Holidays

Passover: Feast of Love, Feast of Faith

April 14, 2014
Passover:  Feast of Love, Feast of Faith

Every year at our seders we explore the concept of freedom. What is it? Who’s free and who’s not? Is it about being free from Pharaoh, or being free to serve God? Is it individual freedom or collective freedom? What are we personally enslaved by? But there are other themes associated with the holiday....
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Happy Thanksgivukkah!

November 28, 2013
Happy Thanksgivukkah!

Chanukah very typically overlaps with Christmas – that’s why for American Jews at least, the holiday has become a sort of “Jewish Christmas,” with gift-giving and a feeling of being included in the “Happy Holidays” greetings, and an occasional Chanukah song thrown into the mix with the Christmas music. This year, however, is different....
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Tisha b’Av 5773

July 16, 2013
Tisha b’Av 5773

Planning a family vacation that over Tisha b’Av is perhaps not the most felicitous planning. But various other commitments led to this being the only real option, and so it is for the first time since 2007 I find myself marking the most somber day on the Jewish calendar – the day when we...
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A Prayer for Yom Yerushalayim

May 8, 2013
A Prayer for Yom Yerushalayim

Today, the 28th of Iyar on the Hebrew calendar, is the day we commemorate the reunification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War in 1967. Jerusalem today is a city physically united and spiritually divided. The Haredi want to impose their views of Torah on everyone else – no women praying in prayer shawls...
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Liberate Yourself This Passover

March 24, 2013
Liberate Yourself This Passover

I’m writing this Sunday morning, the day before the night of the seder. The house has had a more thorough than usual cleaning. The shopping is done. The car has had its pre-Pesach bath. All that remains is switching the kitchen out from chametz to non-chametz status. A few thoughts, some practical, some more...
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Sukkot 5773

October 6, 2012

(Originally published in the Jerusalem Post) by Rabbi Barry Leff The High Holy Days season starts with Tisha Be’av: we mourn for a broken house – the destroyed Temple – praying and fasting, reminded that the world is also broken. The holidays end with Succot. We sit in a broken house, but it’s filled...
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