Jewish Holidays and Culture

“But she’s not Jewish”

January 22, 2018

“I heard Ben broke up with his girlfriend. I’m sorry.” “Don’t be.” “Why not?” “They weren’t good together. They were always fighting.” “Well, that’s a relief, I guess.” “Not really. He’s got a new girlfriend. She’s even worse.” “What’s wrong this time?” “She’s not Jewish.” “But do they get along?” “Oh yes, they are very […]

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Datlash 2.0 – the elephant in the room

January 9, 2018

What’s fueling the growing phenomenon in Israel of datlashim – Hebrew for formerly religious Jews? And how big is it in real numbers?

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Judaism’s epistemic crisis

November 22, 2017

Are we on the verge of an “epistemic crisis?” Vox Magazine’s David Roberts seems to think so. And it has implications for battles we’re seeing in the Jewish world, from the Western Wall to the army induction office.

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Agreeing to disagree: the value of religious doubt

September 18, 2017

This is the key: “I disagree with pretty much everything they’re doing when it comes to their Jewish practice. But that doesn’t make them wrong.”

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Dishwasher soap opera

August 5, 2017

When we bought our first dishwasher, we had to choose an approach per halacha (Jewish law) for how we were going keep that dishwasher kosher

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Is Judaism an operating system or an app?

July 23, 2017

Is Judaism more like an operating system or an app? The answer could help solve problems such as the recent Kotel and conversion crises in Israel.

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When words and belief clash

June 25, 2017

It was Friday night, and as I was preparing to say the Shabbat kiddush – the traditional sanctification of the wine – one of our guests made a surprising request: “Could I, um, make my own kiddush?” The question seemed innocent enough, but I knew what he was getting at. It was not that he […]

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What kind of God do you want to believe in?

June 20, 2017

The paradox of modern Jewish life is that, while many believe in a “transcendent” conception of God they long for an “immanent” kind of relationship.

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Finding your place: New Haggadah makes Passover personal

April 16, 2017

I’m a Haggadah hoarder. Over the years, our family has collected dozens of different Haggadot for the Passover holiday. They range from the highly traditional to the decidedly modern. We have classic Haggadot with commentaries from the Me’am Lo’ez (originally written in Ladino by Rabbi Yaakov Culi in 1730), Rabbi Marcus Lehman of Mainz (late […]

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Texting on Shabbat? Guidelines for the observant Jew

February 19, 2017

The growing phenomenon of Orthodox Jewish teenagers keeping what’s been called “Half Shabbos” burst into the Jewish media several years ago. “Half Shabbos” describes someone who observes all of the Sabbath regulations except one: using his or her smart phone to send text messages. Religious leaders reacted predictably to the revelation of what had been […]

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