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In celebrating the Jewish liturgical year and holiday cycle, we relive significant occasions in the tale of the Jewish people. The Hasidic masters emphasize that each festival highlights a particular spiritual quality, some essential element of life...
Even in these festive moments, many people express insecurity regarding the quality of their own believing. On Easter Sunday no less than other days of the year, many fear that their own faith is inadequate. They worry that they don’t understand...
The Torah did everything possible, short of prohibiting the consumption of meat, to make it very difficult to eat meat and to distance ourselves from death
Have you ever noticed that society allows fans to do things that, short of fandom, we would deem absolutely crazy?
On March 31, 2014, along with dozens of my colleagues, I shaved my head. Bald. Not just short. Bald. To paraphrase the babies from “Free to Be You and Me,” “Bald as a ping-pong ball.”
National Epitaph Day stands out amid the myriad of options in its simultaneous opportunity for solemn reflection and humor that defies the grave. Epitaphs provide an opportunity to have the last word, to exert one last bit of control, to imagine...
What does it feel like to live at the edge, on the margins of community? The Torah reading for this week, Tazria, seems to imply that it can be a very lonely experience. When someone from the Israelite community is found to have leprosy (“tzaraat...
This year some have given up Facebook for Lent. Others joined the “National Day of Unplugging” on March 7-8, putting away their phones, tablets and laptops for a 24-hour digital Sabbath designed to slow people down in an increasingly hectic world.
Is there one right way to mourn loss? Parashat Shemini records the death of Aaron’s two sons, and the varied reactions of his family.
Religion has a way of making people do extraordinary things to create peace and unity. It also, as we know well, has a destructive capacity to turn people against one another. It can make us grip our convictions so tightly that we choke out their...