If it’s possible to have a favorite Biblical entity, mine is definitely Job. To me, Job is a particularly virtuous Everyman. He is living his life, loving G’d, and just a generally happy guy. Next thing he knows, the G’d he loves and trusts enters into a wager with none other than Satan. The wager? That even when Satan torments Job, Job will not renounce the L’rd. Continue reading
You want to talk Torah at Shabbat dinner but you’re not sure where to start? The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) has a site with everything you need to get you started and keep you going. Family Shabbat Table Talk has all the portions with comments, possible questions, and materials for additional study. (On their site, click on the name of the book of the Torah in the sidebar on the left to see the portions.) It’s an easy way to get you started.
The site says, “For each week, Family Shabbat Table Talk includes: 1] the title of the parasha and a citation so that you may find the full text in your own copy of the Torah; 2] a couple of sentences about the theme for the sefer; 3] an excerpt from the Torah text that will be the focus of discussion; 4] a short d’rash (teaching) on the text; 5] two or three questions each for children ages 3-5 and children ages 6-8; and 6] a suggestion for deeper study geared toward sophisticated learners and those who wish to spend more time on the topic.”
There are also tips for leading the discussion each week.
I’ve used this with my own children. At first it seemed a bit awkward, but they soon got the idea that we would be talking about Torah at dinner. Once they took to it, it was fun. It was definitely worth the small amount of effort it took to get it all started.
Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines a function as “the normal or characteristic action of anything.” They list several definitions for religion. For our purposes we’ll use the second definition. It states, “religion is any specific system of belief and worship, often involving a code of ethics and a philosophy.” You’ll note that this definition does not include a belief in a creator, ruler, or Divine Being. This is because for some of us, that is not a function of religion. Wait! There’s more!
Passover is nearly here. I’m deep into my annual matzoh ball dread. No matter what I do, my matzoh balls are heavy as lead. I have these dreams of puffy clouds floating on the surface of my marvelous broth. I have the reality of matzoh balls that sink like rocks. I’m begging you. If you have some matzoh ball tips, please share with the rest of us – or at the very least with me!
For Shabbat this evening we’ll finalize our plans for our family seder. I want to make it special this year. The kids are all definitely old enough to have an opinion and lend a hand. I think it could be fun. I have a book, Jewish Holiday Style, to get us started. After that, I’m sure the kids will have some great ideas of their own.
Let’s face it. It’s difficult to peek at the Torah portion (Parashat) of the week if you have no idea what it is.
To solve this problem, this site will tell you when each portion is to be read!
Here’s to meaningful discussions.
Have you got the secret to fluffy matzoh balls? Please share here. Thanks!
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is hosting an afternoon dedicated to exploring ways in which the Jewish community can be an inviting place for interfaith couples and families. The event will include a variety of perspectives, news of initiatives at the local and national level, and a play about interfaith couples. Dr. Erica Brown, Scholar-in-Residence at the Federation, will lead a conversation on what the Jewish community can do to welcome interfaith families. Continue reading
So. I learned something new at the women’s seder. I learned that there is now an orange on many seder plates around the world. Why an orange? It’s sort of complicated but here’s the link to The Background to the Background of the Orange on the Seder Plate and a Ritual of Inclusion by Deborah Eisehnbach-Budner and Alex Borns-Weil. In case the whole Megillah is not for you at the moment, I offer the Cliff Notes version here:
Our story begins… “In 1984, a group of eight young feminists at Oberlin College created “A Women’s Haggadah.”” There were 200 women at the seder and they wanted to use language that included the voices of the women who had come before them in Judaism. Part of the inclusion they sought was inclusion for lesbians and gays. Continue reading
Thin skin and interfaith marriage do not make for a healthy combination. I know this because when I was first married, and then again when I was first converted, I’m pretty sure I was the Princess and the Pea of anything to do with interfaith life. I also know, given my personal history, I came by this honestly. But really. That wasn’t who I wanted to be. I’ve worked hard to appreciate that the things that seem insensitive to me are often parts of a religion that does not actively seek converts, working to find a way to integrate people from a variety of backgrounds into their religious life. At this point, I get it that it’s not easy on either side. Continue reading
Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines a function as “the normal or characteristic action of anything.” They list several definitions for religion. For our purposes we’ll use the second definition. It states, “religion is any specific system of belief and worship, often involving a code of ethics and a philosophy.” You’ll note that this definition does not include a belief in a creator, ruler, or Divine Being. This is because for some of us, that is not a function of religion.
So what is the function of Judaism in your life? What are the normal characteristics? What purpose do we expect this religion to have in our lives? Is the function to give us a system of belief? Is it to give us a way to worship? Is it to give us a code of ethics and a philosophy, or a method of giving recognition to a creator, ruler, or Divine Being? For those of you who are not sure, let’s step back in time. Wait! There’s more!