Jewish life

To Every Food There Is A Season

Jewish eating connects us, literally, to our roots in the land.

04/05/2011

It was on a trip to the Sinai many years ago around the time of Shavuot that my eyes were opened to the fascinating cycles of the year. Kids and lambs were everywhere, nursing from their mothers. Bedouins were busy making cheese from the leftover milk, which they later dried and salted to save for the long winter when little milk would be available. Little tufts of green herbs — what we would call weeds — peeked out through the earth, to be consumed by the animals and people in the area. In the desert where so little grows, life is so deeply appreciated when it finally appears.

Israel, c. 1955. Courtesy of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee .

And The Seasons They Go ‘Round And ‘Round

Seeking a coherent life with the holiday cycle as our compass.

04/05/2011

When I was a child, the Jewish holidays burst upon my days with no discernible pattern or connection. In St. Louis, as a young girl, I am a Megillah, parading around United Hebrew Temple, my skinny 9-year-old self sandwiched between two yellow poster boards with “The Story of Queen Esther” glued and glittered on the front. And then, some weeks later, returning home from services with my mom and my sister — dad was at work — we ate our Passover feast: crunchy sheaves of matzah slathered with cream cheese and Welch’s grape jelly.

TANYA FREDMAN, Midbar (Desert), 2010, oil and fabric on canvas, 30” x 30”.

Let Us Eat Cake

There’s only one biblical birthday bash.

04/05/2011

Sunday, Oct. 28 was Bess’s first birthday. The festivities began two weeks earlier with a collective party for my local moms’ group’s entire brood — Bess won our first annual crawling race by a mile! — and culminated with an immediate-family-only party featuring homemade frosted pomegranate layer cake. (Rimona, Bess’s middle and Hebrew name, is the feminized form of rimon, or pomegranate.)

Text Context April 2011

How do we measure the moments, the hours, the days, months, seasons and years of our lives? In this issue on the calendar -- which heralds the beginning of spring and the arrival of Pesach -- we explore how cycles of Jewish time are marked and experienced

04/05/2011
Text Context April 2011

25 Questions that Can Dramatically Improve Your Relationships (Even in Time for the Seder)

The Four Questions? Feh!

04/01/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

Hanukkah makes me happy. Purim drives me to drink (but in the best way possible.) Simchat Torah makes me want to dance in the streets. Pesach? Well, Pesach makes me feel… enslaved. Bitter. Unleavened.

What makes this holiday different from all others - and so dreaded?

Deborah Grayson Riegel

Bad news for a recovering, refocused B'nai B'rith

You have to feel a little sorry for B'nai B'rith International. Just as the group seemed to be carving out a new place for itself in the Jewish communal world, its president, indicted on federal tax fraud charges, has resigned and a shadow has been cast over the venerable group.

Sober Responses To My Column On Drinking

It seems my column this week hit a raw nerve in describing how some Jewish groups are using alcohol and partying as outreach tools to attract young people.

On the first day I've already received several dozen emails, in addition to online Comments, ranging from kudos for "telling like it is," to strong critiques for exaggerating, if not outright fabricating tales of overindulgence at organizational events.

The Future's So Bright: Are Reform Rabbis Ready for the 21st Century?

04/01/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

Hundreds of Reform Rabbis traveled to New Orleans… sounds like the start of a joke, yes? This past week marked the 122nd Annual Convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis - the CCAR - and, yes, this year's convention was held in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

Rabbi Marci N. Bellows

With the RA in Las Vegas: Beyond the Punchlines

04/01/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

On Sunday through Thursday of this week, hundreds of my colleagues in the Rabbinical Assembly and I gathered at our international convention, held this year in Las Vegas.  The Rabbinical Assembly is the professional organization of Conservative rabbis around the world.  In addition to my work as the rabbi of The Forest Hills Jewish Center, I currently serve as the RA's Vice-President, and am slated to assume the Presidency in another year.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Is it Cruel to Force Dogs to Keep Passover?

03/31/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - I've heard that pets are supposed to keep Passover. I'm fairly traditional regarding Passover and just got a dog. Isn't it cruel to force an innocent animal to change its entire diet for a whole week? It's hard enough for humans!

A- As the proud owner of two adorable standard poodles, one of whom is extremely neurotic, I can sympathize with you.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman
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