As a spring 2016 participant in NFTY-EIE High School in Israel, I recently visited Majdanek, a concentration camp in Poland, with my classmates. Afterward, I wrote this piece - part poem and part essay - about what spoke to me there.I Will Never Forget Today
I want to forget today.
I want to forget that god-awful smell of the barracks, the gas chamber,
The creaks of the blood stained floor.
I want to forget the echoes of the screams that may never be silent.
I want to forget the moment of walking up to the ashes, the incomprehensible amount of...Read More
On Sunday, April 24, 2016 – the first day of chol hamo-eid (the intermediate days of Passover) in Israel – two gatherings a mere 400 meters from each other tell a dire modern tale of Jerusalem.
At the Western Wall, the Women of the Wall had planned to come together to conduct a first-ever, all-female priestly blessing, a tradition by which the male descendants of the ancient kohanim (priestly class) bless the community of Israel with words of peace. However, despite all the intentions to fill the prayer space of the Western Wall with women who yearned to fulfill this mitzvah, they...Read More
Whoever saves one life, it is as if he has saved the whole world. – Talmud
Passover is usually one of my favorite holidays. I love the ritual of preparing the house, the smell of the food, and the joyous atmosphere at the seder table.
But this year is different. Passover began only three days after the one-year anniversary of my father’s suicide.
My father was trapped in his own Egypt. The Hebrew word for Egypt, Mitzrayim, is defined as “narrow places or straits” – and that is where my father found himself. At 72 years old, he was in the midst of a deep depression...Read More
When you break the bread of affliction And the crumbs make a mess Pray for those with addiction And those who live with less.
When the matzah snaps in two or three Pause and acknowledge Those not free Our sisters and brothers who sacrifice for thee.
When the dry cracker smacks your lips And your tongue is dry Recall those who came to these shores by ship— Those walked, wandered, and sough to fly.
As you chew the bread of grief and sorrow And you feel the desert upon your tongue Hold close those who work for a better tomorrow, Who seek a better world for both old and...Read More
Rabbi Simeon J. Maslin, former president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and author of several books on Jewish practices, reveals why, of all our biblical luminaries, it is Elijah who visits our homes on Passover, and why we welcome the prophet to our seder table with his own dedicated cup of wine.
ReformJudaism.org: What do we know about Elijah the prophet from our sacred literature?
Rabbi Simeon J. Maslin: Elijah is introduced to us in chapter 17 of the book of I Kings as a Tishbite, Gileadite, and prophet – but his prophetic status differs from that of...Read More
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