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When the words of liturgy are taken too literally, the sacred power of prayer is often lost. In his latest book, Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman offers a way worshipers can transcend the limitations imposed by language. You recently published Volume Six of “Prayers of Awe,” your series on the High Holidays. Naming God: Avinu Malkeinu, Our Father Our King, from Jewish Lights Publishing, explores the problems we have in naming God. What are the problems and why did you choose Avinu Malkeinu to...

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In June, I saw a post in a local Facebook group that intrigued me: "Stop! Take a break! Join us for Group Meditation in the City."

With this notice, a young couple, Hadas and Netanel Cohen, invited Nahariyanis  (residents of Nahariya, Israel, where I live) to join them on a come-as-you-please basis for free group meditation twice a week during the summer — once to start the week and a second time to end it and start the weekend. I’d wanted to try meditation for a...

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          Remember, blot out Memory of Amalek Oxymoronic           This week's portion concludes with a reminder of what Amalek did to the people during the desert wandering, and seemingly contradictory commandments to both "remember what Amalek did" and to "blot out the memory of Amalek".   Deuteronomy 25:17-19 Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left Egypt - how, undeterred by fear of God, he surprised you on the march, when you were famished and weary, and cut down all the stragglers in your rear. Therefore, when Adonai your God grants you safety from... Read More

“On Rosh HaShanah, the year’s decree is written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed, who will live and who will die…”

We hear these words each year in our High Holidays prayer book, and they fill our hearts with dread: Have I done what was right, or at least the best that I was able to do? Are my heart and mind where they should be? What if this year is all that there is?

I suspect that few of us can answer these questions without trepidation, but on Yom Kippur 10 years ago, they held extra meaning for me.

In August 2005, the world watched as Hurricane Katrina churned...

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There are pages even in my new machzor that I imagine stuck together, remnants of honey from my daughter’s sticky fingers, sacred fragments of words and stories memories and possibilities smudged one atop the other like sandcastles on a beach trying to describe a person’s life full of tiny specks and bold mysteries.

Pages, bound and stuck, like so much of life, sweet and stubborn, worn they help us gulp down the bitter with the delicious.

Tender we separate sticky pages and sticky hearts lest we tear them and smudge or erase or wreck words and worlds and loves that call us...

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