Category Archive for "Posts"

Beginnings, Endings & Simchat Torah

Everything has a beginning and an end. Including Simchat Torah, although not in that order. The festival of Simchat Torah (Rejoicing in the Torah), which falls this year on October 1st [October 2nd for traditional Jews outside Israel], marks the end of the annual cycle of Torah readings.  It...

The Month of Elul

This Saturday evening is the start of Elul, the month leading up to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It is a month of reflection and repentance, when we perform a cheshbon hanefesh (accounting of the soul) and examine our deeds over the past year. During the month of Elul,...

What’s YOUR Family’s Jewish History?

Do you know your family’s Jewish history? Here is mine, gleaned almost fully from a single conversation with my mother…   Both of my parents’ families hail from various regions of Eastern Europe, and all of my great-great-grandparents were likely old world Orthodox. My parents were both raised in...

Turn the Binoculars Around: A Lesson in Self-Confidence

This week is my Bat Mitzvah portion and it contains a lesson in self-confidence! In Parshat Shelach L’cha, the Jewish people send a reconnaissance team of 12 spies into Israel, in preparation for entering the land. When the spies return, they report that “…the inhabitants are powerful….  We cannot...

Is Shavuot a Made-Up Holiday? Hint: No

Many secular Jews don’t know much about the festival of Shavuot. Years ago, I even had a congregant refer to it as ‘one of those made-up holidays’! Well, I can assure you Shavuot is not a made-up holiday, and if you’d like to learn a bit about it, this...

The Torah is Not a Book, But an Inheritance

The festival of Shavuot, which begins this weekend, commemorates the spring harvest and the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai seven weeks after the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. It is when God and the people of Israel entered into a metaphorical marriage, or covenant. It is what we...

Count Your Blessings ~ Count the Omer

Be grateful. Count your blessings. Treat others well. Make every day count. Be kind. Take a full accounting of yourself. Be generous. Use gentle speech. Be compassionate. Remind yourself how to be a better person. Count the Omer… We are now in the period between Passover and Shavuot, one...

How Do I Count the Omer?

HOW do I Count the Omer? 1. Some begin with a meditation that states one’s intention to fulfill the commandment. This serves to focus the individual on the task at hand and to remind him/her/them of the biblical basis of the commandment: “Behold, I am ready and prepared to...

Is Passover 7 Days or 8 Days?

Passover begins March 30th with four questions, and ends with a fifth… Why is April 6th different from all other Passover nights? Answer: Because for some Jews April 6th is the eighth night of the holiday, and for other Jews Passover is over and pizza is on the menu!...

Free Jewish Books for Kids

It’s February, and what better than to put on warm, soft jammies and curl up with a good book? For those who have young children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or friends, you should know about an amazing organization called PJ Library. PJ Library selects and sends free, award-winning books that...