Often, peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians have gotten stuck on the status of Jerusalem. Debates over the future of this holy city are often informed by deeply held views of history, religion, and politics. We are left wondering whether or not a compromise can be made that will take into account the political desires of both Israelis and Palestinians and safeguard the freedom to for people of all faiths to visit their holy sites.
For millennia, Jerusalem has been a focal point for Jewish life. At Passover seders...Read More
I had always thought of Jewish cemeteries as solemn places – but that was before going to a hilloula (festivity) 30 years ago in the Moroccan town of Ouazzane on Lag BaOmer, the Jewish holiday that falls on the 33rd day between Pesach and Shavuot.
In the town’s Jewish cemetery, more than a thousand Jewish pilgrims from inside Morocco and abroad pitched tents around the tomb of the venerated Jerusalem-born...Read More
One of the most challenging parts of adulthood is the realization and acceptance that many of your friends, family members, and colleagues will make different decisions than you. From who to vote for, to where to live, to how they express their Judaism, to if and when they start a family, we are often more different than we think when it comes to how we want to live our lives.
This is especially hard in the contemporary social media age, where you can see an up-to-the-minute documentation of what other people are doing. It’s so easy to compare yourself to other people and think, “I...Read More
Growing up in an active Jewish community in America, I learned about Lag BaOmer as “a bonfire holiday.” As a typical Hebrew school kid, my reaction was “Great! Who doesn’t love s’mores?!”
It wasn’t until some years later, however – once I’d moved to Israel – that I truly came to understand the reasons we celebrate Lag BaOmer, the 33rd day of the period from Passover to Shavuot during which...Read More
I’m not going to lie: Walking into that first Introduction to Judaism class, I was nervous.
For the last five years – since falling for the love of my life, a beautiful Jewish girl named Felicia – I’d become increasingly immersed in Jewish culture, attending High Holiday services with her family, exchanging Hanukkah gifts, reading books on Judaism, and consulting “Rabbi Google.”
Still, I felt like an outsider – self-conscious...Read More