Holidays and Holy Days

Headshot of Elliot Dorff
by Rabbi Elliot Dorff, PhD
posted on September 15, 2023
For 24 years, I officiated at Rosh Hashanah services at several synagogues.  Some of the synagogues put together books of readings to augment the Rosh Hashanah liturgy by focusing on a variety of themes of the holy day in contemporary ways.  Many of the readings were good, but one has stuck in my head ever since the first time I read it.  I do not know who wrote it, but it may well have been Rabbi Jack Riemer, who wrote a number of poignant additional readings for this time of the Jewish year. Here are the lines that I want to quote and explore: Read more...

Today We Birth a World

Headshot of Rabbi Aryeh Cohen
by Rabbi Aryeh Cohen
posted on September 25, 2022
Arthur: I am your king! Woman:  Well I didn't vote for you! Arthur: You don't vote for kings! Woman:  Well 'ow'd you become king then? (holy music up) Arthur: The Lady of the Lake-- her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur.  THAT is why I am your king! Read more...

Today the World was Birthed

Headshot of Gail Labovitz
by Rabbi Gail Labovitz, PhD
posted on September 6, 2021
On what day was the world created? The answer is not as obvious as we might like to think. We are told in Exodus 12:2 that Nissan is the first month. And yet we also refer to the first of Tishrei as Rosh haShanah, the beginning of the year. Read more...

"We Can Learn From Our Trials"

Rabbi Bradley Artson
by Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
posted on September 18, 2020
How life teaches us! We read books and attend lectures and we think we are ready for what life brings. Armed with our learning, we venture into the world only to discover that the formulas of the brain do not help bind the wounds of the heart. Read more...

Hearing the Voice of God in the Sacrifice of Isaac

Rabbi Bradley Artson
by Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
posted on September 4, 2018
Every year, during the Rosh Ha-Shanah services, we confront one of the Torah’s most terrifying texts. What are we to make of the Akedah, the sacrifice of Isaac, in which the father of our people is called to murder his son as an act of religious obedience?  What are we to make of a test in which killing a beloved child constitutes success and refusing entails ultimate ontological failure?  What are we to do with such a terrible story?  Read more...