There is No Hiding from Difference

December 25, 2016

chanukiya-1584A rabbi named Francine Green Roston recently moved with her family from New Jersey to Whitefish, Montana, in search of a slower pace of life.  As you can imagine, there are not many Jews in their new small town (although with a name like “Whitefish,” you’d think…) but Rabbi Roston has found a small Jewish community.

She also discovered that her neighbors include the white nationalist leader Richard Spencer.  Last week, ignited by the emerging white supremacy movement, a neo-Nazi website issued a call to take action against the Jews of Whitefish.  The site listed the names, pictures, contact information, and addresses of alleged Jews in town, and photo-shopped pictures of Rabbi Roston with a Nazi-era yellow star. Read the rest of this entry »

Can a Reform Rabbi and an Orthodox Rabbi Light the Menorah Together? Hanukkah Candlelighting in Rittenhouse Square

December 4, 2015

Join us for the Center City Kehillah Hanukkah Candlelighting in Rittenhouse Square, Tues., Dec 8, 5:15pm!      

“Since when is Hanukkah so important?” I once heard someone ask a rabbi. “Sukkot is important, Pesach is important, Shabbat is important, but Hanukkah is such a minor holiday!  Why do we give in to the Christmas culture that identifies December as the time for an important holiday?!”

“Well,” the rabbi responded, “it’s true that Hanukkah is not particularly important compared to other Jewish festivals.  It’s a minor holiday that gets a whole lot of attention.  But, if Jews are creating happy Jewish memories and experiences around a Jewish holiday, who are we to take that away?”  Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Light Hanukkah Candles?

November 30, 2010

(Hanukkah blessings and songs, text and audio)

How do you light a Hanukkah menorah, or Hanukkiah?  Jews have disagreed on this throughout the ages.  The controversy surrounding the Hanukkah menorah lighting goes back about 2000 years.  Talmudic rabbis coming from different schools of thought debated ritual practices and two schools that commonly debate one another were that of Hillel and Shammai. The school of Shammai taught that eight candles should be kindled on the first night of Hanukkah and each night, we should decrease a candle.  Makes sense, right?  Decreasing candles would symbolize the fact that remaining oil decreased each night.  Yet, common practice sides with the school of Hillel, which taught us to increase a candle each night. The Maccabees didn’t increase the number of lights the kindled; why should we? Read the rest of this entry »

Hanukkah Candlelighting Blessings

December 9, 2009

As we thank God for the miracles of light and of freedom, have a Happy Hanukkah!  For instructions, text and audio of the Hanukkah blessings, click here.  And please join us for Shabbat Hanukkah Services  on the first night of Hanukkah, this Friday, December 11.

Chanukah Blessings

November 30, 2009

Meditations for Each Night of Chanukah (If you have special readings or traditions for Chanukah, please share them with us.)

FREEDOM – – First Night: We kindle these Chanukah Lights in memory of the dedication and courage of the Maccabees. They willingly sacrificed their lives for the freedom to worship God as their hearts and minds dictated. As we kindle these candles, we rededicate ourselves to work for the equal rights of all people, and for the realization of a society of democracy and freedom. Read the rest of this entry »