Shabbat

Shabbat

I’ve always been taught that when the Jewish people read from the Torah, it is not a random passage. When a congregation on Long Island (like the one I attend!) celebrates Shabbat, they open their Torah to the same portion as a congregation celebrating Shabbat anyplace else. Think about it: The ability for Jews all over the world to be on the same page, almost literally (with a grace period for time zones), is a staggering accomplishment. This holds true for prayers, sermons, and songs, not just Torah.

My family recently attended a Friday night Shabbat service at a synagogue other...

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During last week's "hallway Kiddush" following Shabbat services, Marlene, a longtime member and regular at our congregation, handed me this short column by Rabbi David Wolpe that she'd clipped from The Jewish Week after reading my recent Ten Minutes of Torah essay. I had not seen Rabbi Wolpe's short piece about names, and I appreciated that she had saved it for me.

Later, toward the end of Torah study, Rabbi Jonathan Stein told the group that because he'll be retiring at the end of June, he's in the process of giving away the books in his library. He invited us to stop in to see...

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One Friday evening, something remarkable and beautiful happened at my congregation. I’d never seen it before, but I hope I’ll see it many times again.

That night, a Palestinian Muslim participated in our Shabbat evening service. He didn’t just speak; he sang. But he didn’t just sing; he sang in Arabic. And he didn’t just sing in Arabic; he sang our ancient Hebrew prayers in Arabic.

Alaa Ali is a popular singer and songwriter who lives in Ramallah, across the Green Line in the West Bank. His fans include countless Palestinians – and me. Alaa came to us with his friend...

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I walked to Jerusalem's Ben Yehuda Street toward the end of Shabbat, thinking that I was going to wait on a park bench until Shabbat ended and the stores opened, in order to try to buy a Spiderman kippah for our son. (I should've just bought one in Tzfat when I first saw them; I haven't been able to find one anywhere else!) I did stay on a park bench for quite a while, and waited until well after nightfall, and the kippah stores did not open, and finally I walked back to the Old City and treated myself to one last Jerusalem dinner (kibbeh, pita, and hummus, salatim, and a slushy, mint-...

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Pre-Shabbat in Jerusalem is digestion time. On Friday mornings in my neighborhood of Baka, the main avenue teems with voracious brunch-devourers eager to squish a weekend's worth of consumption into one extended meal. As Shabbat preparations commence and stores rush to fulfill orders for 30 hours of commercial hiatus (shops close here!), unemployed students like me seize the moment to click out of Morfix1 and into Israel. Digestion for me is 25 percent brunch and 75 percent psychology. While I scoop labne (Israeli yogurt) onto scrambled eggs and conquer the ziggurat of cucumbers and...

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Inside Leadership, the blog at URJ.org, is a source for Reform Jewish leaders to get the latest news and though-provoking articles about Jewish communal life.