MiShebeirach for Circles of Pain

Introduction: Every bullet leaves pain in circles rippling outward, like the diameter of the bomb the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai once described. Amichai’s bomb extends from 30 centimeters to the immediate range of dead and wounded, out to a solitary mourner “far across the sea,” finally encompassing “the entire world in the circle.” (Chana Bloch’s […]

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(Beyond 39)

“With social media, people were no longer talking. The [contemporary storytelling] movement really began because people missed people. That’s what storytelling does: It connects people.” So Syd Lieberman told Sam Payne of “The Apple Seed” radio program some time back. After news this week of Syd Lieberman’s passing, the Apple Seed today re-broadcast the conversation […]

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Exploring Kaddish: Some Resources and an Invitation

UPDATED 7/27 : See clarification on Aramaic and names of God below. Also see post-Siddur Study “More on Kaddish” resources and notes. Is Kaddish — in its various forms — “prayer,” as in some combination of praise, request and/or submission to God? Or is it a recitation, more like the Shema? Is it a mystical […]

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Opening and the Ark

What does it mean to open the Ark? In my experience the Torah service exhibits more diversity than any other part of a Jewish service. Reading length varies across denominations. General approach ranges from informal circles embracing Torah to formal, long-standing choreography. And the Torah service is one spot where women’s absence on the bima, […]

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“You Didn’t Build That” Ben Zoma Style

“How hard did the first person have to struggle to toil before he could eat a piece of bread: he seeded, plowed, reaped…But I arise in the morning and find all these foods ready for me….How hard did Adam toil before he could put on a garment…How many skilled craftsmen are industrious and rise early […]

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A Mountain Called Zion…

“Our hearts beat with certainty that there is a day and an hour, and a mountain called Zion…” These messianic words startled me when the congregation was asked to recite this unfamiliar passage the other day: The good in us will win… …. Our hearts beat with certainty that there is a day and an […]

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In Need of New Language

The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) needs new God-language and is asking for input. Here are two cents, which I hope will be useful to the CCAR and all who happen upon them. Searching for Reform perspectives on the Amidah, I stumbled upon a “RavBlog” post relating to one of the blessings. Rabbi Leon […]

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