Rabbi Simeon J. Maslin reveals why, of all our biblical luminaries, it is Elijah who visits our homes on Passover, and why we welcome the prophet to our seder table with his own dedicated cup of wine.
At age 62, Fred Zaidman spends his days helping others. Among them is my mother, a Holocaust survivor, who has described him as a lamed vavnik – one of the 36 tzaddikim (righteous individuals) in every generation whose merit, according to Jewish legend, has kept God from destroying our wicked world. After hearing Fred's story, I think my mother might be right.
What is love? The word is used in so many ways and is so fundamental to Judaism, yet its meaning is so elusive that it is often difficult to know what it actually means to say that you love someone.
Judaism was so unfamiliar to my son that he was wary of my Hanukkah gift. I felt as though, at such a young age, he was choosing to shun my religion, to identify with Christianity. Of course, if he chooses to identify with either religion later in life, that decision will be his own – but for now, I need to at least give Judaism a fighting chance.
As I tried to respond to the writing prompt, "What is your Egypt?" - wrestling with the idea of stranger, of knowing his heart, of Egypt and slavery and being freed - this poem came tumbling out.
By allowing ourselves to experience individuals who our different from us, we challenge ourselves to be better human beings. Had I given in to my temptation to return to my comfort zone that morning 22 years ago, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
I never though that I, a normal 13-year-old boy, would be able to make a difference in the greater community.
In 2010, I watched two dynamic Argentine cantors, Gaston Bogomolni and Ari Litvak, create an incredible Shabbat evening service called “Davenin’ La Vida Loca,” which translates loosely as “Praying the Crazy Life.” Filled with music in the Argentinean style of Friday night worship, together with compositions from Latin American composers, the worship was so well received that Bogomolni and Litvak were commissioned to create a series of Latin American anthologies. The first one, Ruach Hadarom, Anthology of Congregational Melodies from Latin America, Volume I: Shabbat, will be available soon, with anthologies for the High Holidays, festivals, and weddings to follow.
I ask you, is this a sheyn punim (a pretty face)? I’ve been dying to say those words for the past four years, ever since I came to China to work as a teacher of oral English at Nanyang Normal University.