Rosh Hashanah

Jewish Candidates' September Dilemma

With Rosh HaShanah in final days of primary race, some set politics aside.
09/03/2013 - 20:00
Jewish Week Correspondent

When the shofar sounded on Thursday and Friday, Scott Stringer wasn't out on the campaign trail tooting his own horn.

"That’s not a calculation,” explained the Manhattan borough president and comptroller hopeful before the holiday. “That’s a time I’m going to spend with my wife and my two kids, and it’s a great time.”

Congregation Rodeph Shalom on West 82nd Street , where Scott Stringer and his family will spend Rosh HaShanah. Wikimedia Commons

The Shofar: Embracing The Crooked

09/03/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Have you ever seen a straight Shofar? There’s a reason why; according to Jewish law, a Shofar must be crooked. In the first chapter of his Laws of Shofar, Sukkah, and Lulav, Maimonides writes: “the Shofar that is blown…is the crooked  (twisted, bent over) ram’s horn.”  What is the symbolism of blowing a crooked Shofar? The Talmud, in tractate Rosh Hashanah 26b, connects the bent shape of the Shofar to the bending will of each human, the humble acknowledgement that our desires alone do not dictate the future.

Maya Bernstein

Lucy, Grade 2: 'I'm Okay,' And 'I Need Help'

For the first time in 115 years, Rosh HaShanah occurs just after Labor Day and coincides with the beginning of school for children and teachers in many states across the country. While Rosh Hashanah is always a time for reflection, this Jewish New Year provides us with a unique opportunity.

Meredith Englander Polsky

A Rosh HaShanah Rap

Jewish rapper Ari Lesser urges us to "learn lots of Torah, make tons of money with a year that's sweeter than Apples and honey." But also to "give all the chairty you can spare and show the poor people how much you care."

Shutting Out The Noise: The Quiet Work Of Repentance

08/29/2013 - 20:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

I’ve always loved the story in First Kings about Elijah and his triumph over the priests of Baal.  Like so much of the literature of the Early Prophets, this episode reads like an action adventure novel.  The Israelite prophets waged a long and taxing battle against the powerful allure of the indigenous Canaanite cultic life that the Israelites discovered when they conquered the land.  Elijah’s victory was a great moment in that struggle.

Spiritually, the appearance of God to Elijah in a kol d’mammah dakkah– a still, small voice– is particularly rich.  After all the sturm und drang of the story itself, the fact that God’s “voice,” as it were, became audible to Elijah is the quietest of ways, as opposed to via the loudness of the natural events that preceded the revelation, has always been meaningful to me.  God is in the quiet as much as the noise… maybe more.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

The Shofar Reminds Us To Listen For Unheard Cries

08/27/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

There are no tears like a mother's tears.

At the opening of the Book of Samuel, in a story we retell each Rosh Hashanah, we are introduced to Hannah, a woman distressed for the child she yearns to raise, but cannot conceive. The Book of Genesis recounts yet another story we read on Rosh Hashanah, the story of Hagar, a mother who, unable to stay with her son and watch him wither away to death from lack of water, can do nothing more than walk away from him and weep.

Rori PIcker Neiss

New Riffs On The New Year

As worshipers demand fresh approaches, more congregations are improvising and experimenting with High Holiday services.
08/26/2013 - 20:00
Staff Writer

One night a year ago Jamie Schorr, a jazz devotee, and his wife descended a staircase to a basement club in the West Village. The couple stepped inside the low-ceilinged room, took a seat at one of the benches arranged around the dimly lit room and noticed a drummer, pianist and bass player onstage.

Rabbi Steven Blane, left, marks the High Holy Days with a jazz service sponsored by his Sim Shalom synagogue.

Seven Lessons Of 5773

The old saying about the holidays always coming early or late isn't quite true.
08/26/2013 - 20:00
Editor And Publisher

On the cusp of a new Jewish year, here are a few things I absorbed during the one drawing to a close:

The old saying about the Jewish holidays always coming early or late isn’t quite true.

Gary Rosenblatt

This Rosh HaShanah, Return To Sender

The holiday invites us back to the beginning, and to our best selves.
08/26/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Essay

Have you ever gotten a piece of mail back from the post office — one stamped with that funny-looking hand, and bearing the words “Return to Sender”? Well, I recently did, and as I began to think about both those words, and the pointing hand that accompanied them, I began to think about how appropriate it was to get that message as Rosh HaShanah was fast approaching.

Rabbi Brad Hirschfield
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