Whole barbecued pigs, cheerleaders and elegies to skinny-dipping farmers' daughters. That was the organized noise Sunday night at the opening bash of the Republican National Convention at Tropicana Field, the home of Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg.
A Southern California synagogue is having its third annual “blessing of the animals.” Congregation Dor Hadash in San Diego holds the event in honor of Tu b’Shevat, the 15th day of Nissan, which this year falls on Jan. 20. Pet owners are invited to bring their pets to the Reconstructionist shul by noon Sunday, Jan. 9, where they will be blessed by Rabbi Yael Ridburg. Furred, winged and swimming creatures are all welcome -- from cats to turtles.
From painted-clay preschool classics to sterling silver family heirlooms, the eight bright lights of the chanukiyah have a unique and artful way of revealing our values, holding our histories and telling our stories.
Parshat Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8) Throughout Moses' dark description of curses, the theme of enemies is prevalent. This, too, is part of the curses we wish to obliterate on Rosh Hashanah.
Blatant providence from God is so apparent that it's difficult to really see it, though we're looking at it always. The curses that God grants us are indeed an opportunity to partake far more deeply and actively in the experience of Him. They are gifts of discovery through adversity of the concealed beauty in all things.
For all those sacred moments, memories and hopes, may we continue to remember God's precious blessings, first conveyed by the priests, then by rabbis, loving parents and many others who all feel privileged to bestow these hopes and promises upon a world that needs them now more than ever.
Today, one of the great Moroccan sages, Rabbi Chaim Pinto of the city of Mogador, has a living presence right here in our own hood, on Pico Boulevard, just east of Robertson. It's at a little shul called the Pinto Center.
In Parshat Toldot, we encounter the remarkable event described in Genesis 27, as Yitzhak prepares in blindness to confer an eternal blessing on one of his twin sons.He wants to extend that blessing to the viscerally evil Esav, who nevertheless always has acted with the utmost respect for his father. Esav has Yitzhak figured out, and Yitzhak really loves him. By contrast, Rivkah is devoted uniquely to the simpler, gentler, less charismatic Yaakov.Why the dichotomy?
Being a service member in Operation Iraqi Freedom, I also realized that life, like the sukkah, is temporary. One never knows how long one might live or when one might die.
Parshat Nitzavim-Vayeilech (Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30)
By his size and handsome impression, our son, Max, appears to be like any other boy his age, however when you meet him in his wheelchair, you quickly learn that he is severely disabled, both cognitively and physically. He's unable to talk, use a device to communicate, propel himself or use his hands. You realize that he's dependent on others in every aspect of his life. Yet, that didn't stop our family and friends from all over California, our community and Max himself from celebrating his becoming a bar mitzvah.
The upfsherin (hair cutting ceremony) took place on the last day of Shevat -- an auspicious time for a healing ritual. The day before Rosh Chodesh (first day of the month) is observed, in the medieval mystical practice of Yom Kippur katan (little Yom Kippur) -- a day for cleansing, purification, and preparation -- just what shaving my head represented, as I began my fifth week of chemotherapy.
As Rosh Hashanah approaches, I am reminded of our trip to Italy a few years ago. We arrived in Milan in the early afternoon and checked into our hotel, planning to attend Rosh Hashanah services that evening at the Sephardic Synagogue.
"You guys know I love Carrie very much, and I'm going to ask her to marry me. I'd like to get your blessing."
I felt a great, humbling appreciation that I was now doing what so many of my ancestors had wished to do for thousands of years.
Becoming a grandparent is a very exciting event.
While on a summer vacation on the East Coast, my family and I visited some spectacular sights in northwestern North Carolina, especially near Ashville.
The freeways were quiet and the city seemed peaceful at 4:30 a.m. as I drove to the hospital.
Recently, I came across a story about a man who made the "unforgivable" mistake of missing his wife's birthday. When the wife expressed her anger, the quick-witted husband responded, "Sweetheart, how do you expect me to remember your birthday when you never look any older?"
If only that were true, and we could find the secret elixir for everlasting youth, we would all be happier. Although some French winemakers would like us to believe that imbibing one glass of French wine each day will do the trick, most of us realize that, considering the alternative, aging is a blessing.
Sacred places are those sites where we can experience a unique sense of connection; these are the places where we turn outside of ourselves and become aware of our place in the universe. We sense the energies and flow of the universe and where we have a heightened sense that there is something larger than each of us that informs how we exist in the world.
Everybody's good at something. The trick is to discover what it is.
If you were told that you had only a matter of days to live what would you do? Write out a will? Eat your favorite meal? Try to repair troubled relationships? In our Torah portion this Shabbat, Jacob knows he is dying. Faced with this knowledge, there is only one thing he wants to do: bless those he loves.
It began with the first two human born into this world, the world's first brothers.
Not long ago, a friend of mine called me and said, "Naomi, I need your help.
"Go away!" Gabe, 15, yells at his two younger brothers, having been rudely awakened by a blast of the shofar.
On the anniversary of Sept. 11, we offer a pancultural exchange with a happy ending.
Back in November, UP FRONT reported about Patricia Abdullah, a Caucasian woman of Muslim faith who, after leading an unsuccessful search for a type O-positive kidney donor for acquaintance Mike Jones, an African American Christian, ultimately donated her own kidney. The Sept. 25 procedure was performed by Jewish and German surgeons at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, a hospital founded by Jews.
A young friend of mine switched career paths, giving up on an industry that she did not find fulfilling. She is now working in a field that she finds challenging, has potential for growth and gives her opportunities to contribute in ways that are important to her.
The other day, I got a sample of Pampers in the mail. It doesn't happen very often now, fortunately.
Pity Esau. One moment of weakness, one moment ofimpulse, and his birthright is gone. He goes out to fulfill hisfather's dying wish for a savory meal of game, and while he's outhunting, his mother and brother conspire and rob him of his blessing.Returning to his father with the feast, expecting at last to gain hisdue position as head of the clan, he is met with his father's emptyexcuses. And so Esau cries: "Have you but one blessing, Father? Blessme too, Father!" And Esau wept aloud (Genesis 27:38). Tears ofbetrayal, of pain, of rage, of broken dreams.