holidays

Junk Mail

Between hectic preparations for Rosh Hashana, celebrating the holiday itself, and catching up with the day after, I neglected to check my email junk box for four days. Among the 200 or so messages that had accumulated, numerous hot Ukrainian women vied for my attention along with many urgent notices from Costco about rewards that […]

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Fasts and Feasts

This past Tuesday was a fast day in the Jewish calendar, a fact that probably never came across your radar screen. Truthfully, even most Jews were unaware of it, as only the relatively small percentage of Jews who observe their faith as their ancestors did make note of the day.  While there are two major

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The Great Purim Baking Caper

Today, I originally planned to write about immigration, which I would categorize as a political topic. But then, I started baking the Purim cookie known as hamantashen and things went so wrong that I thought I should share that experience with you.  I would categorize that topic as a family/personal Musing. While I much appreciate

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Do orthodox Jews interpret the Bible literally?

Question: My pastor tells me that, “The most orthodox view historically seems to be not a literal interpretation,” with the creation story in Genesis 1-3. Would you agree with this? Are there other passages in the Torah like this? Are their hints in the Hebrew that suggest something to be non-literal?  ∼ Jarred Answer: Dear

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Mugging or Mayberry

As the rabbi of a fledgling synagogue in Venice, CA, one of my first goals was to build a school. Recognizing that a stable community needs a place to celebrate and pass along its values, Susan and I spent the summer after our marriage recruiting students for an enterprise that, as of yet, had no

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