Yom Kippur Yizkor: Who Is God?

The story is told about Yehuda Leib Ayger, before he became a great rebbe.  He was born into an illustrious family.  His father and grandfather were renowned scholars.  His family were Mitnagdim, “opponents,” who took a firm stance against the growing phenomenon of Hasidism.  But shortly after becoming Bar Mitzvah, Yehuda Leib expressed a desire to study in Kotzk, with the Kotzker […]

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Kol Nidre 2010: The Power of Words

Kol Nidre is not a prayer.  It is a statement, a formula for the annulment of vows.  Its provenance – when it was written and why – is unknown.  More than likely, it emanated from someone faced with a choice between converting to another religion or an even worse alternative.  Perhaps the author was someone among the conversos of 13th and 14th […]

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Rosh Hashanah 2010: A New Year of Faith

Fifteen Pesachs ago, I was sitting around the Seder table with my extended family – my wife and two young sons, my brother and sister and their respective spouses and young children, and my parents of blessed memory. We’re having a discussion about freedom, what it means to be free, whether there are things in our lives to which we feel enslaved. […]

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A Vote for Cordoba House: A Mosque at Ground Zero?

Should a mosque be built in the immediate vicinity of Ground Zero? A very vocal organized opposition argues no, absolutely not.  And they’ve caught the media’s eye, grabbing headlines, airtime on national networks, and links on major home pages for the better part of a month.  I don’t know about you, but it sure seemed to me that all the fuss might […]

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