Genesis 22:1-24, the story of God testing Abraham by instructing him to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah, is known as the Akedah. We read this story on Rosh HaShanah, but it is also part of the Torah portion of Vayeira, which we read this Shabbat. This original poem is based on the Akedah.
Walk with me, he said. Walk with me in the quiet of the mountain and we will find God.
How will we know when we find God?
God smells like rope and iron- Sharp, Like blood, said my father. And God sounds like the absence of rain, Like dust and heat That ripples across this narrow...Read More
Last Shabbat, I fell asleep to the voice of Julie Silver singing the words “L’Dor V’Dor: From Generation to Generation” in my ear. I woke up to those same sounds on Saturday morning. The odd thing about it was that I was 3,000 miles away from Julie and hadn’t actually heard her voice for months – nor had I been to Shabbat services that evening and experienced any of the other wonderful contemporary musicians or their musical arrangements that often fill my heart and soul and keep the music on repeat in my brain.
What had I done on Friday night to lead to hearing Julie’s voice,...Read More
Like many Massachusetts families, the Boston Marathon is very much part of my family’s lives. Every year we gather to watch, volunteer, or run, as my wife and I did in 2008. Drawing thousands of diverse souls from all over the world, the event represents the best of American civil society.
This year, all that was shattered with the murderous blasts of two terrorists’ crazed cruelty. What you saw on television only begins to depict the horror of the tragedy. Scores of victims were maimed, families’ lives forever changed. Amidst the suffering and chaos, people rose to the occasion...Read More
One of the most distinctive dimensions of the High Holy Days in our tradition is that among the major observances of the Jewish calendar, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are experienced primarily in the synagogue. Whereas most of our festivals are celebrated mainly in the home, with family gatherings and ritual ceremonies, these "Days of Awe" are shared in the temple, as a congregation, through the worship service. Consequently, for most of us, the prayer book takes on the central role in our impressions and perceptions of this most sacred season of the year.
The development of the...Read More
Say what you will, but I prefer the Rosh HaShanah children's service to the adult one. It's a little under an hour, and it's lighter on the lengthy recitations of the full evening service. There's a lot of singing, the cantor plays guitar, and if your mind wanders from the core service, there are little thought exercises in the margin of the prayer book to keep you engaged: "Recall a time when something went wrong and then went right..."; "Remember a time when you felt that you were doing exactly what God wanted you to do."
These are interesting questions – for me, more interesting...Read More
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