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Tag: God

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  • The Seder’s Innermost Secret—Charoset:  Earth & Eros in the Passover Celebration

    By Rabbi Arthur Waskow

    1 week ago

    There it sits on the Seder plate: charoset, a delicious paste of chopped nuts, chopped fruits, spices, and wine.

    So the question would seem obvious "Why is there charoset on the Seder plate?"

    That's the most secret Question at the Seder – so secret nobody even asks it. And it’s...

  • Why evil committed in the name of God is worse

    By Dennis Prager

    March 19, 2014 | 2:06 pm

    If I could ask one question of a religious person — of any faith — it would be, “What is the worst sin in your religion?”

    The answer to this question can often tell you more than that of any other question about that person’s religion, or at least about that person’s own...

  • Become the sanctuary: Parashat Tzav (Leviticus 6:1-8:36)

    March 12, 2014 | 3:46 pm

    Where is God, and what does the Holy One want from us? These timeless questions animate so many of us spiritual seekers. 

    Of course, there are better places to look for an answer than in this week’s Torah portion, Tzav, unless you consider barbecuing as divine service. If you...

  • The covenant of the calf: Parashat Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11-34:35)

    February 12, 2014 | 5:01 pm

    If the word of God, engraved in stone, can crumble as easily as bread; if God’s voice, chiseled in rock, can shatter like a pitched dinner plate; if the children of Israel can cast off their heavenly covenant with a casualness not unlike the unclasping of an earring or a necklace;...

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  • A Coming Out Tale: Getting Over My Embarrassment and Calling Myself Religious

    By Tamara Shayne Kagel

    February 12, 2014 | 12:30 pm

    I have always been cagey when detailing information about myself that might classify me as religious.  Not that I was ever embarrassed or cryptic about telling people I was Jewish.  Telling people I was Jewish when people asked what my Christmas plans were, or just offering up the...

  • Modeh Ani, connecting thanksgiving and light

    November 25, 2013 | 4:59 pm

    When people ask me to describe the God I believe in, I often start by using the image of a flame. We are taught that each of us has a divine spark within us. That divine spark at times burns brightly, often in the moments of our lives when we find ourselves in balance and in tune...

  • No faith, no Jewish future

    By Dennis Prager

    November 6, 2013 | 1:27 pm

    In my last column, I suggested a number of reasons for the rise of Orthodox Judaism and the decline in membership among non-Orthodox denominations. 

    In this column, I would like to discuss one important reason that often goes unnoted.

    That reason is faith — not only faith in...

  • Jewish ignorance is a disease, you are the cure

    By Salvador Litvak

    October 30, 2013 | 12:12 pm

    “Whoever does not visit the sick is as if he spilled blood.” — Rabbi Akiva (Nedarim 40a, B. Talmud)

    Our fellow Jews are sick. They don’t admit it. They don’t even know it. Yet the malady is grave. “The most destructive, painful, most contagious disease of all,” Rabbi Noah...

  • Reboot unscrolls a modern take on Torah

    By Danielle Berrin

    October 23, 2013 | 11:36 am

    Reboot, the highly selective Jewish think-tank that invites “young, Jewishly unconnected cultural creatives” to imagine ways of modernizing and revitalizing Jewish tradition, has unfurled its latest effort with “Unscrolled,” a compendium of divrei Torah written by popular artists...

  • The Pew survey: What’s missing from the conversation

    October 11, 2013 | 10:48 am

    The ink is barely dry on the latest Pew report on declining Jewish affiliation and concerned community leaders are quickly weighing in on what to do to attract the unaffiliated back under the tent.  Notwithstanding all the good ideas, something, from my experience, is missing from...

  • The long and winding road: Parashat Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1–17:27)

    By Rabbi Daniel Bouskila

    October 9, 2013 | 3:24 pm

    The day God pronounced two simple words — lech lecha — Abraham and Sarah’s lives changed forever. God instructs Abraham to leave his homeland, his birthplace and his father’s home, “to the land that I will show you, and there I will make of you a great nation” (Genesis 12:1-2)....

  • Each day is a choice: Parashat Bereshit (Genesis 1:1-6:8)

    September 24, 2013 | 3:14 pm

    Only a couple of weeks ago, we were all feeling the holiness of Yom Kippur. By the end of the day of fasting, beautiful music, insightful teachings and prayers that deepened our self-awareness, we were remembering the real priorities in life. We had committed — to ourselves and God...

  • What if Cyrus had not freed the Jews?

    By Roger Price

    September 24, 2013 | 9:01 am

      Over twenty-five centuries ago, Cyrus II, founder and ruler of the Persian Empire, freed the Jews who had been transported forcibly to Babylon and facilitated the reconstruction of their Temple in Jerusalem. Without the intervention of Cyrus, the Jewish People and Judaism as we...

  • Remember to forgive yourself

    September 11, 2013 | 3:33 pm

    Every year on Yom Kippur, Jews in synagogues all over the world engage in a communal chest-beating during the Vidui, to repent, symbolically, for our collective sins. But what about the sin of being too hard on ourselves? As the High Holy Days approach once again, it seems logical...

