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.
In Parashat Emor, the Torah reports that a man born of mixed Israelite-Egyptian descent “blasphemed the Name [of God],” was placed on trial, and was stoned to death. A law was then enacted that anyone, Jewish or gentile, who blasphemes the name of God shall be put to death. Over time, in communities throughout the world, laws against blasphemy were put in place to address curses leveled at God as well as perceived slights against some religions.
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.
When we love something, we want to share it – so why not be inspired to bring our Jewish friends into the kehilla kedosha (holy community), embracing them within a wonderful, sacred congregation?
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.