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Monday, September 24, 2018
Many of the kollel participants never learned Torah before. Shown here is one participant pouring over a Bible. Credit: Courtesy.
Yosef Damsker, 86, is a thin man with a gray beard and a large yarmulke. But when he moved to Israel from Leningrad (today, St. Petersburg) in 1990, he was not only secular, he knew very little about his Jewish background, except for fasting on Yom Kippur. These days a widower who lives in the Talpiot neighborhood of Jerusalem, he...
Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur have passed. Each of us would like something from those days could remain for the rest of the year, not lose their influence and ensure a true sweet year and blessings. Rabbi Jayim Fridlander, Zt "L, in his book" Sifté Jayim ", explains how we can get there. "In the Zohar (Räya Mehemná, parashat Emor) we...
An etrog, silver etrog box and lulav, used on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
We are twice blessed. Sukkot, the harvest festival—and sometimes called the “Jewish Thanksgiving”—takes place this year at the end of September, and two months later, Thanksgiving in America is a holiday that many Jewish families have made their own, celebrating the good fortune to live in freedom and peace in the United States. During the eight-day observance of Sukkot (seven...
Moshe calls upon Heaven “הַשָּׁמַיִם” and Earth “הָאָרֶץ” to become witnesses to his words, his song to Bnei-Yisrael. This is Moshe’s last day (Adar 7th, 2488). This song is one of ten songs who were sung throughout the desert and later on by the Levites in the Beit-HaMikdash, as Bnei-Yisrael will come to celebrate the festivals and offer certain...
In just a little while, the notes of Kol Nidre will start playing, that melody that moves the one who knows its meaning as much as the one who knows nothing about it. Theodor Reik tells us that, when listening to it at friends' house, he experiences a deep sadness but ignores what piece he is talking about until,...
An Ultra Orthodox Jewish man prays at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, at the end of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and the holiest of Jewish holidays. Israel came to a standstill for 25-hours during the high holiday of Yom Kippur when observant Jews fast and Israelis are prohibited from driving. Photo by Flash90
Fasting is the most commonly known Yom Kippur ritual. According to a 2016 Pew survey, 40 percent of American Jews and 60 percent of Israeli Jews fast on the Day of Atonement. Of course,  fasting is not exclusive to Judaism. It is an ancient practice whose purpose and benefit span across the three Abrahamic faiths—Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Fasting is...
Chassidic men pray on the beach on Sept. 17, 2018 in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod as part of the High Holiday ritual of Tashlich, where believers symbolically cast off their sins into the water. Typically done on Rosh Hashanah, the tradition can take place up until Hoshanah Rabbah, the seventh day of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Photo by Yossi Zeliger/Flash90.
The holiest day in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, was set to commence at sunset on Tuesday. It’s a time when Israel come to a near-complete pause. Many Israelis observe a 25-hour fast and attend prayer services on this day. Children take to the streets by foot and bicycle to enjoy the near complete absence of cars on streets and...
Congregation Beth Am in San Diego, Calif. Youth Department's recent “sukkah hop.” Courtesy.
For Yael Michaely, her husband Boaz and their three young children, feeling at home in their new country began in earnest one autumn evening in 2004. For these Israelis recently transplanted to Newton, Mass., the neighborhood sukkah hop transformed anonymous streets into a community and strangers into friends. “The kids were running and playing together like old friends, and we grownups were getting...
Captured Jews who participated in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising are rounded up by the Waffen SS on Nowolipie Street, between April 19 and May 16, 1943. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
The sacrifices of Polish rescuers of Jews living in Warsaw during the Holocaust was honored on Sunday in one of the largest gatherings of Shoah rescuers in the Polish capital—and in what may be one of the last of the annual occasions due to the ages of these righteous gentiles, with some older than 100. The annual program, hosted by...
Amazon Prime has started running a Canadian comedy drama series set in Toronto. Erica Strange, a thirty-two-year-old single, plucky and career frustrated, is played by Erin Karpluk and her middle age time traveling therapist, Dr. Tom, by Michael Riley. It is a bewitching and beguiling mix up. At its heart is the concept of tikun olam, repairing the world or...

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