  • A difficult conversation

    By Rabbi Laura Geller

    September 3, 2013 | 11:52 am

    The conversation is supposed to begin like this: “Will you forgive me for anything I might have said or done this year that has hurt you?” 

    You are sitting with a friend over coffee, during the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and you ask this question. Not easy. What...

  • High Holy Days: Living with purpose

    September 3, 2013 | 11:28 am

    have a calling. I am living my best life. I am fulfilling my life’s mission. I am living with purpose. While these pronouncements are a mainstay of popular American and Christian spirituality, they do not sound very “Jewish.” Yet, as we approach Rosh Hashanah and the celebration...

  • The other annual migration of North American Jews: to shul

    By Roger Price

    August 29, 2013 | 12:42 pm

       The first of the two annual migrations of North American Jews began a couple of weeks ago, with thousands and thousands of young Jews heading to colleges across the continent. (See The annual migration of North American Jews to college.) The second seasonal migration of North...

  • What children can teach us at Rosh Hashanah

    August 27, 2013 | 9:50 am

    A deep spiritual life is hard to find. While opportunities abound for spiritual connections (yoga, meditation, retreats and the like), for most of us it doesn’t come easy. The noise, unfinished to-do lists and the distractions of everyday life interfere with quieting our minds,...

  • Love in the time of Elul

    By David Suissa

    August 21, 2013 | 12:37 pm

    I confess there’s something that’s always bothered me about this time of year, when we put such a big emphasis on reflecting on our mistakes. Why only now? Isn’t this something we should be doing all year? As a community, we certainly do plenty of it, through the very act of...

  • Rabbi Joachim Prinz: 'The most shameful problem is silence'

    August 20, 2013 | 5:03 pm

    I speak to you as an American Jew.

    As Americans we share the profound concern of millions of people about the shame and disgrace of inequality and injustice which make a mockery of the great American idea.

    As Jews we bring to this great demonstration, in which thousands of us...

  • The annual migration of North American Jews to college

    By Roger Price

    August 15, 2013 | 8:13 am

    When they are underway, the annual migrations of various animal species are truly magnificent to behold. By sea, land and sky, they move: the sea turtles and the baleen whales, the caribou and the wildebeests, the green darner dragonflies and the arctic terns and the free-tailed...

  • Convert: Rico Collins

    August 7, 2013 | 1:24 pm

    Rico Collins, 39, was raised Southern Baptist in Jacksonville, Fla., but could never relate to the messages he heard in church as a boy. “It’s very fire and brimstone,” he said. “I didn’t like it.” 

    Collins said he didn’t fit in with the other kids at church and felt alienated...

  • The Gospel according to Aslan [Q&A]

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    August 7, 2013 | 10:22 am

    Reza Aslan, author of the best-selling “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” spoke with Jewish Journal book editor Jonathan Kirsch by phone from Portland, Ore., where Aslan was part of a national book tour. This interview took place just a few days after Aslan’s...

  • Reaganism, Capitalism and Sheilaism

    By Marty Kaplan

    August 5, 2013 | 11:27 am

    If mice can have false memories planted in their brains by scientists, as the journal Science reported recently, then I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that cultures can have false memories planted in their brains by politicians and their media enablers.

    What brings this to mind...

  • The problem with prayer

    By David Suissa

    July 17, 2013 | 11:39 am

    If the practice of Judaism is based on synagogue attendance, and if synagogue attendance is based on the passive recitation of prayer, then Judaism is in trouble.

    The ritual of repetitive communal prayer might have worked in the shtetls to keep Jews Jewish, but it doesn’t work in...

  • It’s Happened!

    By Robin Podolsky

    June 14, 2013 | 2:58 pm

    Thanks to HaShem and to all my beloved teachers and friends, it's happened.  On 2 Tammuz, June 10, I received smichah and was ordained a rabbi and teacher for the people Israel.  (I guess I'm going to have to rename this blog pretty soon.  Any ideas?)

    Here is an edited version of...

  • Is God All-Powerful?

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    June 5, 2013 | 8:00 am

    Recently, someone who is dear to me, and who I’ve known for over 30 years, shared a photo on Facebook with text which read, “You either have a God who sends child rapists to rape children or you have a God who simply watches and says ‘When you’re done I’m going to punish you.’ If I...

  • Q&A with Natan Sharansky

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    June 4, 2013 | 3:55 pm

    The Russian-born Israeli Natan Sharansky, 65, a former member of the Knesset and now chair of the Jewish Agency, visited Los Angeles last week, hosted jointly by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and Beth Jacob Congregation of Beverly Hills. A refusenik who spent years...

  • The camel’s nose and the Torah’s tent

    By Roger Price

    May 23, 2013 | 3:10 pm

         For those who hold that the Bible, and particularly the Torah, is the Word of God, without flaw and inerrant, the last few hundred years have been very frustrating. The development of the Documentary Hypothesis, the idea that the Torah was a compilation of works from several...

  • Honor trumps love

    By Dennis Prager

    May 22, 2013 | 12:16 pm

    Between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is a good time to return again to the fifth of the Ten Commandments, “Honor your father and your mother.”

    The Ten Commandments are the most important demands God makes upon the Jews (and upon members of any religion based on the Jewish...

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