Is Judaism an ethnicity? A faith? A family? A few years ago, Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman visited as our scholar and guide for our congregation’s vision. He taught us that modern Jewish life has experienced immigrations, the additions of majors groups that bring a new voice and have an impact of Judaism. Immigrations include women in leadership, interfaith families and Jews by choice. Such immigrations and the transformations they bring are powerful reminders that Judaism is not a race and can no longer truly be understood as an ethnicity. Judaism is a spiritual path that, unlike ethnicity, can be joined. And Jews are and have always come from many different ethnicities. Read the rest of this entry »
The Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art Opening “Mis/Constructed Identities: Exploring Jewish Stereotypes” and our Jewish PathMay 28, 2013
It’s graduation season. Those of us who have the opportunity to address a group of college graduates, high school graduates or Confirmation students consider how to reduce all of life’s lessons down to a few simple rules. While it may be a trite endeavor, it’s a powerful opportunity to remind ourselves of a central question: What is the ikar, the central point, the most meaningful essence, of life? Read the rest of this entry »
Cantor Erin Frankel
Back in October, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a profile of Yannick Nezet-Seguin, the new music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra. I was amazed to learn in the article that Nezet-Seguin spends a lot of his free time listening to music that is not classical. He talked about having a period when he devoured Ella Fitzgerald recordings and then moved on to Sarah Vaughan and Joe Pass. He unwinds by listening to R&B, he loves Jill Scott, and he is able to compare Usher’s early and later music. He described a concert he led in the Netherlands with the Rotterdam Philharmonic where he juxtaposed classical music and techno music for a crowd of 2,500 young people between the ages of 25-35. And the audience couldn’t get enough of the orchestra.
This experience taught Nezet-Seguin that his goal is to “get out of our comfort zone, as long as we play in the best quality possible and the real music that we know. Read the rest of this entry »
At our congregation’s Jewish Meditation just before Shabbat 2 weeks ago, Moshe (Mel) Seligsohn shared this intention (join us for our final week of this series of Meditation this Friday, 5:00-5:30 pm, and please contact me to share whether you’d be interested in more meditation opportunities in the future):
How Is Jewish meditation different from other forms of meditation, especially the “still” forms we think of as those from India, Tibet and the East?
Any prayer is a meditation, so if you’re praying, you’re meditating and vice versa. This is true in all faiths. And the intention is universal–the desire to create an intimate relationship to the Devine Realm. Perhaps what makes Jewish prayer somewhat distinctive is verbalization…”Hear (listen!), Oh, Israel…” and its communal expression…”the Lord OUR G-d, the Lord is One.” Our silent prayers are also invoked communally. Read the rest of this entry »
Rabbi Laura Geller, the third female rabbi ordained in the United States, shared these reflections on the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique:
“In 1979, I had been a rabbi for three years. The Central Conference of American Rabbis Convention was scheduled to take place in Arizona, a non-ERA state. There were just a handful of women rabbis. It felt important that women rabbis be at the convention, but we wanted to honor the boycott of non-ERA states. Not knowing what to do, I called Betty [Friedan]. She not only took the call, but her advice was clear: “Go to the convention and invite me to speak!” We did, and that speech was the first time Betty Friedan made a public connection between her feminism and her Judaism. Read the rest of this entry »