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Jewish Journal

Tag: Torah

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  • No faith, no Jewish future

    By Dennis Prager

    November 6, 2013 | 1:27 pm

    In my last column, I suggested a number of reasons for the rise of Orthodox Judaism and the decline in membership among non-Orthodox denominations. 

    In this column, I would like to discuss one important reason that often goes unnoted.

    That reason is faith — not only faith in...

  • Arguing Like Abraham

    November 5, 2013 | 9:22 am

    I facilitated a parenting discussion this past weekend, which is one of my favorite things to do (besides hanging out with my family and - shamefully - watching Vampire Diaries after the kids have gone to bed). We talked about why our children should be helping around the house,...

  • The wells of peace: Parashat Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9)

    By Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater

    October 30, 2013 | 12:59 pm

    Wells, water, history and peace. Seems like as much as the world changes, advances and develops, some things remain intact, remain essential to our future. In the midst of this week’s parasha, Toldot, within the stories of familial strife among Isaac, Rebecca and their twin sons,...

  • Why Orthodoxy is growing

    By Dennis Prager

    October 23, 2013 | 11:58 am

    As almost every Jew knows by now, according to major reports on American Jewry — such as the most recent and most highly regarded Pew report — Orthodoxy is growing, while Conservative and Reform Judaism are shrinking. 

    Before presenting my explanations, I think it important to...

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  • Reboot unscrolls a modern take on Torah

    By Danielle Berrin

    October 23, 2013 | 11:36 am

    Reboot, the highly selective Jewish think-tank that invites “young, Jewishly unconnected cultural creatives” to imagine ways of modernizing and revitalizing Jewish tradition, has unfurled its latest effort with “Unscrolled,” a compendium of divrei Torah written by popular artists...

  • In the face of strangers: Parashat Vayera (Genesis 18:1-22:24)

    By Rabbi Laura Geller

    October 16, 2013 | 12:18 pm

    This week’s Torah portion begins: “YHVH appeared to Abraham as he was sitting at the entrance of the tent … looking up, he saw: behold, three men standing opposite him. As soon as he saw them he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them, and bowing down to the ground he said:...

  • Will Deutsch: Drawing on Jewish culture

    By Avishay Artsy

    October 16, 2013 | 11:51 am

    What’s considered “Jewish art” often includes a Marc Chagall print. Maybe some abstract metal sculptures resembling a menorah or Star of David. Or a painting of Orthodox Jewish men dancing with a Torah or playing klezmer music.

    This is the art that Will Deutsch grew up around,...

  • The long and winding road: Parashat Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1–17:27)

    By Rabbi Daniel Bouskila

    October 9, 2013 | 3:24 pm

    The day God pronounced two simple words — lech lecha — Abraham and Sarah’s lives changed forever. God instructs Abraham to leave his homeland, his birthplace and his father’s home, “to the land that I will show you, and there I will make of you a great nation” (Genesis 12:1-2)....

  • Each day is a choice: Parashat Bereshit (Genesis 1:1-6:8)

    September 24, 2013 | 3:14 pm

    Only a couple of weeks ago, we were all feeling the holiness of Yom Kippur. By the end of the day of fasting, beautiful music, insightful teachings and prayers that deepened our self-awareness, we were remembering the real priorities in life. We had committed — to ourselves and God...

  • Family problems? Turn to Genesis

    By Dennis Prager

    September 24, 2013 | 10:59 am

    If you have family problems, there is a book that can provide a good deal of consolation. That book, you might be surprised to learn, is the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Torah.

    Genesis makes it abundantly clear that you are not alone, that what we now call dysfunctional...

  • Funding a Jewish future

    September 12, 2013 | 1:12 pm

    When Allen Alevy was 12 years old, he was called to the Torah for the first time. Although he hadn’t yet had a bar mitzvah, his maternal grandfather’s Orthodox synagogue was one man shy of a minyan

    Alevy, who attended morning services regularly, recalls feeling so honored that...

  • Chanting Torah for mom

    September 3, 2013 | 11:17 am

    “But what are you chanting for?” the woman cutting my hair wanted to know. She didn’t mean the glory of God or even my own spiritual well-being. It turned out she had once belonged to a 1970s church that chanted for things like shoes and better jobs. But when I am standing on the...

  • Torah hidden in Polish monastery is returned

    August 29, 2013 | 11:43 am

    A Torah scroll that has been hidden in a Tuchow monastery since 1942 was returned to the synagogue in Dabrowa Tarnowska in southern Poland.

    The Torah was returned earlier this month but reported for the first time on Aug. 24.

    It had been brought to the monastery in Tuchow,...

  • Returning with God: Parashat Nitzavim-Vayelech (Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30)

    August 28, 2013 | 4:44 pm

    Outside of Baltimore, smooth country roads swept like rivers between banks of undulating forest. As my wife and I coasted past rolling hills of green, we had the impression of driving over waves. Red barns and silver silos stood watch atop billowing crests while small ponds and...

  • High Holy Days: Eating Holy

    By David Suissa

    August 28, 2013 | 1:58 pm

    Here in Pico-Robertson, we’re bracing ourselves for the annual onslaught of kosher calories known as the Holy Month.

