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...

Labor Day: An Unexpected Jewish Holiday

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by Rabbi Ben Richards
posted on September 3, 2021
My friend and I used to play a game we called “what secular date is the Jewish holiday on this year.” A holiday would be mentioned and we’d each take our guesses. Purim, Passover, Shavuot, etc. What a surprise it was to me when my friend mentioned Labor Day. “Labor Day?! That’s not a Jewish holiday.” I protested. “Of course it is!” my friend responded. “It’s probably the most Jewish holiday there is! Maybe the one most worth celebrating.” Read more...

Sacred Play-Acting

Headshot of Gail Labovitz
by Rabbi Gail Labovitz, PhD
posted on July 15, 2021
Like a number of Conservative Jews, I first learned the “script” of Tisha B’Av at summer camp (in my case, Ramah Poconos). After a pre-fast meal and as the sun began to set, we filed into the Beit Am Gadol (meaning, fairly literally: the Large Communal Space). At the front, by the stage which usually hosted camp plays, a choir of staff, and perhaps campers from older groups, sang mournful Hebrew songs as everyone gathered. The lights in the room were turned down, and instead the vast, hanger-like space was lit with candles. Read more...

The Theological Basis for Pluralism

Headshot of Elliot Dorff
by Rabbi Elliot Dorff, PhD
posted on July 2, 2021
This week, beloved teacher and university rector Rabbi Elliot Dorff celebrates his 50th anniversary at AJU. For more information on Rabbi Dorff's role and mission, please read the article published in the Jewish Journal by clicking here.  Over the past five decades, Rabbi Dorff's teachings on ethics, law, theology and interfaith work have impacted Jewish and American communities nationwide.  Read more...

The Three Weeks

Photo of Pinchas Giller
by Rabbi Pinchas Giller
posted on June 24, 2021
On the seventeenth of Tammuz the tablets were broken by Moses when he saw that the Jews had made the golden calf; the daily offering was nullified by the Roman authorities and was never sacrificed again; the city walls of Jerusalem were breached; the general Apostemos (probably Antiochus Epiphanes) publicly burned a Torah scroll; and Manasseh placed an idol in the Sanctuary. (Ta’anit 26a-b). Read more...