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BY: CHRIS HARRISON for ReformJudaism.org
Although we associate prayer with liturgy that our rabbis and sages developed over the centuries, the act of unscripted prayer is equally important and authentic to the Jewish experience.
Hitbodedut (self-isolation), a style of prayer first popularized by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, is the act of open, spontaneous, and direct communication with God, and is accessible to all, regardless of how deeply one is engaged in Judaism.
And what does chosenness mean anyway?
The idea that the Jews are the “chosen people” and have a special relationship with God is ubiquitous in Jewish sources. However, the nature of this relationship is not without complication and ambiguity.
On Simchat Torah we rejoice with the Torah. We celebrate the joy of being a Jew—the joy of a life defined by and permeated with the divine wisdom and will communicated to us at Mount Sinai.
But where is the Torah?
Where is the all-embracing wisdom of the Five Books of Moses, the inspiration of the Prophets, the music of the Psalms? Where is the brilliance of the Talmud, the guidance of the Shulchan Aruch, the mystique of the Kabbalistic writings?
By Jeffrey F. Taffet for Tablet Magazine
How a liberal mayor learned to embrace Jews’ international and cultural concerns to court their vote, and changed New York City politics
On the eve of the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot, with the 2017 New York City mayoral contest already in full swing, it is instructive to reflect on the impact that a similar coincidence had on a mayor’s race nearly 50 years ago, and on the nature and influence of the solidly Democratic yet independent-minded Jewish political base that proved decisive in that election. In 1969, New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay needed Jewish voters to win his reelection bid. But in the months before the election, survey and anecdotal evidence suggested that Jewish support at the polls would not be forthcoming. Many Jews had come to believe that Lindsay had not been effective and, more importantly, that he had little interest in supporting their particular interests.
This article is featured in Jvillage Network's Sukkot & Simchat Torah Guide. For more articles, recipes, crafts, and ideas, visit here.
By Adam Rosen for Tablet Magazine
After reading Ecclesiastes, I realized Sukkot is the perfect holiday for a spiritual skeptic like me
When Sukkot begins this week, I’ll visit a sukkah. For many Jews, this is simply an ordinary part of the holiday every year. But for me, it will be the first time I’ve been in a sukkah in more than 20 years.
I’m not really much of a believer. I don’t know if I technically qualify as an agnostic or atheist or heretic; I like “skeptic.” Aside from the occasional last-minute trip to synagogue on a high holiday, I gave up strictly observing Jewish holidays many years ago. But a recent experience I had with one of the books of the Bible has me rethinking my lack of interest in them.
In fact, Sukkot seems like the perfect opportunity to reconnect with my past and find meaning in a Jewish holiday—because it’s the perfect holiday for skeptics.
Why Does the Jewish Calendar Change Every Year?
How does Chrismukkah even happen?
Why do Jewish holidays move around on the calendar? Why do we have Chanukah sometimes on Thanksgiving? Find some answers and learn more about how the Jewish calendar works in this video featuring Joshua Mallett.
The Hebrew calendar, or the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar where as the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar. The Jewish calendar is synced to the moon so the first day of the month is a new moon and the 15th day of the month is a full moon.
This article is featured in Jvillage Network's High Holiday Guide. For more articles, recipes, crafts, and ideas, visit here.
By Barbara Mendes for Jewess Mag
Where in the Torah do we learn about the Jewish High Holidays?
In Sefer Vayikra, (the Book of Leviticus), in Parashat Emor! G-d tells Moses to tell the Children of Israel: “These are the Holidays of G-d!”
For a spiritual, visual experience, continue reading.
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