Last year, I officiated at the first same-sex wedding in the 145-year history of my synagogue. For a Conservative congregation, this was quite a break with tradition.
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The Getty Center's upcoming exhibition "Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai" (Nov. 14-March 4) provides a great opportunity to ponder these religious confluences, while also coming almost face-to-face with some of the earliest, and most beautiful, images in Christian art.
My daughter Rachel is a Jewish American girl from China. She is not the only Asian girl in her school -- there are three, all adopted (two from China, one from Vietnam) -- and she says she feels no different from anyone else. But among the mix of mostly Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews that make up our community, she adds a special spice. And in her own discreet style, I believe she has helped teach her friends to be colorblind in ways that could last a lifetime.
Spain's Toledo contains -- along with spires, damascene jewelry and scrumptious marzipan -- a treasure trove of Jewish memories.
When Israeli archeologist Dr. Dan Bahat arrived in the United States early in February for a month of speaking engagements, he planned to talk to audiences about the history of the Temple Mount and the current state of archeological digs nearby.
A bush that is on fire but doesn't burn is indeed a mysterious phenomenon. But arguably, there is a far more mysterious element in the story of God's commanding Moshe to go down to Egypt to the palace of Pharaoh.
In the company of his friend, fellow world traveler and photographer Maxime du Camp, French novelist Gustave Flaubert visited Jerusalem in 1850. The urbane and sophisticated Flaubert was decidedly unimpressed with this crumbling backwater of the Ottoman Empire: "Jerusalem stands as a fortress; here the old religions silent rot away. One treads on dung; ruins surround you wherever your eyes wander -- a very sad and sorry picture."
That same year, a Rev. George Wilson Bridges also made his way tothe Holy City. An English cleric and an amateur photographer, Bridges and his young son traveled through Palestine as part of a seven-year journey around the Mediterranean and the East. Bridges undertook the journey as a form of solace: He had just buried his wife and daughter in Jamaica -- victims of a tropical fever they contracted while the reverend was there doing missionary work. Steeped as he was in grief and religious conviction, Bridges found that Jerusalem's atmosphere of melancholia and desolation suited him. "What sight," he observed after witnessing Jews praying at the Western Wall, "even in this wondrous city, so touching, so impressive as this -- Jews mourning the ruins of Jerusalem...."