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Showing posts from October, 2010

Halloween - A Jewish Observance?

With thanks to the URJ plus input from Rabbi Librach and UJC Principal Daryl Bain, I wrote this letter that was recently distributed to the members of the United Jewish Center. Friends,On Sunday, October 31, you will most likely send your child out for Halloween “trick or treating.” Many of Halloween’s originally pagan-based rituals – some of which are antithetical to a purposeful Jewish life – have been transformed to an American cultural experience. And while Halloween is not a Jewish holiday, we want to encourage you to think about how you can bring Jewish values into your “observance” of this event.Here are some suggestions for including the Jewish values of tzedakah (justice) and ba’al tashchit (avoidance of gratuitous waste) into your Halloween experience:As a family, list the amount of money you would usually spend on costumes, decorations, and candy. Add up your estimates (there’s a math lesson in this activity too!) and see how much total expense Halloween will cost the your …

A Cantor's Craft

The Cantor stood before the congregation and, in a bellowing voice, bragged, "A couple of years ago, I had my voice insured with Lloyds of London for $1 million."
 A silence immediately came over the crowded room. Suddenly, the voice of an elderly woman at the back of the room called out, "So, what did you do with the money?"
I am an athlete. I play my sport professionally at least twice a week. Like most athletes, my success is based on a blend of technical skill, knowledge of the sport and intuition, and I practice those skills each day. Similarly, I have a coach with whom I meet at least once a week; she guides me in running up and down, jumping, skipping and gliding and periodically we run through other drills, experimenting with new moves and new techniques. Maintenance of my sport’s equipment demands 24/7 attention; I feel it if I miss one day of practice … those who witness my presentations know it if I miss two or more days.
While I do indeed enjoy working o…