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  • Why I light my menorah in the window — and you should, too

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) — In the weeks before Hanukkah, with anticipation of the holiday brightly filling my mind, the darkening news of rising anti-Semitism in the U.S. began to filter in. As I pictured our menorahs burning in their usual place —  the front windows of our home — a warning light began to blink. Though…

  • Serving up shalom at a post-election Thanksgiving

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) — It was just a few weeks ago, on the night of Nov. 8, that my family had all anxiously exchanged text messages as we watched the election results trickle in. State by state, my Hillary-loving family saw our hopes slipping away — and now, too soon, we are going to have to…

  • On Sukkot, use King Solomon’s wisdom to endure the election season

    (JTA) — Building up to Sukkot, with its temporary, shaky sukkah, it’s easy to forget that the holiday comes with something more substantial: its own book, Ecclesiastes — Kohelet in Hebrew — which is read during the festival and gives us a solid sampling of earthly wisdom. “A season is set for everything, a time…

  • On Yom Kippur, atoning for our online sins

    (JTA) — If you’re like me, you blog, read and share a lot of political stuff. But who really reads these posts and articles all the way through? Especially with the longer stories, who has time to look up the sources, or check if that odd photo was first posted on some sketchy partisan website? Instead, we click and…

  • A Sephardic seder, of sorts, for Rosh Hashanah

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) — For Rosh Hashanah, many of us eat an apple dipped in honey as an auspicious sign for a sweet new year. The symbolism is clear, and the ritual as easy to pull off as squeezing a bear-shaped plastic bottle of honey. But what kind of a year could you expect from eating…

  • Marking Tisha b’Av during a long, hot summer

    (JTA) — As the fast day of Tisha b’Av approaches, the summer heat and humidity is rising. That got me thinking: Does the solemn day have the stuff to raise our consciousness as well? Tisha b’Av — this year it begins on the evening of Saturday, August 13 — marks the destruction of the First and Second Temples, as well as…

  • On Shavuot, who (or what) will get the first fruits?

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) — As we approach Shavuot, there’s a battle going on in our garden over who — or what — will get our first fruits. In ancient days in Israel, beginning at Shavuot — the holiday that marked the wheat harvest as well as the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai — people brought…

  • 3 items that say Passover: Which do you choose?

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Can the essence of Passover fit into a box? Fans of Manischewitz and Streit’s will undoubtedly answer, “Yes, in a matzah box.” But a successful Kickstarter campaign called Hello Mazel aims to reinvent that box, promising a package filled with Passover-related “Jewish awesomeness” that will be delivered to your door (or…

  • Should we get hammered on Purim — and Election Day?

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Purim parties are just around the corner — as is the presidential election. This got me thinking: What does the holiday’s operative phrase, “ad lo yada,” “until one no longer knows,” really mean? Traditionally, this rabbinic license to party, derived from the Talmud, has been taken to mean one should drink until…

  • Valentine’s Day: An ideal date for Jewish weddings?

    Maybe it’s romantic; perhaps it’s convenient. A writer explores why some Jewish couples get married on this traditionally Christian day of love.