Union for Reform Judaism Member Congregation

Archive

Purity and Taint: Crossing the Line of Life and Death

Of four special Shabbatot leading up to our celebration of Pesach, this coming Shabbat is the third. It is called Shabbat Parah, and is built around a ritual whose internal meaning seems quite remote for us. The “Ritual of the Red Heifer,” the parah adumah, is an extra reading in traditional practice, taken from the…Read on →

Groggers, Not Guns!

We were horrified this morning as we awoke to the news that two blasts had rocked the Belgian capital of Brussels. With dozens of people dead and wounded, we grieve with the Belgian people, with all those visiting who were victimized, and with their families. Only four months after the deadly attacks in Paris, the…Read on →

New York Cares and So Does Union Temple

As hale and hearty New Yorkers, we are accustomed to much colder weather during this season than we have experienced thus far this year. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I have enjoyed this extended fall weather and I don’t particularly relish biting cold and whipping winds. And while Irving Berlin, a Jewish immigrant from…Read on →

The Rabbinic Transformation of Hanukkah

The Need to Stamp the Festival. . . The Festival of Hanukkah commemorates the Maccabean victory over the powerful army of the Syrian-Greek King Antiochus IV (Antiochus Epiphanes) in 165 BCE. The Books of Maccabees and the Jewish historian Josephus describe various commemorative ceremonies in the years following this momentous event. But the Rabbis of…Read on →

Happy Thanksgivukah!

Happy Thanksgivukah! I admit that earlier this fall I resisted using this greeting, because I didn’t want to risk compromising the integrity of either holiday. Nevertheless, the confluence of these two beloved celebrations will not come around again for about 79,000 years, so I figured, why not?! If I’m still here for the next one,…Read on →

Stones of Destruction; Prayers of Comfort

This is The Night of Tishah B’av… the 9th day of Av, a day of mourning, as Jews all over the world remember the Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, first in 586 BCE at the hands of the Babylonians, and then the Romans, in 70 CE. Services are characterized by sitting on the floor in…Read on →