Jewish life

To My Cable Guy, Judaism Is A Premium Package

I’m not sure when the discussion shifted from the cost of adding HBO and Showtime to the spiritual meaning of Shabbat and kashrus. But it came toward the end of my discussion with the cable guy who came to my house today. I know it was after I told him that next week would be rough for scheduling an installation date because of Rosh HaShanah. But somewhere in the course of my switching from FiOS, the cable guy expressed interest in switching from Christianity.

JCC, Synagogues In Holy War In Boca

Bitter turf battle as JCC offers Rosh HaShanah services for first time; move is ‘usurpation,’ cries a rabbi.

09/01/2010
Staff Writer

Boca Raton, Fla. — Since moving here five years ago, Laura Reiss and her husband have not found a synagogue they are comfortable enough to join.

But when the High Holy Days begin Wednesday night, they and their three young daughters plan to attend a two-hour program featuring selected prayers at the Levis Jewish Community Center here — accompanied by their mothers, who have not been to synagogue services in more than 20 years. Reiss’ sister, who is intermarried, is also coming and bringing her family.

Teshuvah, In Three Acts

A rabbi reflects on the struggle to restore wholeness
in the lives of three congregants.

Special to The Jewish Week
08/31/2010

It is ironic that so many Jews engage in active religious Jewish life primarily around the High Holy Days, a time of year with a set of rituals that call for such intense engagement. Many of us go to High Holy Days services because we are on autopilot — that is what we are expected to do as Jews at this time of the year. But the goal of these Days of Awe is to jolt us out of the automatic and to pay attention: to bring a greater mindfulness to our actions.

The Jacob Javits Center on the West Side of Manhattan.

Grappling With Prayer

A new crop of books offers insights
into making a spiritual connection.

Staff Writer
08/31/2010

Although Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur are familiar times for most Jews, the machzor, or High Holy Days prayer book, is terra incognita. The Hebrew words, even when rendered into English or any other language, present a barrier: the pray-ers don’t know the prayers.

For a Jewish community that largely has embraced the precept of tzedakah, or giving charity, and respects the concept of teshuvah, or making spiritual amends this time of year, tefillah is largely unknown territory.

Rabbi Mike Comins’ “Making Prayer Real” contains contributions from nearly 50 rabbis and thinkers across the religious spectrum.

Time To End The Reform-Orthodox Wars

08/31/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

With the renewed seasonal outbreak of the Reform-Orthodox wars, I cannot see myself as a mere bystander, inasmuch as the letter by Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar, is addressed to me, as an official town rabbi. (See).

Rabbi Naftali Rothenberg

Jewish Weddings on Shabbat: A Different View

08/27/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

My friend and colleague Rabbi Leon Morris has made a provocative call for a moratorium on weddings performed before the end of Shabbat on Saturday evening. He argues that such weddings undermine the sanctity of Shabbat and send the wrong message about the demands of Jewish commitment.

Rosh HaShanah 5771: A Taste of the New Year

New wines, boutique kosher chicken, summer bounty for fall holidays, non-traditional dessert options and new books as food for thought.

08/25/2010
Art by Debbie Richman

A God That Repents and Seeks Liberation?

08/23/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

The month of Elul is a time in which we pause and reflect upon our past year to engage in teshuva (repentance). I often ask myself: Are we alone in our attempts to change and grow? The Talmud suggests that God actually engages in teshuva (Megillah 29a). Can this radical suggestion that God grows, evolves, adapts with the times, and experiences redemption pass as an authentic Jewish theology?

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

Going Down the Road Feeling Fine

08/20/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

(Santa Barbara, California) For a little over a week now, my wife and I, along with two other couples that we've been friends with for just about forty years, have been slowly working our way down the coast of California from San Francisco to Los Angeles, where I will be officiating at a wedding.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

How to C.H.I.L.L. O.U.T. Before You Boil Over

08/20/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

I’ve heard some great one-liners in my life that have driven me to the kind of laughter that makes my lungs ache. Brilliant observations by Chris Rock, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have made me burst into giggles that speed up, slow down, stop…and then pick right back up again, sometimes for days. But few lines made me giggle as long as the innocent observation made about me by a fellow Little League mom sitting next to me in the bleachers:

“With what you do for a living, I guess you never fight at home.”

Deborah Grayson Riegel
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