“Showing up,” Woody Allen once noted is “80 percent of life.” Fair enough, but what about the other 20 percent? When it comes to religious ritual, for instance, because we don’t always have readily available roadmaps for responding to new or unanticipated questions about Jewish observance, sometimes just showing up is not enough.
What would you do, say, if you found yourself in the Arctic region, bereft of distinctions between day and night and did not know when to celebrate Shabbat or a holiday? Or when should you observe a holy day if you found yourself stuck on a plane crossing...Read More
I’ve attended countless bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies throughout the years, including those of family members, my children’s classmates, and adult b’nai mitzvah, for men and women who never had a bar or bat mitzvah growing up.
My daughter and I recently attended the second bar mitzvah of a member of our synagogue who just turned 83 years old. The custom of a second bar mitzvah, which has begun to become popular, is based on the reading of Psalm 90:10, which says that 70 years is the expected lifespan of most humans. Reaching age 70, then, can be considered a new start...Read More
For many Jews who visit Israel, the quintessential Israel experience is a trip to the Western Wall, the surviving fragment of the ancient Second Temple. At the Wall, the transcendent connection to thousands of years of Jewish history is palpable.
Millions of people visit the Wall every year for a deep and meaningful spiritual experience, spending time carefully writing and rewriting notes placed carefully in cracks of the ancient bricks, their private messages to the Holy One.
But for many Jews, too, visiting the Western Wall marks the first and maybe only time in their...Read More
I remember the day I first entered the Temple Sinai sanctuary. At once impressed by its amphitheater-like magnificence, complete with dome ceiling and stained-glass windows, I was, at the same time, totally overwhelmed by the sizable throng of adults along with their noisy, rambunctious children attempting to settle in the pews waiting for religious school orientation to begin.
With my 7-year-old son David beside me, I maneuvered my power wheelchair through the human “sea of reeds” and found an empty spot on the aisle where David could sit and I could park alongside him, leaving...Read More
For 27 years, women have attempted to pray openly at the Wall, in efforts organized by Women of the Wall. Today, an extraordinary development has come about.
This morning, the Israeli cabinet approved the creation of an enhanced egalitarian prayer space at the Wall, which, for the first time, will be under the authority of non-Orthodox leadership. This is the most significant development in the nearly generation-long campaign by Women of the Wall and their allies for religious equality at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
The government’s proposal calls for a significant...Read More
Submit a blog post
Share your voice: ReformJudaism.org accepts submissions to the blog for consideration.