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The standard religious school lesson teaches that we celebrate Hanukkah because although there was only enough oil in the Temple for one day, this tiny amount of oil burned for 8 days, and thus we celebrate by lighting candles for eight days. … more
One of the things I love about the Torah is the humanity of the people portrayed in it. We see believable emotions, ones that we recognize in ourselves, despite the age of the narrative.  For these last few parashiyot (Torah portions) … more
Sandwiched between the deaths of our first matriarch and our first patriarch, we witness the choreography of a dramatic, divinely directed love story between Isaac and Rebecca. How does this powerful connection come to be? What internal qualities or … more
One of the central and fundamental Jewish values is known as Hachnasat Orchim, (HO) meaning “Welcoming Guests.” This concept is accepted as one of the most essential mitzvot – commandments. As a matter of fact, our tradition … more
After Simchat Torah, we return to the very beginning of the Torah and once again have the opportunity to study all of our Genesis stories. This week’s Torah portion, Noach, is one of my favorites. I learned some lessons … more
There is a particularly “Jewish way” of reading the Bible that is notably different from the way that other religious traditions read their sacred texts. Because Judaism sees Torah as being divinely gifted to us, there is an assumption that … more
NEW YORK (JTA) — You might not know it, but Shemini Atzeret is the pinnacle of the High Holy Days season. Not Rosh Hashanah, when our fates for the year are traditionally written, nor Yom Kippur, when they are sealed. Shemini … more
This week has begun a new year for us, we are now observing Aseret Yemei Teshuvah – the 10 days of Teshuvah – and the Torah teaches us to remember the lesson of life. God commands us to “choose life.” (Deuteronomy 30:19) … more
LOS ANGELES (JTA) – On Yom Kippur, as we focus on our personal faults, how do we acknowledge those shortcomings that are more communal? In synagogue, reciting line by line the Al Chet prayer, seeking atonement for the areas of our … more
TESHUVAH – this is the word of the season. Usually, this popular Hebrew word is translated as “repentance.” In fact, the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are popularly referred to as the aseret y’mei teshuvah, the 10 days … more
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