Each year, during the month of Elul and throughout the Days of Awe, Jews assemble to do something that is essentially private: To be able to reflect on our actions and our inactions of the past year, the gap between our aspirations and our behavior, between our integrity and our actuality.
I have been raised in an observant conservative Jewish household, and I frequently wrestle with daily prayer, which is very familiar to me. Therefore, I can readily see how a less observant student, without a regular relationship to a prayer experience outside of school, could find services onerous when thrust upon them in school.
How do we apply this balance of ethics in the gun debate today? My conclusion was and remains that, according to Jewish law, people have the right to own a gun for self-defense, which accords with the Second Amendment.
As Israel's Ambassador to the UN, I am proud to say that a historic injustice has been corrected. This month, thanks to our determined effort, the United Nations recognized Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in the Jewish tradition, as an official holiday.
Celebrating all our American holidays, at least to some degree, would foster unity and goodwill. We are one country and we have much more in common than not.
Can't I be even a teeny bit resentful that I do all these good deeds, behave in all the right ways, and God (whatever and whoever that is) didn't see fit to save my son's life?
What does love have to do with religion? For so many Jews, especially in America, the answer is, regretfully, nothing. For many, the idea of practicing Judaism is wrapped up in a sense of obligation and fear -- a responsibility to not let something so old die out.
As a Catholic who observed closely the resignation of the emeritus pope and elevation of Jorge Bergoglio, in March of 2013, with hope and some suspicion, I find myself vexed by the profuse adulation Pope Francis I received during his visit to the United States.
Of course I would go. The White House itself is a draw on a beautiful fall day. I finally arrived on the south lawn with the green grass expanse between the White House rear balconies and the Washington monument. Magical.
"Rabbi, could I get a glass of water?" asks Rose. It's Yom Kippur, a fast day, and we've just finished Kol Nidrei. This person is one of the seventy who have shown up at our home, Base, where I also happen to work. Rose has an eating disorder and is not supposed to fast.
In the spirit of Yom Kippur, I would like to do some of my own reflective and repentant work about white privilege, a topic that can benefit from the courage and heightened clarity that Yom Kippur brings.
As I write, it's Yom Kippur -- the holiest day in the Jewish year. It's 25 hours of fasting, praying, repenting and confessing. In that spirit, here's an uncomfortable admission. I kind of like Ann Coulter. Don't get me wrong, I disagree with much of what she says.
Have I repented? Have I asked for redemption of my transgressions? Have I become a better person because I have looked into my heart and my soul and asked for guidance to set my life on a course that will cause His countenance to shine upon me? I certainly hope so - but in the end, that's really between me and my God.
I can say three things for sure about God, all unscientific in the extreme, on the basis of the Yom Kippur liturgy.
It wasn't the first time I woke up to something like this on my Facebook newsfeed: "Grandma is sick and we're not sure how long she has... Please ke...
I think Debbie Wasserman Schultz should apologize for issuing a statement with no basis in fact and wasting her time on a totally wrong-headed, insulting attack -- and for invoking the holiest day of the Jewish year to make her bogus points.