What is the purpose for which the Jewish people have been placed in the world? The answer is to be found within the Massif of Rosh HaShanah: the three blessings of Malchuyot (kingship), Zichronot (remembrances) and Shofarot (the essence of the shofar), each punctuated by the sounds of the shofar; each containing the essence of our faith.
Much ado was made last November, when the rare overlapping of Thanksgiving and Channukah captured the fascination of the Jewish (and much of the secular) world. Some of us soaked up every ounce of the hype, while others found it overwhelming but when it was over a certain remorse was felt over the fact that it would be 57 years before the two holidays would overlap again (and thousands of years before the two days would overlap in their entirety).
Far less heralded or noticed than Thanksgivukkah has been the quirk in the Jewish calendar that will make this Sabbath (July 12) a "last time for a generation" occurrence. In most years, Parshat Pinchas falls during the three weeks leading up to the 9th of Av which means that the assigned Haftarah is superseded for a special seasonal reading.
So, Jewish life after Bar Mitzvah… It is hard to believe that there is life after Bar Mitzvah! Since our son Avi was diagnosed with autism as a toddler, we have been very goal-driven. What did he need to achieve his goals? How can we maximize his potential? What will his role be in the Jewish community, if any? Until quite recently, this was very much a blur. Some days the answers seemed clear; other days, we had no idea.
We all know people whose natural inclination is “No.” They avoid setting precedents, take no chances, play it safe, and squelch initiative. But the Jewish People did not make it this far by saying “No” to everything. We made our mark by a repetitive and massive “Yes.” Even when the odds were against success, we insisted that we couldn’t afford not to try.
Shove this sweet white in the freezer for a Chenin Slush.
It’s generally more expensive to keep or buy kosher than not. If you, dear reader, fall in the former category, this is your lucky day, because I am about to reveal to you a truly valuable tip: Baron Herzog Chenin Blanc. No, they are not paying me.
One of my favorite childhood memories is lighting Shabbat candles with my mom. It was my special job to say the blessing. It was amazing to know that on that same day, millions of other Jewish mothers all over the world were also lighting Shabbat candles with their daughters. I always knew that no matter what, I would make sure that I shared this same experience with my children.