Tag Archives: Judaism

Shabbat Jan 18

Shabbat Candles

We have found a way of life that works.
We have 3300 years of testing under every possible social, economic, political and geographical condition to prove that.
Yes, you could do it yourself—test all the possible styles of life, make comparisons and come to your own conclusions. But what a waste of precious time it will be, for yourself and for the world that could be benefiting from you. After all, how much life will you have left after reaching your conclusions? – Chabad

This “Thought for the Day” from Chabad is certainly an interesting way to make the case that deciding to accept a Jewish life will lead to more time to live a fuller life. The same could be said for many other faiths, I know, but I especially liked the point that Judaism has already been tested – for more than 3300 years, no less.

For me, Judaism has proven to be the best vessel for a set of beliefs and practices that resonate with me. I hope whatever journey you are on and whatever faith ultimately resonates with you, you will be equally content.

March Discussion: Function of Religion

Each month I’m going to have a discussion topic related to the creation of your own, unique Jewish identity. For some, it will be the process of envisioning who they are as a new-to-Judaism Jew, for some it will be envisioning who they are as they become a more observant Jew, for some it will be envisioning the identity of the children they’re raising in the Jewish faith. Read more

Shanda

A shanda is “something that brings shame upon oneself, one’s family, and perhaps the entire Jewish community.” If Sandy Koufax had pitched on Yom Kippur – World Series or not – that would have been a shanda bringing shame upon the entire Jewish people.

Check out this article about a more personal type of shanda. It appeared in Reform Judaism in Winter 2012 and is, appropriately enough, entitled The Disgrace of a Nice Jewish Girl.

Please come back and add your comments!

Shabbat 02/23/13

Shabbat CandlesShabbat is here! I love preparing for Shabbat dinner. I enjoy the cooking and the thought that goes into it – when there’s enough time.

When there’s not, we have a rotisserie chicken, fresh-baked Challah from the bakery, and mashed potatoes, gravy, and salad I make for the meal. The kids help. It just feels right.

I think it’s nice to have something special to discuss at dinner. We always tell what the best thing and worst things were that happened that week and what we’re looking forward to the next week. But how about something like ….

What do you think John Ashbery, Pulitzer Prize winning American poet, means when he says, “It is true that I can no longer remember very well the time when we first began to know each other. However, I do remember very well the first time we met.” Does this apply to things other than relationships?

Shabbat Shalom!

No Longer Very Clear by John Ashbery

Related Posts:
Keeping Shabbat

Your Slip is Showing: Conversion

These are the things that no one has probably thought to tell you about conversion in the Reform movement. You’ll be glad to know them. Believe me.

  1. In conversion class, when you get to the page with the Thirteen Articles of Maimonides, do not get excited. Do not  highlight them and think you have found the answer to what you need to know about Judaism. This is just one opinion of one man at one time in his life. Judaism does not lay things out in a neat list like this. Read more

Things You Need to Know: Conversion

Things you need to know about conversion in the Reform movement:

  1. You will study with your rabbi for about a year. You may also take a Shehecheyanuconversion class with people from several different movements and synagogues. The rabbis from the various congregations may take turns leading these classes. It’s a good opportunity to discover and discuss the difference in observance by different movements.
  2. There is a lot to read and think about. Some of the books will be about conversion. Some will be about Judaism. There will be Jewish history and also at least a bit of Hebrew.

Read more

The Shehecheyanu

The Shehecheyanu blessing was introduced to encourage Jews to offer thanks for new and unusual experiences. It it typically recited at the beginning of holidays and to celebrate special occasions.

Baruch atah adonai eloheinu melech ha’olam shecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higyanu lazman hazeh.

[To hear the blessing – with thanks to the Virtual Cantor]


Source: Kolatch, Alfred J. The Second Jewish Book of Why. NY: Jonathan David Publishers, 1989 and Cardin, Rabbi Nina Beth. The Tapestry of Jewish Time. NJ: Behrman House, 2000.

SOURCES:

Jewish Virtual Library
Virtual Cantor

The Thirteen Articles of Maimonides

The most widely spread and popular of all creeds is that of Maimonides, embracing the thirteen articles. Why he chose this particular number has been a subject of much discussion. Some have seen in the number a reference to the thirteen attributes of God. Probably no meaning attaches to the choice of the number. His articles are:

1. The existence of God;

2. His unity;

3. His spirituality;

4. His eternity;

5. God alone the object of worship;

6. Revelation through his prophets;

7. the preeminence of Moses among the Prophets;

8. God’s law given on Mount Sinai;

9. the immutability of the Torah as God’s Law;

10. God’s foreknowledge of men’s actions;

11. retribution;

12. the coming of the Messiah;

13. Resurrection.

This creed Maimonides wrote while still a very young man; it forms a part of his Mishnah Commentary, but he never referred to it in his later works (See S/ Adler, “Tenets of Faith and Their Authority in the Talmud,” in his “Kobez ‘al Yad,” p. 92, where Yad ha­Hazakah, Issure Biah, xiv, 2, is referred to as proof that Maimonides in his advanced age regarded as fundamental of the faith only the unity of God and the prohibition of idolatry). It did not meet universal acceptance; but, as its phraseology is succinct, it has passed into the prayer­book, and is therefore familiar to almost all Jews of the Orthodox school.

SOURCE: The Jewish Virtual Library

Related Posts:
Conversion

Conversion

I never intended to become Jewish. When I read the interfaith books that were available before my marriage and realized that many times they’d been written by women who had converted after years of marriage, I vowed I’d always maintain my identity. It wasn’t until years later that I began to understand what might have led those women to make the decision they had. Read more