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Jewish Ritual

The Miraculous Hanukkah-Seed

Netanel Miles-Yepez | Posted 01.25.2014 | Religion
Netanel Miles-Yepez

On Hanukkah we wish one another, Hanukkah same'ah! 'Happy Hanukkah!' Because it's a celebration, a remembrance of something good, a time in our mythic past when our ancestors saw miracles . . . and needed them.

Hasidic Rebels

Baruch Sterman, Ph.D. | Posted 07.08.2013 | Religion
Baruch Sterman, Ph.D.

When the Hasidim of Kotzk prayed, they did not move. Any external sign of piety was deemed pretentious. The story is told of a great student, who after one prayer session -- though someone observing from the side would not even have noticed that he was praying -- was bathed in sweat and had actually cracked two of his teeth.

Rabbis, Rabbis' Rabbis And Who Knows What Next?

Vanessa L. Ochs | Posted 06.29.2013 | Religion
Vanessa L. Ochs

Some say that the period of Judaism we are now in, its institutions and leaders, are on the verge of major transformation. Many of us don't see it coming.

Understanding the Art of Shavous

Jonathan Greenstein | Posted 06.15.2013 | Arts
Jonathan Greenstein

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.

Wilderness As Transition: Omer, Anxiety And The Neutral Zone

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg | Posted 06.15.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

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.

Why I Don't Keep Kosher For Passover Anymore

Mara Shapiro | Posted 05.28.2013 | Religion
Mara Shapiro

It's that time of year that every Jew dreads. Eight days without bread, pizza, pasta or anything else that leavens. But not in our house.

The Promise Of Passover

Roben Smolar | Posted 05.28.2013 | Religion
Roben Smolar

Passover, in many respects, is among the most accessible and relatable moments on the Jewish calendar. It invites us to immerse ourselves in the Jewish narrative in a way no other holiday does.

Are We There Yet? The Real Message Of The Passover Seder

Rabbi Wendi Geffen | Posted 05.24.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Wendi Geffen

Why do we repeat the same story over and over again? Why do we never actually "get there"? Because every place, every moment has the potential for constriction and release, for fear and hope, for degradation and praise, for brokenness and wholeness.

Reconstructing Redemption

Rabbi Yael Ridberg | Posted 05.24.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Yael Ridberg

Jewish ritual is meant to be experiential -- something that simultaneously catapults us backwards in time and propels us forward in anticipation of the future. When we sit at the seder we are attempting to connect with the Power that makes for freedom, identify that force within ourselves and the Universe to bring about redemption.

Looking For Jews In All The Wrong And Right Places

Carol Smaldino | Posted 03.26.2013 | Religion
Carol Smaldino

Is being around Jews or joining a synagogue or celebrating Jewish holidays with Jews what we yearn for? I'm not sure.

Waiting To Announce Your Jewish Baby's Name

Nina Badzin | Posted 03.18.2013 | Religion
Nina Badzin

Perhaps nothing unifies Jews across levels of observance and backgrounds more than our adherence to superstitions involving babies. We Jews don't mess around with this stuff. Frankly, I find this curious.

Judge Won't Block New York City Circumcision Law

Reuters | Jonathan Stempel | Posted 03.12.2013 | Religion

* Preliminary injunction request denied * Rule angered some people in Orthodox Jewish community * "Direct oral suction" ...

WATCH: Making Your Hanukkah Lights Count

Rabbi Ted Falcon | Posted 02.06.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Ted Falcon

Light illuminates worlds. The Hanukkah candles are meant to illuminate that which we would wish to celebrate as real in our world.

What Give Gelt On Hanukkah?

Rabbi Shaul Wertheimer | Posted 02.06.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Shaul Wertheimer

Why have Jews traditionally given money to our children on Hanukkah? While it is now commonplace to also give gifts, the original tradition remains to give gelt.

Hurricane Heroics And Hearses

Amy Koplow | Posted 01.13.2013 | Religion
Amy Koplow

Looking back at the devastation Hurricane Sandy brought to New York, it is hard to imagine that the city still managed to function at all. Many stories of bravery and tragedy were recounted but there were also many stories left untold.

PHOTOS: Sukkahs Around The World

Posted 10.04.2012 | Religion

For the eight days and seven nights of Sukkot, Jews traditionally eat and sleep in a sukkah, a temporary dwelling with a thatched roof, from which the...

Is This Judaism's Strangest, Most Awesome Ritual?

Josh Fleet | Posted 09.29.2012 | Religion

For a religion as old as Judaism, declaring any one ritual or holiday to be "the most" anything seems like folly. But one practice during the upco...

Rejoicing On Sukkot: Then And Now

S.R. Hewitt | Posted 11.28.2012 | Religion
S.R. Hewitt

The commandment to be happy is not included among the positive commandments of the Torah except during the holiday of Sukkot.

Kaparot: Wave Money, Not Chickens

Rabbi Yonah Bookstein | Posted 11.25.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

I once was enamored of this ancient ritual whereby the sins of a person are symbolically transferred to the chicken, which is then slaughtered and given to the poor to eat. It was exotic. But no more. I find it reprehensible for Jews to behave this way to animals.

5 Tips For A Better Yom Kippur

Rabbi Shais Taub | Posted 11.23.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Shais Taub

I've attended Yom Kippur services as a congregant for many years, and I've also conducted Yom Kippur services when serving as a pulpit rabbi for several years. From both ends I can tell you: Yom Kippur can be rough.

WATCH: How To Blow A Shofar

Posted 09.16.2012 | Religion

Throughout the past month and during the coming weeks, at specific times in synagogue on the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a shofar...

Law Targets Controversial 'Direct Oral Suction' Circumcisions

Reuters | Posted 11.13.2012 | New York

* New rule angers some in Orthodox Jewish community * "Direct oral suction" linked to herpes risk By Jonathan Allen ...

Why I Circumcised My Sons

Jordana Horn | Posted 10.28.2012 | Religion
Jordana Horn

By having a bris for each of my sons, I was implicitly and explicitly telling each boy something that I will continue to convey each day of their lives: You are Jews.

Havdalah: Closer Together, Even In Separation

Jordana Horn | Posted 10.15.2012 | Religion
Jordana Horn

Havdalah separates Shabbat from the rest of the week, but also builds a bridge between the two. So too with my small family: when we are apart and reunited, we rekindle the joy of being together.

Rock 'n' Roll Shabbat: The Spiritual Experience Of Turning Up The Volume

Rabbi Darby Jared Leigh | Posted 10.09.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Darby Jared Leigh

In one Jewish community after another, the prevailing wisdom is that the "spirituality of Shabbat" is to be experienced by becoming more quiet and still. But this is not the only way.