Prayers of Hope and Joy at the Conclusion of the Cycle

With sundown this evening, we begin the holy occasion of Shemini Atzeret/Simhat Torah. Some two-and-a-half millennia after the Torah decreed that Jews observe the “8th Day of Cessation” as the festive culmination of the annual cycle of the three Pilgrimage Festivals, the leaders of our tradition added the novel dimension of “Rejoicing with the Torah.” Though we usually think of the two […]

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Islamophobia and JFS in Kansas City’s Efforts to Resettle Syrian Refugees

One might not concur with everything that King Abdullah of Jordan has to say about Israel, but there’s no gainsaying that his kingdom is the least hostile regime in the Mideast towards the Jewish state.He has respected the peace treaty his father signed in 1994, and generally has stayed out of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Last night, 60 Minutes broadcast a recent interview […]

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The 30 Days of Elul

Happy Labor Day today! Yesterday was a signal day, as well, although within the framework of the Jewish calendar, rather than secular. Yesterday was the first day of the month of Elul, the final month on the Jewish calendar of years marking time since God’s creation of the world. Thirty days from now, a new Jewish year will have begun, and we […]

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The Temple Mount and the Meaning of Tisha b’Av

The Holy Temple in Jerusalem last stood 1,946 years ago. But it continues to figure large in Jewish consciousness. No fewer than three annual fast days recall its destruction; yesterday’s Fast of Tisha b’Av was the set finale. Central components of our liturgy recall the religious activities from the days when the central shrine stood; Musaf on Holy Days serves exactly that […]

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