Tag: Being Jewishly

Living Judaism with mind, body and all we have.

First Graf: The Jewish Catalog

WHAT HAPPENED WHEN THE COUNTER-CULTURAL agents of the 1960s (re)discovered their Yiddishkeit (Jewishness)? A trio of them (and many others) produced the now-classic The Jewish Catalog: a do-it-yourself kit. As the subtitle implies, the book is chock-full of homemade ways…

“Tzom B’kavanna!”

A TRADITIONAL PRE-YOM KIPPUR ADMONITION is “tzom kal (have an easy fast)” But as a friend in an online forum once pointed out, “easy” misses the point. A proper Yom Kippur fast should be difficult; examining your past year’s mistakes…

Chosenness as Motivator

ONE OF THE MORE CONTROVERSIAL aspects of traditional Judaism is the idea that “Jews are the Chosen People.” Some (both Jew and non-Jew) take this to mean “superior” in some way (I’m looking at you, Grandma), and use it as…

Happy 5779!

MAY YOU HAVE A SWEET, joyous, happy and rewarding New Year! And may your resolutions not prove too daunting; on reflection, may you not bog down in a swamp of self-recrimination. As the Talmud says, “All beginnings are difficult.” And…

First Graf: Path of the Just

MUSSAR (מוסר) IS A HEBREW TERM usually translated as “ethical behavior/discipline,” or to put it more succinctly, the fine art and science of being a mensch. Its roots are almost as old as Judaism itself — according to Genesius, it’s…

History Lesson: Chain

“Everything you do, here and at home, is part of Sonoma Valley Jewish history.” That’s what I used to tell the students in our synagogue’s Hebrew school, and it’s also one of the lessons from this week’s Torah portion, Ki…

Lamed-Vavniks, Unite!

Are you a Lamed-Vavnik? According to Jewish tradition, there are 36 exceptionally righteous (read: supermensch-like) people in the world in each generation, and without whom the world would cease to exist. (In Hebrew counting, 36 is “lamed vav” (lamed =…

Confronting Evil

(From a friend, for Yom Hashoah/Holocaust Remembrance Day.) April 15, 1965 יוסף דוב סולוביצ’יק JOSEPH SOLOVEITCHIK Dear Dr. Vogel: I received your letter. Of course, you may quote me. The gist of my discourse was that Judaism did not approach…