Though I might not subscribe to every prayer in the Siddur, I always use the synagogue time for my own prayer of thanks for being alive and the multitudes of blessings I enjoy. I want to let the Lord know I haven't forgotten them. Then, leaving the hall, the yarmulke still in place on my head, I head home feeling a little purer.
In the High Holiday prayers we say, "May we all blend into one community to do Thy will with a whole heart." We can never be whole unless we are one community, with everyone having an equal seat around the table.
It's almost Yom Kippur and for those of you who are fasting, I can imagine the whining by four o'clock. "I'm hungry. Yikes this is hard." It actually is kind of hard not to eat for a day and I am not in awe of people who go on prolonged cleansing fasts, as I'm not sure it's actually good for you.
What this time signified to me, more than anything, was the separation of the young and carefree from the old and sad. We were the "us," chasing each other through the poorly tended grass, laughing.
On Friday Jews around the world will confess their sins. One of the central prayers of the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) worship service is Ashamnu, which means "We have sinned." The prayer consists of 24 lines describing sins we have committed.
We Remember reminds us, that regardless of religion, we are fundamentally similar. As the Jewish High Holidays have returned, I thought what better time to chat with the Hebrew Hillbilly herself.
No doubt, it is our natural instincts as parents to protect our kids from any harm. To watch them suffer is harder on us -- many times -- than on them.
To the learned men and women who lead the Jewish faith I would like to offer a simple message: Enough already. A frequent consumer of rabbinical sermons, I can say, with all due respect, that most of the time, the sermon bombs. And it is usually because of the same bad storytelling habits.
never felt more Jewish than when I intermarried. Suddenly, I was faced with the challenge of holding on to a faith I'd never fully identified with, for fear of losing it amid boisterous Christmas mornings or Easter feasts.
Imagine this: One instant ago, your body had weight and heat and heartbeat. And then, with one final long breath, all that is truly you rises like carbon bubbles of light, pressed to the ceiling.
My mother was a terrible cook, but she set a beautiful table. Every year at least a week before the Jewish holidays -- which, as she used to say, fell either too early or too late, but were never on time -- she'd get out her most favorite dishes.
This week we will enter the Hebrew month of Ellul, a time traditionally dedicated to preparation for the re-birthing that waits us in one month - Rosh Hashana, the New Year.
For an increasing number of Americans, even these holidays have eroded into family gatherings that no longer connect strongly to the spiritual meaning that they have in the religious cultures in which they developed.
Now that Hanukkah and Christmas are over until another year and we are wishing "Happy New Year" to everyone we see, when is, or when was, the proper time to take down holiday decorations?
To really understand Walter White, we have to go back as far as the pilot episode and maybe even a little bit more.
Here it was that I kept mouthing "sit still" to my son, and "pay attention honey" to my daughter, when Rabbi Mo, as he is fondly known, begins to tell an animated tale about smelly potatoes. This gets everybody's attention. Smelly potatoes. On Yom Kippur... a day of fasting?