It fit somehow that this recent Saturday service for converts to Judaism took place in a synagogue library. Because this gathering, at Temple Beth Am near Beverly Hills, was both an exercise in worship and in teaching. Maybe it even fit that this was a children's library, because many of the 40 adults who sat in folding chairs are young in relation to their Judaism.
This program, called Judaism by Choice, is "a way of educating the people while they're in the service itself, teaching it while they're doing the service ... the terms of the synagogue, the geography of the service," said Rabbi Neal Weinberg, the program's creator.
7 Days In The Arts
Jono Wagmeister's bar mitzvah adventure started at a friend's bat mitzvah in Atlanta last April, and took him on a virtual journey across the world and through centuries of Jewish history.
It was in Atlanta that Jono first heard about the 1,564 scrolls the Nazis collected and catalogued for a future exhibit on the extinct race. In 1964 the decaying scrolls were transported to Westminster Synagogue in London, where they were repaired, catalogued and made available on loan to synagogues around the world through the Czech Memorial Scrolls Centre.
The rabbis of the Talmud tell us that we are created with yetzer hatov (good inclination) or yetzer harah (bad inclination).
In the aftermath of Sept. 11, Sande Hart grew increasingly disgusted by disparaging remarks some of her friends -- both Jewish and not -- made about Muslims. The Koran, they said, preached killing Jews and other infidels; Islam was a hate-filled religion, with few redeeming qualities.