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?”
“Organized Judaism is in trouble.” I’ve been hearing that refrain for years now, from rabbis and Jewish leaders in speeches, sermons, op-eds and conferences. The litany of complaints is familiar: Synagogue membership is down; the new generation doesn’t like organized religion; people want something new; and so on.
On this Rosh Hashanah eve, we savor the hope that the New Year will bring the blessing of peace to Israel. We recall President Obama’s historic speech in Jerusalem, where he spoke to our hearts, as Jews and as Americans, about the necessity of achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace.
President Obama warned Iran of further isolation but stopped short of threatening military action should the country not cooperate with the international community on its nuclear program.
They’ve weathered five years of economic crisis, relentless state budget cuts and growing demand for their services. Now, social service providers for seniors in the Los Angeles area are bracing for a new slew of challenges in 2013.
You don’t have to be a Jewish scholar to note a glaring difference between Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Jan. 1, the secular New Year.
What a year, right? The Jewish year 5772 started with a sense that a military confrontation with Iran is avoidable. Now it seems — all merits aside — imminent.
Shortly after I became a vegan, around 20 years ago, I ordered my first “vegan option” at a Jewish organizational dinner. It arrived: a plateful of raw celery and carrot sticks arranged around a cup of something ranch dressing-ish that probably wasn’t even vegan.
President Obama in his message for the Persian New Year appealed directly to the Iranian people's aspirations for freedom. "I want the Iranian people to know that America seeks a dialogue to hear your views and understand your aspirations," Obama said in his message for Nowruz, the Persian New Year, which was marked Tuesday.
For more Gold, check out his video from the Montreal Comedy Festival.
Aish brings together rhythem, beats and davening for their 'Rosh Hashanah in the house tonight' dancing spectacle.
For Israel, the Jewish year 5770 was characterized by ups and downs in relations with the United States, growing international alienation and a virtual stalemate in Middle East peacemaking -- until the summit meeting in Washington just before Rosh Hashanah.
A group of Jewish interfaith educators is asking rabbis to talk about Islam next Shabbat.
Garden fresh food.
The complicated process that bees go through to make honey and the complex operation that people go through to get that honey to the table.
Elul is traditionally a month for polishing the soul. During this time, we search ourselves for blemishes. Then, through the process of teshuvah, we polish and refine ourselves. The culmination of this refinement is the fast of Yom Kippur, from which we hope to emerge shining and radiant.
Goodbye summer; hello High Holidays. While Rosh Hashanah falls later in the calendar than normal this year (Oct. 3-5), it's never too early to get ready for the Jewish New Year. Besides, preparations traditionally begin in the Hebrew month of Elul, which started Sept. 4.
If you didn't know that -- and were too afraid, too preoccupied or too unknowing to ask -- then we have just the thing for you: this handy guide to get your mind, body and soul in the spirit, so to speak, for the Days of Awe.
We've included Frequently Asked Questions about the High Holidays; a how-to on finding a synagogue (no, it's not too late); a music and book list for inspiration and explanation; and a primer for those new to the faith.
We also have prepared our special Congregation Directory (pages 40-47), a comprehensive listing of Los Angeles congregations sorted by neighborhoods.
Jewish groups are expressing anger that government officials, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, have scheduled a special election in Orange County to fall on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the year for Jews.
The Jewish Federation of Orange County is on its way to starting another New Year tradition by again urging residents to buy Israeli-made honey for their own Rosh Hashanah tables as well as contributing a jar to an Israeli family.
This year, six other Jewish communities in Western states are joining in the "Honey for the Holidays" promotion, started by the broad-based O.C. Israel Solidarity Task Force, said Bunnie Mauldin, the O.C. Federation's executive director. "We are with you in sweetness and sorrow," reads the card that will be attached to hundreds of honey jars expected to be distributed in the Israeli communities of Kiryat Malachi and Hof Ashkelon.
This Rosh Hashanah brings to a close the year in which my father died. For this reason, and many others, I am grateful that the Jewish New Year is marked not by parties, but by days and weeks preceding and following of self-evaluation, quiet contemplation and prayers for blessings in the coming year.
Apples dipped in honey. And while you're at it, dip the challah, too. Chicken soup with knaidel. Here, who's gonna finish this last little piece of brisket? What? You didn't try the noodle kugel? Don't tell me you're too full for my homemade honey cake and cookies -- it's Yom Tov!
This year, 5763, Rosh Hashana falls on Shabbat, the weekly observance that Sen. Joseph Lieberman calls "a sanctuary to put the outside world on hold and concentrate on what's really important -- your faith and your family." And although Lieberman, who was the Democratic candidate for vice president in 2000, will experience the same joy he feels every Friday night as he takes off his watch and prepares to get into the Sabbath mood, during Rosh Hashana all activities are heightened -- the prayers are longer, the conversation more intense, the urgency to evaluate the past year and make resolutions for a sweet New Year more palpable.
It is a new year, but the world and nation are still agonizing over a lot of old problems. President George W. Bush has promised that the long, hard fight against terrorism has just begun, but it is far from clear exactly what the next phase in that war will be. At home, a faltering economy and vanished government surplus promise a new budgetary day of reckoning.
Here we go again! We start the New Year by reading the Torah all over again from the beginning. Why do we do this, year after year? Why do we read the same things over and over again? Maybe we can find the answer in the word that means "year" in Hebrew: shana.
In October 1999, I went through the personal tragedy of a divorce. I felt personally lost, very much alone. A lady in my congregational community, Lilly Kahn-Rose, approached me one Shabbat soon after, offering to help me in some way. I responded: "Please invite me and my children for some Shabbat meals, and please help me get some Shabbat meal invitations from others in the community. I can buy cold cuts, side dishes, and challah, can recite kiddush and lead z'mirot melodies, but it is going to be so lonely and feel so minimalist in our apartment. Please help me get me some Shabbat invitations."
Four thousand years ago, the Babylonians originated the ritual of making New Year's resolutions. Most of them made the identical promise -- to return borrowed farm equipment.
Hebrew for forgiveness, Selichot services are a time of preparation for the New Year, generally held after the conclusion of Shabbat prior to Rosh Hashanah.
A year after my father's unexpected death from a kidney transplant, I returned home.
Six months earlier, my mother had sold our house, the one I had lived in my entire life. The synagogue was the same. The family was the same. Their friends were the same.
We lit the candles Friday night in honor of the new millennium.
I know it should not have been done that way. Observant Jews insisted right up until the Waterford ball dropped in Times Square that the millennium had nothing to do with them, that on Friday night it was Shabbat, not 2,000 years after Jesus that they were celebrating.
Last week I was driving to a family celebration at Leisure World in Laguna Hills when I noticed something very odd about the weather: Fall was in the air.
It's a subtle thing in Southern California, but those of us who have lived here long enough recognize the slight change in temperature, the almost imperceptible newness in the air.
Another year come and gone. Another one beginning. For me, an occasion more for recollection than repentance.
On the first day of Tishri, Sept. 10, the Jewish New Year begins at sunset.