Tag Archives: Judaism

Haveil Havalim #271: Catchy Title Goes Here

Ima on the Bima posted this week’s Haveil Havalim “Catchy Title Goes Here” – a great collection of blog posts written over the past week. Thanks Phyllis and shavuah tov to all.

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“Law and Order” and Judaism

I have long been a fan of the NBC television program Law & Order. I’ve watched the original and most of the spin-offs (especially SVU and Criminal Intent). The end of the original program may have been inevitable, but it is sad none the less. Heeb Magazine wrote up some of the Greatest Jewish Moments on Law and Order. Episodes often focus on issues of justice, fairness and the need to care for the less fortunate in society – key Jewish values.  Perhaps in that way many shows have had Jewish themes. I’ll have to be satisfied with SVU, Criminal Intent and re-runs.

Celebrating #Torah on Twitter

As I type this blog, we enter the final hours before the onset of Shavuot. In the hours to come Jews around the world will celebrate receiving the written and oral Torahs thousands of years ago on Sinai. The revelation continues to this day, as each generation makes the decision to accept, wrestle with, engage with and embrace Torah.

Throughout time we have studied and learned Torah with the tools at hand – our minds, our bodies, scrolls, books, computer screens and social media. Over the past 24 hours Jews throughout the world have tweeted about Torah. Read some of the tweets by clicking this link which searches for Torah related tweets.

May your celebration be sweet and filled with the miracles of Sinai.

See You at Sinai

A common practice when Jews meet one another is to play “Jewish geography,” a process in which we find people we know in common.  On the face this may seem like a Jewish version of 6 degrees of separation, but it goes deeper.  It is a means of finding connection.  The game often succeeds, but even when it doesn’t we sometimes have the feeling that we have met before.  When we cannot figure out how we know one another, we say that we saw each other at Sinai.

Jewish tradition teaches that all Jews throughout time stood at Sinai thousands of years ago and received the Torah.  Tomorrow night we begin celebrating Shavuot, the day G-d gave the Torah to our people.  Each of us stood there and experienced this great gift .  In remembrance of the gift of Torah (and the teaching that our people overslept the morning we received it) we will study all night tomorrow night.

I invite you to think about the place of Torah in your life.  Perhaps Torah resonates in ideas, in family, in friends, in your work, in your life decisions, in your passion to change the world or in your religious practice.  Where is Torah today and where might it be tomorrow or the next day?

Tomorrow night, wherever you are, I look forward to seeing you at Sinai.

Haveil Havalim #243 published

ImaBima has posted this week’s Haveil Havalim, the NaBloPoMo edition.

Check it out for blog posts on the following topics:

Funny Things…good to start with a laugh

Israel and the Jewish World

Judaism and Torah

Miscllaneous

…read Haveil Havalim, the NaBloPoMo edition and enjoy!

Politics in the Shul?

What is the place for politics in shul? Where should the line be drawn for rabbis, cantors and educators?

IRS regulations specify that a clergyperson may not preach a sermon supporting (or demonizing) a particular candidate if the house of worship wishes to have tax exempt status. This rule draws a clear line, but what about other communication? What about conversations at kiddush, oneg or in the parking lot? Is it okay for the rabbi to send emails to congregants about partisan political issues?

I ask this question at this time because of the presence of politics in Shul JewCrew where I attend. A rabbi of Shul JewCrew refrained from formal political pulpit sermons during last fall’s election season. The rabbi sends congregants negative, partisan emails, invitations to political events on Facebook (JewCrew city’s “tea party”), discussions at oneg, and during private conversations.

For months now, I have felt that my views are unwelcome. I worry that I have to either defend my views or plan to extricate myself from a conversation or not go to shul. Why should an uncomfortable political conversation from the rabbi keep me from feeling comfortable at shul? The thought that I am refraining from going to my current spiritual “home” because of the rabbi’s politics makes me mad. US politics is not the rabbi’s role (IMHO). This rabbi does not work for a political organization, does not see his/her job as primarily educating representatives….

When I feel denigrated by the rabbi for my political view, how can I feel comfortable going to the rabbi for much more difficult or sensitive issues in my personal life?

A rabbi in another city preached from the pulpit many times during last election season and made the congregants who did not agree with him/her so uncomfortable that they stopped going to shul – and they themselves are a rabbinic family!

Please know that while I personally have a political opinion, I have a problem with rabbis pushing their views on either side (in American politics) in their congregations. The examples above are of each – a partisan republican rabbi and a partisan democratic rabbi.

What do you think? Is this happening elsewhere or only in the two examples above?

Hag Purim Sameach!

Happy Purim. The traditions of Purim encourage us to celebrate, to feel joy, and to make fun of ourselves. During these diffcult days, days when rockets fall ok schools, homes, cars, and workplaces on Sderot #Israel – days filled with economic stress & uncertainty – it is especially important to find joy.