Our rabbis taught: When Adam saw the days getting shorter, he said, "Woe is me, perhaps because of my sin, the world around me is being darkened and returning to chaos; this is my punishment from heaven!" So he began an eight day fast.
In 1974 in Philadelphia, a small menorah was lit in front of Independence Hall, home to the iconic Liberty Bell. The menorah was crude and made of wood. Five people attended what is now considered to be the first Chabad-Lubavitch public-menorah lighting.
I was recently asked by someone I very much respect to address "the" question. So I started to write the answer in a post... about five times without any luck. The "Why does a 20-something join a Reform Congregation" question.
The challenges and contradictions of being a Jew in America are never more obvious than in the month of December. Christmas is unavoidable from before Thanksgiving until well after New Year's. Every year, I wonder how much I should participate in the hoopla.
As a kid, Shabbat meant brisket. I loved that. Every once in a while, my mother would get inspired and feel the need to… cook? No, she always cooked in those days. It wasn't until many years later that dinner was more likely to be ordered than made.