Blogs

Psalmic Muse

Keeping in mind the Chasidic custom of reciting Psalms during the days leading to Yom Kippur, now would be a perfect time to head up to the scenic Derfner Judaica Museum for Archie Rand’s visual renditions of Psalm 68. 

Archie Rand, Psalm 68:30. Courtesy of the Derfner Judaica Museum

Roosevelts

Watching Ken Burns' excellent PBS series about the Roosevelts pointed out how some things haven't changed over the past 80 years.

In the installment about the 1930s the Republicans were opposed to setting a federal minimum wage and maximum working hours while protecting the interests and influence of the wealthy at the expense of the workers.  The party is still anti-union and anti-immigrant.

They also opposed Social Security and still do but now they call it "privatization" of the program.

Some things have changed, however.

Obama Sets Record Straight On Israel-Arab Conflict

President Barack Obama told the United Nations and the world today what Israel and the rest of us have known and have been saying all along:  The Arab-Israeli conflict is not the cause of instability in the Middle East. Rather it has been a convenient excuse for Arab leaders to fail to give their own people freedom and respect their basic human rights. 

Here's what the President said:

My Vision For The New Year

The leaves are changing.  The air is crisp, with a hint of a chill.  The sweaters and long pants are coming out of storage.  No doubt about it.  Fall has arrived. 

And with the change in season will come changes in routine, changes in activities and changes in expectations.  All the things that fill the heart and gut of a special needs parent with fear and dread.

My son Gabe is six years old, and he has autism.  He is charming, and funny, and very very smart.  He also exhibits behavior at times that is unusual, challenging, and unpredictable. 

Supporting Israel With Art

Few subjects have troubled Jews across the globe this past summer as much as the recent conflict in Israel. The violence  portrayed on the news stimulated a consequential outpouring of support from Jewish communities worldwide. But an art group based in Brooklyn is showing support through a unique means: a spiritual defense.

Leah Raab. “Huddled in the Tunnel. Courtesy of the Creative Soul

Mindfully Preparing For The High Holy Days

Editor's Note: We recently a new study that shows how mindfulness practice reduces stress, anxiety and depression in parents of children with special needs. Rabbi Yael Levy integrates mindfulness practice into Jewish worship and offers suggestions for how we can use mindfulness to prepare for the High Holy Days.

Q: What is mindfulness?

A Way In Rosh Hashanah E-Cards. Courtesy of A Way In

Preparing For High Holidays Services With A Child Who Has Special Needs

The time leading up to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is a time of introspection and intense planning. We think about the past year and reflect on how we have changed and grown. At the same time many of us are juggling work, getting kids ready for school, making travel arrangements, planning out the menu, buying brisket and baking challah.  Most of us are not thinking about how we are going to get through services. For a parent of a child with a disability this thought might be on the top of their list. There might be a feeling of apprehension about the community’s ability to welcome their family in an inclusive way.

Lisa Tobin

Sharon’s Life And Family Roots Celebrated In Belarus

Ariel Sharon’s grandfather moved to Palestine in 1910 from the town of Brest Litovsk in White Russia. But after two years in Rehovot, enduring hardships, he returned to his native town. Then, in 1922, his son (Ariel Sharon’s father), also made aliyah, to escape persecution. A student of agronomy, he and his wife settled on a moshav northeast of Tel Aviv, where their son was born six years later.  Ariel Sharon would often speak of his childhood on the moshav, Kfar Malal, where his love of the rural life took root. 

Gilad Sharon at the opening of the exhibition. Yossi Aloni

Maurice Sendak’s Papers: Thoughts On An Artist’s Legacy

Maurice Sendak, the beloved and celebrated maker of children’s books, was much more than "Where the Wild Things Are." At his death in 2012, more than 10, 200 pieces of his work –  drawings, watercolors, manuscripts, proof copies and more – resided at the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia. The museum had hoped that this situation, which let them stage no fewer than 72 Sendak exhibitions since 1970, would continue. However, Peter Dobrin of the Philadelphia Inquirer recently broke the news that not only did Sendak leave the materials to the Maurice Sendak Foundation, but the foundation’s trustees have asked for their return to Sendak’s Ridgefield, Connecticut home, set to become a museum of sorts itself.

"Maurice Sendak's "Where The Wild Things Are"

That All May Participate: Isaiah's Message Of Accomodation

The Yom Kippur Haftarah portion describes God’s reaction to rituals that are practiced without regard to people who need help and deserve respect.

“To be sure, they (worshippers) seek Me daily,
Eager to learn My ways….
They ask Me for the right way,
They are eager for the nearness of God:
"Why, when we fasted, did You not see?
When we starved our bodies, did You pay no heed?"….

Because on your fast day, You see to your business, & oppress all your laborers! ...
Such a fast (will not) make your voice heard on high.

Rabbi Michael Levy
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