This is the time to sit with the anxiety, the ambiguity and the unknowability of our lives. This is the time to go down deep in to the deepest recesses of who we are, to find resources and riches we didn't know were there.
No matter your religion, your politics, your sexual orientation, your views on Rick Warren's views, please, be guided by the one value we all understand to be central to our lives: compassion.
Though it has become popular in our culture for people of influence to project supreme confidence, speak in dismissive tones and dominate the "conversation," Jewish tradition teaches that there are "seven traits that characterize a cultivated individual" -- they all have to do with how we communicate.
Over the centuries, there have been many different ways to decorate the Torah. Like all Judaica, there is no particular style of Jewish art. Jews adapted their decoration to whatever surrounding local style they were living in. Here are some examples.
Janigian's perceptive and sometimes gripping novel brings together some of LA's many tribes -- African-American, WASP, Korean, Armenian, Jewish -- into an emotional and intellectual conflagration that mirrors the burning and looting that the city suffered.
The ability to experience the same thing over and over again and yet to feel as if one is seeing it for the first time is a poetic sensibility. This is the core theme of "Big," a comedy that makes a serious comment about being an adult but seeing the world from the perspective of a child.
Sixty-five years ago the State of Israel was born. Yom Ha'atzmaut commemorates the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948. The root letters of the word atzmaut can be translated as "essence." This poem is my attempt to share and celebrate a small slice of Israel's essence.
My father grew up with little to no Jewish tradition. No Shabbat. No Menorah. No Kosher. He spent much of his life searching for an identity. Eventually, he discovered and embraced his Jewish heritage at an Oglala tribal meeting on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
More than 100,000 Holocaust Survivors living today in the United States suffered the worst oppression and brutality in human history. Now, they are increasingly frail and debilitated, and many are living below the poverty line.
Though Lipman no longer holds an American passport, he says the values he learned in the U.S., such as "tolerance" and being able to "live at peace even if we disagree," have contributed to who he is today.
A rabbi once said that the secular Zionists stole the love of Israel away from Haredi Jews. What he meant by this was that Haredim, who ought to have a deep and natural connection to the Holy Land, now feel a little uncomfortable with and alienated from those feelings. This is sad. But it is changing.
More than anything, I hate the box. The stuffy, claustrophobic, choking box that others in the media create with their own assumptions of how I must conform in order to observe the beauty of Hasidic life.
Many years ago, when I was a feisty 16-year-old, I had a meaningful experience at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. No, it wasn't a religious awakening or a spiritual vision. Rather, it was a new understanding of the power of compromise.
In our fast-paced highly connected world, we see all too often abuse of the Internet as a means for wide-spread gossip, lies and hurtful behavior. How beautiful it is indeed when the energy of this powerful tool can be harnessed to promote healing and friendship.
As we count each of the days of the sefira, we are meant to realign ourselves. The goal is to hold back what needs to be held back and push ourselves into those awkward uncomfortable places that ultimately make us into better people.
On its 65th anniversary, I am mindful of how far we have strayed from our original ideals and how much needs to be done in the years ahead to make these ideals a reality in this country.