When the torrential winter rains take a reprieve, don some wings and head south. This three-day itinerary for rest, relaxation and kosher cuisine creates sunny inspiration even on the cloudiest days.
Standing on a surfboard for the first time, it felt as if time stood still. I can recall the palm trees on the shore, the dusty blue of the island's silhouette in the distance to my left, and my teacher afloat on his board to my right. That first, miraculous ride seemed to last forever. In one unforgettable moment, every stray thought inside me was quieted, pushed aside. All I knew was a sense of harmony between myself, the board and the wave. The water must have been slapping on the sand and the birds must have been chirping, but I heard absolutely nothing. A complete and total silence enveloped me and carried me closer and closer to shore, until the board stopped and I fell. The moment was gone.
I just returned from France, where I spent 10 days looking into issues of anti-Semitism and racism in a country that has Europe's
largest populations of Muslims and Jews. What I found is a subject for an upcoming story. But one item -- really just an offhand remark by an Education Ministry official there -- struck me as especially topical considering the anniversary we mark this week.
Pop diva Madonna was among the praying, swaying and singing masses of kabbalah enthusiasts who made the pilgrimage to Israel for the High Holidays, seeking spiritual transformation through a brand of Jewish mysticism.
The Passover seder is a wonderful chance to connect with certain relatives that you love, along with hearing again the inspiring account of moving out of enslavement and fear while moving toward freedom and compassion for all who are hungry or mistreated. But for the majority of Jewish families, it's also a stressful time when personality clashes and unresolved conflicts with a few particular relatives spring up once again.
Marcus Weston is a thin, good-looking Londoner who in his casual attire and unobtrusive kippah could pass for typical Pico-Robertson Modern Orthodox guy. On this cool Tuesday night in December, he offers his audience a reassuring smile.
Abram was despondent in his tent, deeply wearied from battle, having just returned from chasing kings from Dan to Damascus.
Abram had looked death in the eye and sat distraught over his own future. God listened to His friend's lament and then He took him outside and said, "Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them." And he added, "So shall your offspring be" (Genesis 15:5).
This verse is remarkable in many ways, and like every verse of Torah, it has an elixir of magic cleverly hidden in its heart, which we will together attempt to uncork.
David Klinghoffer's biography of the patriarch Abraham rides on a new wave of interest in the Bible, and a growing sense of the Abrahamic heritage that Christians, Jews and Muslims share.
Parashat Ki Tisa tells us that "the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one man speaks to another." (Exodus 33:11) We also hear God telling Moses, "I have singled you out by name, and you have indeed gained My favor" (Exodus 33:12). In Numbers 12:8, God explains that only with Moses does communication occur "mouth to mouth." And the expression "face to face" (panim el panim) recurs in Deuteronomy 34:10, as both Moses' life and the Torah reach their conclusion: "Never again did there arise in Israel a prophet like Moses -- whom the Lord singled out, face to face."