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Eitan Press

Entries by Eitan Press

In Israel: A Poem in Honor of Yom Ha'atzmaut

(3) Comments | Posted April 15, 2013 | 12:07 PM

Sixty-five years ago the State of Israel was born. Yom Ha'atzmaut (יום העצמאות) means "Independence Day" in Hebrew and commemorates the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948. It is celebrated on the fifth of Iyar according to the Hebrew calendar, which begins this year on the evening of April 15....

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Passover: Love Is Revolution

(23) Comments | Posted March 24, 2013 | 10:47 AM

Judaism is a spiritual path, a set of practices intended to facilitate living an awakened life. Passover is the Jewish holiday celebrating the Exodus from Egypt, the holiday of freedom. During the Passover Seder, Jewish parents tell a story to their children about their ancestors journey from slavery and bondage...

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Purim: How to Get Drunk on God

(35) Comments | Posted February 21, 2013 | 3:00 PM

Back in the day, when I was 21 years old, after I had been studying in Israel for about a month, I remember standing on a rooftop in the Old City of Jerusalem. I had that burnt-happy-tired feeling that comes from partying for consecutive days on end, and I thought...

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Light Up the Night: Hanukkah Wisdom and 8 Organizations That Shine Light in the Darkness

(2) Comments | Posted December 11, 2012 | 5:39 AM

Some people say Ha-nukha, and some people say Cha-nukah, but it's holiday season and Hannukah is upon us, which means Jews everywhere are going to be lighting menorahs, playing with dreidels, giving presents and eating latkes. But besides the spinning the dreidel and raking in the Hannukah Gelt, there is...

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Happy Thanksgiving From Jerusalem

(5) Comments | Posted November 22, 2012 | 10:52 AM

Thanksgiving is upon us and I want share some things I am grateful for. Two things in particular I am grateful for are that I am alive and that I am an American. I am grateful I am alive because this past weekend, on Shabbat (Saturday) I was on the...

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To Give Is to Receive: Lessons on Jewish Hospitality From the Book of Genesis

(6) Comments | Posted November 8, 2012 | 4:01 PM

Two of my favorite character in the Book of Genesis are Avraham and his daughter-in-law Rivka. Avraham is one of my heroes, and I want to marry someone like Rivka.

Both Avraham and Rivka are famous for their hachnasat orchim, which means welcoming guests. Avraham is the first Jew,...

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Uplevel Twitter Swastikas With Jewish Pride and Universal Love

(13) Comments | Posted October 10, 2012 | 11:14 AM

This week the hashtag #卐卐卐 got its 15 minutes of Twitter fame as a trending topic, but also stirred up a lot of bad feelings and raised some difficult questions. How could tens of thousands of people sophisticated enough to use a computer allow themselves to be crude enough to...

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Yom Kippur: Forgiving Is Awesome!

(4) Comments | Posted September 25, 2012 | 10:46 AM

Yom Kippur is known as the Day of Atonement, the day when we are forgiven for our sins. This not as simple as some magical ritual that wipes the slate clean. Judaism acknowledges that God can only forgive for sins between "Man and God," for sins that occur between "Man...

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Rosh Hashanah and the Lord of the Rings

(1) Comments | Posted September 13, 2012 | 9:51 AM

Crowning God as "King" is a hard concept for me to wrap my head around, and it's also one of the main psychological/spiritual/liturgical themes of Rosh Hashanah. Even though I realize God is infinite and beyond any concept, on Rosh Hashanah I feed my finite mind specific finite...

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Calling Out to Our True Selves: A Hasidic Meditation on the Mitzvah of Shofar

(24) Comments | Posted September 6, 2012 | 12:55 AM

Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, the Baal Shem Tov (Master of the Good Name), was a mystic and spiritual teacher who lived in the 18th century Eastern Europe and founded the Hasidic movement in Judaism. According to Hasidic teachings, a Jewish spiritual practice is a mitzvah, an opportunity for the soul...

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Dreams of a Future Temple: The 9th of Av and Dispelling Hatred With Love

(15) Comments | Posted July 26, 2012 | 3:48 PM

On a trip to Israel, when I was 21 years old, I had my first religious experience. I was standing on a balcony overlooking the Western Wall (aka "The Wall") in the in the Old City of Jerusalem when it happened.

At that point in my life I was...

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Lose Your Illusions and Find Infinity: A Jewish Mystical Take on Atheism and God

(350) Comments | Posted July 5, 2012 | 11:16 AM

I don't believe in Santa Claus. I used to when I was a little kid, then my Mom told me that Santa didn't come to our house because we were Jewish. Eventually with the help of some Hanukkah presents, I got over this loss and I soon after outgrew believing...

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Talking Prayer With Shimon Peres at the Israeli Presidential Conference

(39) Comments | Posted June 26, 2012 | 11:50 AM

Last week, the fourth Israeli Presidential Conference, "Facing the Future," concluded, and I was privileged to attend. Although I was not in a temple praying, I saw what was happening as a form of religious expression and had to a certain degree, a religious experience.

Rabbi Abraham Issac Kook...

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Thinking Outside the Book: Shavuot and the Great Torah Download

(2) Comments | Posted May 24, 2012 | 8:06 PM

In the Jewish calender, the holiday of Shavuot is about to return into the flow of time. Shavuot celebrates the day when God gave the Torah to the Jewish people at Mt. Sinai. But what is meant by the word "Torah"? Many people associate the word "Torah" with the Five...

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Time Spirals and Other Insights Into the Jewish Calendar

(10) Comments | Posted May 14, 2012 | 12:00 AM

I want to share with you something really deep. According to the Jewish calendar, we are now the in 49 day period of time between Pesach and Shavuot that is known as Sefirat HaOmer. The holiday of Pesach is associated with the Jewish people's liberation from slavery, and the holiday...

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