In our postmodern age, it’s fascinating to note that Jews still widely observe several biblical-era practices. Two among them stand out: brit milah (ritual circumcision) and Pesach (Passover). It’s also worth mentioning that Elijah the prophet plays major roles during both. Elijah is the honored guest at every circumcision, with a special chair — the Kisei Shel Eliyahu — reserved for him. He is also the honored guest at every Pesach seder, with the fifth cup of wine — the Kos Shel Eliyahu — poured especially for him, and he is treated to a special welcome when we open the door for him.
When Kelly Smith and Brian Bloch met at a convention in Long Beach in 1999, sparks flew. As they developed their long-distance relationship via e-mail -- Brian at his computer in Houston, Kelly at hers in the Valley -- they were astounded to find out how much they had in common.
Each Yom Kippur, a vestigial loneliness creeps over me. I achingly feel that my parents and family are back East; that my cousins live in Japan; that some of my dearest are dead. On this day, dispersion and alienation seeps in, and I cling to my community like fog to the shore. And this is the way it should be.