The title of a recent JTA article asks these two questions:Why do Jews intermarry? Who wants to marry a Jew, anyway?
The answer to the first question has been studied extensively and, according to the article has much to do with assimilation, age at the time of marriage and, according to some, philo-Semitism. Personally, I believe there are as many reasons for intermarriage as there are intermarried Jews.
From my perspective, the answer to the second question seems to be much simpler: I want to marry a Jew. (OK, having been down the marriage path once, I’m not necessarily...Read More
“Camp helps us feel closer to God.” With this sentence, I opened my dialogue with the summer leadership staff of URJ Camp Newman, a Reform Jewish sleepaway camp, at our annual retreat. As it turns out, even some of our rabbinic students felt uneasy about this language and its placement within our opening conversation.
God-talk is scary for many of us. It is not common language, and many of us are simply not comfortable with the term “God.” We’re not alone in this discomfort, and in fact, the Jewish people have a long history of struggling with this concept – after all, the term “...Read More
I met him on my flight back to Boston from Atlanta. He was a Muslim student from Dubai, I was a Jewish student from the United States. We had come from very different places but were on our way to the same university.
As the flight took off, we started a conversation on the Sunni and Shiite conflict. By the end of our discussion, our conclusion was that both Judaism and Islam, although different in many ways, possess an interesting characteristic in common. Although all Jews are basically of the same “tribe,” there are many divides within the community – and it is the same in the...Read More
This year at our Passover seder, I experienced something deeply powerful which I had not felt in the context of Passover before. We spend much of our seder going around the table, each reading a section from the Haggadah out loud. Generally, our seder is populated partially by adults and partially by very young children, so we move from adult to adult, skipping over the smaller folks at our table. But this year, when my husband finished reading his part, our kindergarten-age son said he'd like to read.
Suddenly, space and time expanded for me, though I assume it continued at a...Read More
Food plays a significant role in the history of the Jewish people, from why we eat matzah at Passover to the reasoning behind fried foods at Hanukkah. At Rosh HaShanah, an apple dipped in honey represents a sweet new year, and there are numerous reasons for eating dairy during Shavuot. (Some believe it relates to our dietary laws and the Torah as well as God’s promise in Exodus 3:8 to deliver the Jewish people unto a land “flowing with milk and honey.”)
At my synagogue, food is essential in nearly everything we do, including as tikkun olam, the repair of our world. In the lobby...Read More
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