Global, Local And Elul

08/13/2015 - 20:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Quietly but inexorably, the month of Elul is creeping up on us. When we celebrate its beginning this coming week, there is no avoiding the fact that we are but one Jewish calendar month away from Rosh Hashanah, and the High Holiday season. Summer is drawing to a close, as it must, and fall is approaching.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Iran Deal Testing City’s Rabbis

As Elul approaches, ‘life and death’ on the pulpit, columnist Jonathan Mark writes.

08/04/2015 - 20:00
Associate Editor

‘We’re not a Democratic shul, we’re not a Republican shul,” Rabbi Joseph Lookstein often said of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, home to that iconic Modern Orthodox leader for more than 40 years. It was one of the many lessons learned by his son, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, who leads the prominent Upper East Side shul today: “My politics remain with me. But there are exceptions,” he says of the nuclear agreement with Iran, a deal he opposes, “and this is that exception. This is life and death for Israel.”

Rabbis Gerald Skolnik, Robert Levine and Haskel Lookstein.

Elul Is A Time To Forgive Yourself, Too

If you read a lot of blogs and articles, particularly those focused on disability inclusion, it may seem like there a lot of “shoulds." This is how you should treat people with disabilities; this is how you should speak about people with disabilities; this is how you should include people with disabilities.

Maybe you read these “shoulds” and they spark within you an idea of a possibility and you are inspired to make a change. Or maybe you read them and find yourself feeling guilty.

Lisa Friedman

Prayer Fosters Hope

A meditation on the 27th Psalm.
09/02/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The month of Elul — the 12th and last month of the Hebrew calendar — has come to be seen as a month of preparation for the High Holy Days and the New Year. Based on midrashic readings, some view these days as marking the time when Moses went up to the mountain to receive the second set of tablets. (Midrashic tradition has him coming back down from the mountain on Yom Kippur). Moses, we are told, neither ate nor drank while he was on the mountain, and so some even have the custom of fasting during the daylight hours in this period. Fasting is seen as the atonement for sins and the expression of the desire to purify the soul.

Rabbi Edward Feld

Reflecting The Spirit Of Elul, In Art

Israeli artist Ya’akov Boussidan’s latest study for stained glass windows soars with his lifelong passion for original calligraphy and his fascination with the “Song of Songs.” Exploring the theme of creation, this first study is naturally linked to Elul, the Hebrew month that augurs Rosh Hashanah, “the birth of the world.”  According to rabbinic tradition, Elul is an acrostic for the verse “I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me.”  (Song of Songs, 6:3).

(c) 2013 Ya'akov Boussidan

Elul and R-e'eh: What Can The Disability Community Contribute?

We are in the midst of the final month of the Jewish year, Elul, when it's customary to review one’s shortcomings and make plans to do better in the coming year.

Rabbi Michael Levy

Elul In A Time Of Social Media

08/14/2013 - 20:00

That I spend a lot of time thinking about community should hardly come as a surprise, since being a congregational rabbi is all about fostering a sense of community.  I want the members of my congregation to feel that their synagogue is a second home for them.  And, of course, the synagogue itself needs to relate to the larger community as a whole. 

When all is said and done, this is my work– my professional responsibility.  Yes, of course I teach, and preach, officiate at weddings and funerals, and do all the other things that pulpit rabbis do.  That, too, is my work.  But it all flows from a larger sense of “belonging” that hopefully is what binds my members to our particular synagogue setting.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik is spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center.

Attack On Latrun Monastery Was Antithetical To Judaism

09/06/2012 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week


On Tuesday morning, vandals defaced the Monastery of the Silent Monks at Latrun with anti-Christian graffiti. They also attempted, unsuccessfully, to burn the door. Rabbi Mauricio Balter of the Masorti (Conservative) Kehillat Eshel Avraham in Beersheva and president of the Rabbinical Assembly of Israel, was part of a Masorti delegation that visited the monks at Latrun in the aftermath of the incident. A translation of his remarks is reproduced below. (Translation by Arie Hasit, spiritual advisor to Masorti’s NOAM youth movement.)

The Farmer And The First Fruits

09/03/2012 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Candlelighting, Readings:
Shabbat candles: 7:01 p.m.
Torah: Deut. 26:1-29:8
Haftarah: Isaiah 60:1-22
Havdalah: 7:59 p.m.

This is Elul, the month before Rosh HaShanah, when we focus on developing new habits, new ways of doing things, so that we can start our year off right. Parshat Ki Tavo has a number of elements that can assist in this endeavor.

Beth Kissileff.

Women Arrested For Wearing Prayer Shawls At Western Wall

08/18/2012 - 20:00

Jerusalem police arrested and detained four women for wearing prayer shawls at the Western Wall.

The women, members of Women of the Wall, were arrested Sunday during morning prayers, which included special prayers for the new Hebrew month of Elul.

Women of the Wall holds a special prayer service at the Western Wall each month for Rosh Chodesh, or the beginning of new month. The group has met once a month at the back of the women's section at the Western Wall for the last 20 years.

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