Writes of Passage – Commencement

Commencement, Shalom, Aloha
Such words have layered and multiple meanings embedded even within the same context.

Each spring, the Temple Sholom Crown Family High School confirms our seniors during a congregational Shabbat Service. Each graduate delivers a sermonette on their personal Jewish identity and reflects on their experience. The amalgam and collective voice is a treasured glimpse into the minds of those about to launch. And we kvell as if they are all our offspring!

Ten Minutes of Torah: The New Reform Machzor and the Shofar Service: Part 2

Part Two: Chevruta (Intense Text Study) With A Thousand People

Last week I wrote about the decision of the Machzor editors to break the shofar service into three parts, with each part appearing in a different section of the service. As I mentioned, the three parts of the shofar service carry different themes: God’s sovereignty, God’s remembrance of us, and God’s redeeming us. When these three themes are presented one after the other, especially towards the end of the Rosh Hashanah morning service, it is hard to reflect on the spiritual depth of these insights. By dividing the shofar service into three, more attention on each section is possible

Old Becomes New

Rabbi Goldberg led a Worship committee meeting on April 30. The stalwarts attended to discuss clergy garb for the High Holy Days. Since the committee hadn’t met since last fall when we talked about something relative to the High Holy Days (I really don’t remember the topic, to tell the truth), I wasn’t sure what to expect. My guess was that the rabbi would tell us what he prefers, and we’d all say something to the effect of, “Ok, if that’s what you want,” and that would be that.

Ten Minutes of Torah: The New Reform Machzor and the Shofar Service: Part 1


Part One: Don’t “Bury the Lead,” or Why We Have Placed the Shofar Service into Three Parts of the Service

The traditional High Holy Day prayer book, as opposed to the Reform versions produced in the last century and more, includes a service, musaf, that evokes the ancient sacrifices. Reform Judaism abandoned this service, due to its musty connotations of “barbarian” rites but a key element of this service on Rosh Hashanah, the sounding of the shofar was maintained. Sounding of the shofar was retained no doubt because the very essence of Rosh Hashanah is bound up in the peal of the shofar. Can you imagine Rosh Hashanah without it?

Cuba Libre for Temple Sholom

I’m typing this Blog (my first ever) on my iPhone from Cuba, on the drive from Havana to Cienfuegos, which is ironic since the vast majority of Cubans have never seen an iPad, or iPhone, or really any cell phone or smartphone for that matter. Of course, it will have to be sent when I get to the hotel since there’s no cell service available to us while out and about and I only hope the Internet is working – I’m told the service is spotty. It’s refreshing to walk down the street and not see people attached to their cell phones and smart phones as they walk (and drive).

Will the New Pope Be Good for the Jews?

Quite a lot of Jewish ink has been spilled over the last few weeks analyzing the pontificate of the now retired Benedict XVI, prognosticating on who might be his successor, and, once announced, reporting every detail of Francis’ history with the Jewish community.