The Torah gives us a paradigm. Each Israelite in the desert contributed a half-shekel to keep a census and maintain the sanctuary.
Maybe I’m just jealous of the free offers being made to young Jews today, but part of me worries that down the road, these well-meaning programs and proposals — like trips to Israel, High Holy Day services, books for children and Shabbat meals — may have a negative effect on a generation that is being coddled and spoiled Jewishly.
When I go see the Orioles play the Yankees in the Bronx, I feel like a Marrano in 15th-century Spain, hiding my true identity for fear of being punished for my beliefs.
The last time the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees met in the playoffs before this week, I spent a few surreal moments schmoozing with George Steinbrenner in his owner’s box in Yankee Stadium, trying very hard not to let on that I was a fervent Orioles fan hoping his team would lose that day — and every day after that until the end of time.
Every sukkah has a story. Some guys remember fondly every car they’ve owned. I can get misty about every sukkah in my life.
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When it comes to hardware stores, you can count me as a One-Day-A-Year Jew — and that day occurs just before the holiday of Sukkot, when I focus on putting up our family sukkah in the backyard. Thank God it only has to stand for eight days.
Part of the wonderful rhythm of the High Holy Days season is that we go directly from the cerebral solemnity of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur to the hands-on, harvest-inspired, outdoor-focused festival of Sukkot, recalling the wanderings of the ancient Israelites in the desert those 40 long years.
Bibi’s chutzpah, and American Jews’ naivete, when it comes to Iran.
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As the story goes, a visitor to the Biblical Zoo in Israel was amazed when he approached the cage of the wolf and the lamb. There they were, peacefully resting near each other, calling to mind the prophecy of Isaiah, who imagined messianic times of peace.
“How is it possible to have a wolf and lamb live together?” the visitor asked the zookeeper.
“Simple,” the zookeeper said. “Every day a new lamb.”
And so it is in the Mideast, where appearances of stability give way to predators and daily bloodshed.
Yossele Rosenblatt was the most famous chazzan (or, cantor) of his era, known as “the Jewish Caruso.” After arriving in America from Europe a century ago, he not only led services around the country before settling in New York, but also earned large sums for concerts and sang in “The Jazz Singer,” the first talkie.
Until I was 10 or 11 years old, I didn’t realize you had to pay to go to the movies. That’s because our family didn’t.
As one of the perks of being a rabbi in a small town, my dad had a clergy pass for the family, allowing us to go to any of the three movie theaters in Annapolis, Md., any time. And since there wasn’t much for a kid to do in town in those days, I went often, seeing each of the movies playing at least once, and sometimes twice. Often with my brother or my friend, Michael, the son of the cantor, since his family, too, had a clergy pass.