, there are two schools of thought: keva and kavannah. Keva means "rote" and refers to the fixed prayers that are set forth in the siddur (Jewish prayer book), while kavvanah is the free and spontaneous inner devotion of the individual.
My grandmother sometimes complains about charitable organizations. She’s a very generous woman who donates to many charities, but she often gets frustrated by the amount of solicitations she receives. With each complimentary pen, notepad, wall calendar, or other complimentary gift sent in the mail (so she’ll remember to donate again), she remarks that these organizations would be better off saving their money and using it to fulfill their mission. She also expresses angst when a solicitation envelope arrives only days after she already sent in a contribution.