Tuesday, September 22nd 2020   |

High Holidays

Ukraine and Israel, in joint statement, urge pilgrims to Uman to stay home this Rosh Hashanah

By MARCY OSTER

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Ukraine’s interior minister said his country will implement a ban on the convergence of foreign pilgrims at Uman for the annual Rosh Hashanah pilgrimage as a coronavirus restriction.

Arsen Avakov also stressed that the Ministry of Internal Affairs will provide “all technical measures to implement the above quarantine restrictions in Uman,” according to a statement on the ministry’s website.

Avakov noted in the statement...

Gossip

By RABBI JOSEPH H. PROUSER

Among the first textbooks I used in studying Hebrew was one titled “B’Yad Ha-Lashon.” The text was replete with vocabulary lists, exercises, and model conversations… and was accompanied by a set of LP records – making of our home turntables diminutive language labs.

The text took its name from the Hebrew of Proverbs 18:21 – “Death and life are B’Yad Lashon – in the power...

The original Succot celebration

By TED ROBERTS, the SCRIBBLER ON THE ROOF

Succot, like perfect sweet and sour cabbage soup, has two flavors. A single holiday with two themes.  We celebrate the bounty of the grape and olive harvest in the Promised Land; also we commemorate 40 hungry years of wanderings in that huge sand pile – the Sinai Peninsula – a garden that can only grow rocks.

The Chumash commands us to relive...

Succot: Four Conversations

By NICHOLAS HAMBURGER, Exclusive to the CCJN

At sundown on Sunday, October 13, the agricultural festival Succot begins, continuing throughout the week until nightfall on Sunday, October 20. Referred to as “the feast of ingathering” in the Book of Exodus, the holiday celebrates the end of the harvest season, when the last of the crops have been collected.

But Succot also contains an important religious dimension, commemorating God’s protection of...

Off the Pulpit: Hide and Seek

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Many of the high points of the Jewish tradition depend upon the end of concealment. In the Torah, God was long hidden from humanity until Abraham managed to see the world as filled with God’s presence. At Sinai, the notion of ‘revelation’ presupposes that before, there was hiddenness.

The approaching holiday of Succot reminds us of this shadow side of Jewish understanding. The schach on the...

Beautiful!

By RABBI JOSEPH H. PROUSER.

A Succah is kosher – it fulfills the requirements of Jewish Law – even if its walls are unadorned… even if it is devoid of decorations, fruits, gourds, garlands and flowers. Yet the widespread custom is to festoon the succah with just such embellishments.

We thereby reflect the value of “Hiddur Mitzvah” – adding beauty to our observance of the Commandments. The Rabbis interpret Exodus...

God’s Prayer – and ours

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

At the beginning of the Talmud, in tractate Berachot, there is a curious question — What is God’s prayer? The Rabbis answer that God prays, “May My mercy overcome My anger.”

When our tradition speaks of God, it is also teaching something about humanity. For this is a version of our Yom Kippur prayer. No individual is composed entirely of mercy, or of kindness, or of...

“We”

By RABBI JOSEPH H. PROUSER

Like much of Jewish prayer, the confession of sins recited on Yom Kippur is conspicuous for its use of first person plural: Ashamnu, Bagadnu, Gazalnu – “We have sinned, We have trespassed, We have robbed….” Al Cheit She-Chatanu – “For the sin which We have committed….”

The plural formulation protects us each from public humiliation. We list the full range of sins together, rather than...

OP-ED: What working as a prosecutor has taught me about Yom Kippur

(Editor’s note: The author is an active prosecutor in a major U.S. city. Due to the nature of their work, they must write anonymously. )

(JTA) — The court officer calls out the calendar number and reads the docket into the record. The defendant, accompanied by his attorney, enter the well. The judge and the  prosecutor are there already, waiting. The defense attorney states his name for the record, as...

Inspiring Jews we lost in 5779

By JTA Staff

(JTA) — The close of every year brings with it bittersweet reminders of the incredible figures we lost in the year that was.

This year the task of remembering the departed is particularly fraught as 12 people on the list were lost to acts of anti-Jewish violence in U.S. synagogues. Along with the shooting victims in Pittsburgh and Poway, California, are artists, activists and ordinary folks who...