Archive | Jewish Religion

Don’t say that Hebrew word!

Erik Ross As noted in my last post, Christians are in the midst of Lent — the annual 40-day season of penance in preparation for Easter. We focus on prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. In Poland as in Jerusalem, we meditate with special attention on the mystery and the scandal of the Cross. In song and […]

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Weekly Torah portion: Vayakhel

By Rabbi Yaakov Marks SAN DIEGO — Moshe faced a monumental and daunting task: the building of the Mishkan (the portable tabernacle). Enormous amounts of gold, silver, and bronze had to be procured and fashioned. Many varieties of dyed wool, linen, goat hair and ram skins needed to be processed according to complicated and intricate […]

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“Yes, call me a Jew”

Historic Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia vandalized This new wave of anti-Semitism, delivered via bomb threats, cemetery vandalisms, swastika desecrations, and specific acts of violence, reawakens an old and bittersweet mantra in every Jewish soul: we are as vulnerable as we are enduring. I remember: somebody once wrote me a nasty letter after something I circulated […]

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StandWithUs publishes modern Israel Haggadah

LOS ANGELES (Press Release) — — A new Passover Haggadah is  being distributed by StandWithUs, an international Israel education organization, that emphasizes not only the themes of slavery and freedom but also underscores Jews’ 3,000-year-long connection to their ancestral homeland, Israel. The Haggadah, From Ancient Egypt to Modern Israel, is the brainchild of StandWithUs co-founder and COO, Jerry Rothstein. “According to a […]

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Prague synagogue gets two new Torah scrolls

Two new Torah scrolls donated to Prague’s Great Synagogue were inaugurated on Sunday during a festive ceremony. This is the first time since World War II that the Prague Jewish community received new Torah scrolls. During the Holocaust, Prague’s large Jewish community was almost completely wiped out: Prior to World War II, 125,000 Jews lived […]

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When the White House envoy made a minyan with the Prime Minister

White House special envoy Jason Greenblatt met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for three hours Thursday evening, the second time the two had face-to-face talks since Greenblatt arrived in Israel for a fact-finding mission earlier this week. Greenblatt also met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin this week, and traveled to Ramallah for talks with Palestinian […]

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Weekly Torah portion: Ki Sissa

What could be wrong? It’s kosher! By Rabbi Yaakov Marks SAN DIEGO –“They rose early in the morning and they offered burnt offerings, then they offered peace offerings. Then the nation sat down to eat and drink and performed idol worship.” (Exodus 32:6) Worship a golden calf?! How could such a thing happen? After witnessing […]

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Where is the kippah? There is an answer

Commentators on social media wondered why White House special envoy Jason Greenblat did not wear a kippah (a Jewish skullcap) during his meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Sunday. Orthodox Jewish men traditionally wear kippot. Greenblat studied at the Har Etzion yeshiva and attended Yeshiva University. He is a successful and respected lawyer and lives […]

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Trudeau wishes Jews a happy Purim

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday said, “Tomorrow at sunset, Jewish communities in Canada and around the world will join together to celebrate Purim. “Purim is a joyous holiday where loved ones wear costumes, exchange gifts, give to charity, and partake in traditional feasts. “During this time, friends and family will come together to […]

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Leo Baeck and Jewish liberalism

By Dorothea Shefer-Vanson MEVASSERET ZION, Israel — Tucked away in a quiet Jerusalem side-street is the Leo Baeck Institute, where activities associated with the man himself and various aspects of his heritage are held, its official purpose being ‘the study of German and Central European Jewry.’ Sister institutes are to be found in cities elsewhere […]

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Weekly Torah portion: Tetzaveh

By Rabbi Yaakov Marks SAN DIEGO –The Mishkan (the portable Tabernacle) was built to be a place where G-d could dwell, presenting a more concentrated manifestation of Himself than He emanated to the rest of the world. It was the place where the people could go, with the proper preparation, to communicate with G-d with […]

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‘Who’ are you wearing at the Purim party?

  By Joel H. Cohen NEW YORK — There may be more pressing reasons for concern out there, but right now we’re grappling with what to wear Purim night. If you think of the Megillah-reading as the Academy Awards, then you can logically regard the stairs or the pathway leading to the shul as the […]

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Five megillot are examined in ‘Textual Tapestries’

Textual Tapestries: Explorations of the Five Megillot by Gabriel H Cohn (Translated from the Hebrew by David Strauss), Maggid Books, New Milford, CT, © 2016, ISBN 978-1-59264-398-1, p. 433, $29.95 By Fred Reiss, Ed.D. WINCHESTER, California – The Tanakh, or Hebrew Bible, is divided into three broad sections: Torah, the Five Books of Moses; Nevi’im, the prophets; […]

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Cong. B’nai Tikvah welcomes Muslims to Shabbat services

Attendance was inspired by cemetery desecration Azra Baig. Photo via South Brunswick Board of Education Rabbi Robert Wolkoff felt “supported and encouraged” by the presence of 50 Muslim guests at Shabbat services in February. The toppling of 170 gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in Missouri inspired a Muslim woman in Middlesex County to do something […]

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