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  • HIGH HOLIDAYS FEATURE Facing mortality on holy days, one learns to live life more fully

    NEW YORK, Sept. 1 (JTA) — From Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur are 10 days of repentance, set aside for self-assessment and correction of lifestyle. The tradition asks us to face our mortality, to review the way we live in light of the fact that we will die. That is why I want to tell…

  • YOM HASHOAH FEATURE Honoring survivors deepens understanding of risks taken

    NEW YORK, April 20 (JTA) — How shall we focus the commemoration of Yom HaShoah? In the light of the Albright affair and the Swiss banking revelations, it is time to focus on the heroism of the survivors and the courage that their fellow Jews showed with them in deciding to continue living as Jews….

  • Behind the fable of miracle oil lies a struggle for Jewish unity

    NEW YORK, Nov. 10 (JTA) — On Oct. 16, in the year 164 B.C.E., the victorious Maccabees rededicated the purified Jerusalem Temple, thus launching the checkered history of Chanukah, the Feast of Dedication. Ironically, three or four years earlier, the widespread Jewish unrest seemed to be an ineffective rebellion going nowhere. And in less than…

  • PURIM FEATURE (3) Purim replete with lessons about helping Jewish state

    NEW YORK, Feb. 23 (JTA) — Kabbalists have long compared Purim to Yom (Ha)Kippurim — the Day of Atonement/Repentance. (Note the Hebrew pun — Yom Ki-purim, a day like Purim.) This year, American Jewish leadership should apply this idea literally. They should use the occasion to declare mea culpa and apologize to Prime Minister Benjamin…

  • PASSOVER FEATURE (6) Remembering the Holocaust while celebrating the Exodus

    NEW YORK, March 19 (JTA) — Must we choose between remembering the Exodus and remembering the Holocaust? In recent years, there has been a drumfire of criticism that American Jewish commemoration of the Holocaust constitutes the substitution of a death fixation for Judaism’s central message of life. The Passover seder gives the lie to this…

  • LAB B’OMER FEATURE The Tragedy of Lag B’Omer: Judaism’s social catastrophes

    NEW YORK, May 13 (JTA) — Most people think of Lag B”Omer as a warm, fuzzy semi-holiday with a nature-loving, children-oriented theme. In the Talmud Lag B”Omer — the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer period — is a devastating reminder of an historic catastrophe caused by Jewish divisiveness. Today, Jewry seems to…