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Jewish Journal

Finding meaning in the ram

by Rabbi Noah Zvi Farkas

September 24, 2014 | 11:28 am

No story in our culture is more enigmatic and iconic than the Binding of Isaac, which we read on Rosh Hashanah. The akedah, or “binding,” is found in the 22nd chapter of Genesis and is... read full article

  • A new look in Israel for Shmita, the year of rest

    By Orit Arfa

    September 24, 2014 | 11:15 am

    More than 2,000 years ago, when ancient Israel was an agrarian society, the shmita year was a huge national happening. Commencing with Rosh Hashanah, the people of Israel would gather in the fields to partake of the produce left “ownerless” by farmers who, heeding the biblical...

  • Will the summer of war affect High Holy Days sermons?

    By Ryan Torok

    September 23, 2014 | 4:02 pm

    Every year, synagogue rabbis face the often-daunting task of coming up with compelling High Holy Days sermons.

    This summer’s 50-day Israel-Gaza conflict, during which 66 Israeli soldiers and six Israeli civilians were killed, and more than 2,100 Palestinians died, could make this...

  • The shofar saves a rabbi’s life: a case study

    by Dr. Norman Lavin

    September 23, 2014 | 3:56 pm

    My patient, an esteemed rabbi, underwent major abdominal surgery lasting several hours. Within one day postoperatively, he was instructed to blow into a mechanical device to help prevent respiratory complications. 

    Pulmonary problems are not uncommon after surgery, and they...

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  • How to Shmita in California

    by Edmon J. Rodman

    September 23, 2014 | 3:27 pm

    Shmita, the Torah-mandated break that refreshes every seven years, and which is observed in the coming new year, 5775, is being reinterpreted in Los Angeles.

    The key concepts of shmita, which means “release,” are found in the Torah portion Mishpatim in Exodus (“Six years you...

  • Now there’s an app for atonement – meet eScapegoat

    by Tess Cutler

    September 23, 2014 | 2:56 pm

    The confessions come flooding in at this time of year to the Twitter feed of the atonement app eScapegoat:

    I told him the cupcake was gluten-free.

    I always use my roommate’s bathroom so I don’t have to clean my own.

    I’ve spent all my mother’s money since she died.

    Sarah...

  • Compassionate kapparot: use coins, not chickens

    by Rabbi Jonathan Klein

    September 23, 2014 | 2:16 pm

    How does one remove sin and guarantee one’s name in the Book of Life during the Ten Days of Repentance? Here’s one way that does not work: Take a factory-farmed white hen out of a battery cage in the sweltering heat, wave it over your head, say “This is my exchange, this is my...

  • The deep wellspring of the Shofar

    by Rabbi Brandon Gaines

    September 18, 2014 | 4:47 pm

    Venerated Chassidic master Rabbi Hillel of Paritch (in his magnum opus Pelach haRimon) likens the Shofar’s simple but powerful “cry” to a mighty wellspring bursting forth from the depths of the earth. Such a wellspring, explains Reb Hillel, replenishes even a parched river, i.e....

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