Thousands of Jewish worshipers gathered at the Western Wall for the priestly blessing.
Hundreds of Kohanim, members of the priestly class, blessed some 10,000 worshipers in the morning prayer service Thursday, which is held each year during Passover and Sukkot.
Parshat Ekev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25) This week's Torah portion describes the bountiful blessings promised to our people by God, if (ekev) we obey the laws of Torah.
One mother thanked every one of her daughter's teachers by name and grade, beginning with preschool. A father enumerated the scores of all his son's soccer games. And another mother, with tear-filled eyes and a choked-up voice, used the occasion to present her daughter with her first diamond.
A book's opening chapter is crucial to setting the mood and aura for the remainder of the book's journey. Likewise, the opening scene of a film usually helps set the tone for what will ensue.
The Passover seder is both a reader's experience and a moviegoer's. We sit around the table and read the haggadah, and we also witness a host of rituals. But how does the seder leader creatively capture an audience and draw it into the experience from the beginning?
Traditionally, Orthodox girls wanting a bat mitzvah have had intimate ones with close family and friends, complete with candlelightings and blessings.
Unlike the Reform, Recostructionist and Conservative movements, which have embraced and formalized the bat mitzvah in the synagogue (the Recostructionist movement had the first bat mitzvah in 1922), Orthodox shuls and schools tend to take a more varied, low-key approach.
While many Orthodox girls still have private coming-of-age rituals, others are opting for more public and creative ceremonies, perhaps more closely aligned to a bar mitzvah. Most choose to study extensively with parents, teachers or rebbetzins, and many seek out chesed projects -- acts of loving-kindness -- to help those less fortunate.
Letters To The Editor.
The Tu B'Shevat seder, with its many fruit and nuts, challenges us to reconsider our usual diets, and the recommended Jewish diet. While the FDA recommends a diet high in grains, rich in nutrients and low in saturated fats, Judaism recommends a diet high in holiness, rich in consciousness and connection, and low in selfishness. These four factors guide not only a Jewish diet, but also a Jewish life.
"I heard the rabbi is dying of brain cancer."
That was the word flying around the shul. I should have expected it. Rumors were rife, and they were uncomfortably close to the truth.
Last Oct. 23, I was speaking at the University of Pennsylvania, to inaugurate the new Hillel building on campus. At dinner, I sat beside my parents.
As I spoke, I felt a little strange, nervous and hot. I had trouble keeping to my train of thought. It occurred to me that I was coming down with a cold.
As I sat down after my speech, my father asked, "Is there anything wrong?"
"No," I said, and that is the last thing I remember.
In the middle of a rowdy rendition of "I Have a Little Dreidel" at the Sobelson family Chanukah party in Concord, N.H., Howard Dean walked in and declared himself the cantor.
The Democratic presidential candidate recited the blessings over the candles in near-perfect Hebrew in a dining room crowded with campaign staffers.
"It's another Jewish miracle," Carol Sobelson exclaimed
Smoke intoxicated the air and dark clouds cast an eerie glow over the Southern California sky as fire engulfed our Simi Valley neighborhood.
May there soon be heard, Lord our G-d, in the cities of Judea and in the streets of Jerusalem, the sound of joy and the sound of celebration, the voice of a bridegroom and the voice of a bride, the happy shouting of bridegrooms from their weddings and of young men from their feasts of song. -- From the Sheva Brachot, the Jewish wedding blessings, www.ou.org/wedding/7brachot.htm
This week's Torah portion presents the blessings and curses that follow from observance or defiance of the law. Some people understand this as a rigid system of reward and punishment. Keep the covenant, and all will be well; violate it, and you will suffer.
I spent most of this past week at the United Jewish Communities (UJC) General Assembly (GA), the annual gathering which, this year, brought nearly 4,000 Jewish communal representatives (and journalists) from North America, Israel and elsewhere overseas.
If you were beginning to feel that too much time had passed since you last saw dancing bearded rabbis on television, then fear not, because West Coast Chabad, the organization that sponsors the "L'Chaim" telethon, is broadcasting a special Chanukah party on KCAL-TV Channel 9 each night of Chanukah.
This Friday marks the end of the celebration of Sukkot.
A Portion of Parshat Vayechi
Jewish legal tradition teaches that we should recite 100 blessings every day. This presents an opportunity and a challenge. How might I fill up my quota today?