    Some people think that this time of year calls for only a few big meals. Not quite. If you’re a stickler for tradition, the actual number of Thanksgiving-level...

  • Unorthodox venues for High Holy Days services

    August 22, 2013 | 11:53 am

    The question “Where are you going for services?” is a mainstay among Jews around this time of year. Numerous congregations that ordinarily perform Shabbat services at their own locale often need to find larger, and more spacious, nontraditional venues — often churches, theaters or...

  • Shabbat with a side of Pastrami

    August 22, 2013 | 9:59 am

    As twilight approached on yet another gorgeous Southern California day, a cantor led a service bursting with guitar and dance. The room was packed with daveners, and kids circled a table, the youngest ones carrying Torah scrolls. 

    While this might be de rigueur at many synagogues...

  • Crossing over: Parashat Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8)

    By Rabbi Anne Brener

    August 22, 2013 | 9:56 am

    “When you enter the land that YHVH, your God, is giving you as a heritage …” (Deuteronomy 26:1).

    Parashat Ki Tavo comes with the full moon of Elul, the last month of the Hebrew year. Moses addresses the gathered people, Ivrim (Hebrew people), on the Plains of Moab as they are...

  • Love in the time of Elul

    By David Suissa

    August 21, 2013 | 12:37 pm

    I confess there’s something that’s always bothered me about this time of year, when we put such a big emphasis on reflecting on our mistakes. Why only now? Isn’t this something we should be doing all year? As a community, we certainly do plenty of it, through the very act of...

  • Struck by lightning at camp, Ethan Kadish battling catastrophic injury

    August 20, 2013 | 10:53 am

    On Saturday, two weeks after Ethan Kadish’s 13th birthday, the members of his family will gather around a Torah scroll in the chapel of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for a small ceremony marking his entrance into adulthood.

    This was not the bar mitzvah that Scott and Alexia...

  • Our rightful place: Parashat Ki Teitze (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19)

    By Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

    August 14, 2013 | 2:04 pm

    “If you should see your friend’s ox or sheep straying, don’t ignore them. Instead return them to your friend. But if your friend is not close by, or you don’t know the owner, bring it to your home and hold onto it until the owner finds you, and then return it to them” (Deuteronomy...

  • The Torah and child sexual abuse

    August 14, 2013 | 11:30 am

    Everything we build and teach our children, all our investments and dedication to good, all our moral standards, our entire education system, can be wiped out in one fell swoop when we or our children are violated.

    The first of all ethical and Torah axioms must be stated at the...

  • When ‘just be good’ isn’t enough

    August 7, 2013 | 2:02 pm

    “Why all these values, rabbi?” preteen Josh asked. “Can’t you just say we should be good people?” Often it is the most basic questions that set me thinking, and Josh’s query sure did. 

    My wife, Michelle November, and I are at Camp Newman, a Reform Jewish summer camp in Santa...

  • Glatt or not? Parashat Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17)

    By Rabbi Dov Fischer

    August 1, 2013 | 11:33 am

    The Torah says that the laws of kashrut separate us from the nations and make us a holy people by precluding us from eating detestable things (Deuteronomy 14:2-3, 21). Inasmuch as kashrut is a defining aspect of Judaism and the Jewish people, it seems worthwhile to look a bit more...

  • Ethics of Jewish education

    July 9, 2013 | 10:21 am

    It is well known that at a bar or bat mitzvah, the parents say the blessing, "Blessed is he who has now freed me from responsibility for this child." At first glance, this looks to be a very awkward thing to say to a 12- or 13-year old child, that we want to rid ourselves of our...

  • Mural sings a farewell song for cantor

    July 2, 2013 | 12:10 pm

    It is not uncommon for a synagogue to honor a cantor who leaves the congregation. Torahs and plaques adorn the halls of temples around the world paying homage to the influential people who have served them. 

    But the members at Temple Isaiah in West Los Angeles wanted to do...

  • Station to station: Parashat Matot-Masei (Numbers 30:2-36:13)

    July 2, 2013 | 12:06 pm

    We conclude the reading of Bamidbar (Numbers) this week. Over the course of the book, the children of Israel spend approximately 40 years in the desert, camping in 42 different places, each of which is mentioned in Masei, the second of this week’s two parshiyot. Somewhat...

  • Melding Together Snakes, Gangs and Torah

    By Lia Mandelbaum

    July 2, 2013 | 10:18 am

    As a social worker, community organizer and social justice advocate, I recently felt drawn to get involved in some community building for an area of Central LA that has a very high population of gang members.  For the sake of developing awareness and increasing safety measures, I...

  • Finding Light Amidst Darkness - D’var Torah Pinchas

    By Rabbi John Rosove

    June 28, 2013 | 6:29 am

    How to read the story of Pinchas, a shatteringly brutal tale of love and violence? That is the question in this week’s Torah portion, especially for the modern Jew?

    The story begins this way:

    “Now YHVH spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Pinchas, son of Elazar son of Aaron the priest, has...

  • Knocking

    By Michelle Azar

    June 27, 2013 | 1:22 pm

    We were about half way through class Tuesday night, when I heard a light knock at the door of our studio. To be clear, our studio also serves as a meeting room, sometimes a storage room, and weekly as a house of worship to the Orthodox congregation who rents space at Temple...

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