Conservative/Masorti movement puts a pluralistic spin on the Simchat Torah flag.
When Rabbi Tzvi Graetz was a little boy in the Israel of the 1970s, he would visit the shuk, or market, with his father every High Holiday season to buy flags to wave during Simchat Torah, which celebrates the end of one year of Torah readings and the beginning of a new one.
This Yom Tov, and the past two, are exactly the kind of timing local kosher liquor stores used to dread.
When holidays fell on Sunday night, kosher consumers who wait until the last minute were in for an unpleasant surprise: Liquor stores were required to close on Sundays under New York's antiquated Blue Laws. If you were wise to this fact you'd shop in advance on Friday since Saturday is out for the Shomer Shabbos crowd. Otherwise, you were left scrambling for kiddush wine or Yom Tov spirits at certain permitted markets after 12 pm, where selections were limited.
Flying high from the joyful celebration of Simchat Torah, JInsider is weary of potential letdown as we start yet another annual Torah cycle. As an antidote to post-Simchat Torah withdrawal, we asked Rabbi Eli Kaunfer to highlight the value of Torah study in everyday life. The always-cerebral Rabbi Kaunfer excerpted his popular new book “Empowered Judaism” (Jewish Lights) as the remedy. Tell us what you think or offer your own advice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mea culpa, al chet and all that. Among my other shortcomings, I’ve been one lame blogger lately, posting nary a word for a whole week. And my sole flimsy excuse is the fact that I am, like other Jews, just now emerging from a month-long orgy of holidays.
Admittedly, the more observant Jews – the ones who spend the evening and morning of each yom tov in synagogue while refraining from electricity, driving and hundreds of other offshoots of the 39 melachot – have a better case for using the Jewish holiday excuse. Especially since most (unlike me) work for companies and organizations that remain open on said holidays and who, when not doing the aforementioned malachot-refraining and synagogue-attending, have had to scramble to build a sukkah, do laundry, cook and so forth.
Google Images and YouTube videos are helping Jewish educators create new midrash and bring sacred meaning to age-old traditions. Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz created an innovative, interactive experience for the seven hakafot (circles) of Simchat Torah.
Her "Seven Dances for Simchat Torah in the YouTube Era" is available on the Sh'ma Koleinu website. Sh'ma Koleinu is an online center for spirituality and connection from Congregation B'nai Israel in Bridgeport, CT, which seeks to bring sacred meaning to convey something of the deeper meanings of the High Holy Day liturgy.