We take light for granted. But in the Torah’s opening chapter of Bereshit, it was God’s first gift. It seems fitting, then, that when a local synagogue committed itself to helping an impoverished village in rural Uganda, the first gift would be to turn on the lights — to give the gift of solar-powered electricity.
Chasidic reggae and rap singer Matisyahu just released his fourth album, “Light” — his first full-length work in three years. He discussed his new music, God, spirituality, sex, drugs and Israel in a phone interview with Rabbi Naomi Levy, spiritual leader of Nashuva and author of “Talking to God” (Knopf, 2002) and “To Begin Again” (Ballantine Books, 1999).
Chanukah 5769: Will the Jewish flame of our era burn forth unto our children and our children's children?
Whether in Thailand or San Francisco, when I wanted a place to spend a holiday, to pray on Shabbat or just to connect, there was always one of those perennially cheerful Chabad rabbis, a motley collection of tossed-about Jews and some schnapps. And I was home.
For three years, I lived in an apartment in Jerusalem next to a bus stop. The rhythm of my life quickly adapted to the bus schedule.
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.
When we recognize the strengths, the potential, the gifts that others give to the world and us, we can see a glimpse of God in them.