The Pilgrims of New Salem, Mass., were so moved by the stories of the ancient Israelites that they thought of America as their Zion and New Salem as their Jerusalem. They based their first Thanksgiving celebration on the pilgrimages the Jews were commanded to make to Jerusalem on...
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November 21, 2002 | 7:00 pm
August 29, 2002 | 8:00 pm
Even if the reader is a person who does not regularly attend Shabbat worship services when the Torah is read, the text of Nitzavim will be somewhat familiar, inasmuch as it is offered not only as a reading during the Sabbath we are about to observe, but it is also presented as the...
August 29, 2002 | 8:00 pm
In these parshot, Moses wraps up all he has to say to the Israelites. When he is done speaking, he will take leave of them and die. He says: "Please remember all I have instructed you to do, so that you will lead happy and fulfilled lives."
As Labor Day approaches (Sept. 2), we think...
August 8, 2002 | 8:00 pm
We are entering the homestretch. Aug. 9 is the first of Elul, the last month in the Jewish calendar. It is a time when Jews around the world begin to prepare for the High Holy Days by saying prayers called "Selichot." These are prayers to ask forgiveness of God. It is said that...
July 25, 2002 | 8:00 pm
Ack! Summer's halfway over. I hope you're having a great summer. Are you at camp? Did your parents take you on a fun trip? A cruise, perhaps?
In this week's portion, Moses asks the Israelites to remember that while they are about to enter a rich and fertile land, "flowing with milk...
June 27, 2002 | 8:00 pm
Yes, I know that this week is Pinchas, but I must return to the second of last week's two portions, Balak, for what happens there is too relevant to pass by unmentioned. In this famous portion, King
Balak sends the prophet-magician Balaam to curse Israel, because
he is scared of...
April 25, 2002 | 8:00 pm
OK. Now what's an omer?
It is a unit of measure -- like a pound or a kilo. That is how sheaves of barley were measured. The Israelites were commanded to bring an omer of barley to the Temple on the second day of Passover. If you don't believe me, read this week's Torah portion, Emor. It says it right there. Then they were supposed to count 49 days from that day, until Shavuot. Lag B'Omer falls on the 33rd day of the counting of the omer. Get it?
April 18, 2002 | 8:00 pm
Two parshot are read on this Shabbat: Achrei Mot and Kedoshim. The second portion begins with God telling the Israelites: Kedoshim -- You shall be holy, for I am holy. What does this mean? It means acting with love and respect to ourselves, to other people and to the world. This week, we remember the Earth when we celebrate Earth Day on April 22. Go to Balboa Park on April 21 for the Whole Earth Fest (after you've visited the Israeli Independence Day Festival) and check out all the booths, crafts and activities.
March 7, 2002 | 7:00 pm
February 28, 2002 | 7:00 pm
January 17, 2002 | 7:00 pm
In last week's parsha, the Israelites sat back and watched as God brought seven plagues upon the Egyptians. This week, we read of the final three plagues. All of a sudden, the Israelites are told that they must help God in the last plague. How? They must smear the blood of a lamb on...
January 10, 2002 | 7:00 pm
A Portion of Parshat Va'yera
This week, Moses begins the job of freeing the Israelites in earnest. He has already approached Pharoah and asked for the release of his people, but Pharaoh does not listen. He approaches Pharaoh again and warns him about the plagues, but Pharaoh...
January 3, 2002 | 7:00 pm
October 4, 2001 | 8:00 pm
The eighth day of the holiday of Sukkot is actually a separate holiday called Shemini Atzeret. It means "the eighth day of the assembly."
The Israelites gather for seven days around the Temple in Jerusalem, and they are just not ready to go home yet, because they are having so much...
August 16, 2001 | 7:59 pm
April 5, 2001 | 8:00 pm
March 22, 2001 | 7:00 pm
June 24, 1999 | 8:00 pmWhen I was 16, I was elected president of my synagogue youth group. I will never forget that feeling of euphoria that accompanied the victory. But I also remember how I felt the very next day after the excitement and thrill of the victory had already started to wear off. I was...