Growing up in the Reform community in the US in the 50s and 60s, I remember the constant discussions of the Chanukah-Christmas dilemma. Was it possible to disengage Chanukah from the seasonal linkage to Christmas, and keep it somehow true to its roots? Or was it doomed to be "the Jewish answer to Christmas," which increasingly meant an orgy of shopping and materialism?
One of our Reform liturgy's (and Rabbi Jack Riemer's) most beautiful poems begins with the words, "In the rising of the sun and in its going down, we remember them.
As we read Genesis, we find it refreshing to encounter the so-called heroes and heroines of the narrative struggling with their own characteristically human feelings, failings, and frailties. In this regard the character of Jacob is especially rich.
When I first heard the term “Thanksgivukkah”—the convergence of Chanukah and Thanksgiving—and that it was happening this year, I must admit that I became a little anxious because it brought back some of my interfaith marriage insecurities that I thought were long gone.
The portion Vayeishev contains astounding examples of bad behavior: Joseph maligns and humiliates his brothers; they, in turn, respond by selling Joseph to the Ishmaelites; Judah and Tamar become involved in a charade of dismal consequences; and, of course, Joseph, onc
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.