Sunday, May 30, 2004

Weekly Torah Portion - Be'ha'alotekha

This week's parashah includes the Torah's first and shortest healing prayer - El na, refah na la - said by Moses on behalf of Miriam.

While surfing the internet, I found an interesting drash on this prayer by Rabbi Arnold D. Samlan. It is posted at Learn Torah With, a commentary done for a few years by Torah Aura publishers. (By the way, this article is 4 years old, but still relevant [after all, Torah is thousands of years old].)

May your study be sweet.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Catching Up

Shavuah tov. I hope that you had a wonderful shabbat and a nice shavuot. The tikkun leyl shavuot I attended was wonderful and enjoyable and it was nice to be at services the next morning.

Today, my congregation had shabbat morning services and a wonderful young man became bar mitzvah. It wasn't an easy process for him, and he did well with much pride. Seeing kids who understand what it is really about acheive this milestone gives me joy.

One more piece of personal, catch-up news, a dear college friend is visiting this weekend and it is great to spend time together!

Wishing you a wonderful week!

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Hag Sameach

Happy Shavuot!

Shavuot begins tonight, our ancient pilgramage festival & holiday celebrating one of G-d's greatest gifts to us - the Torah.

Here are some excellent Shavuot (also called Shavuos) links:
My Jewish Learning articles on Shavuot
Why we read the book of Ruth on Shavuot
Shavuot Checklist
URJ on Shavuot
JTS on Shavuot
The many names for Shavuot

Go, study, learn, celebrate and enjoy!

Monday, May 24, 2004

Two Powerful, Resonate Editorials

Good evening.

Over dinner tonight I read part of the latest issue of The Forward and I found myself agreeing with two brief yet well-written editorials:

The Gift of the Law on what to think about this Shavuot.

The Same War on the wars in Iraq and Chechnya.

You will need to make a free online subscription to the Forward to read the artilces, but I believe it is well worthwhile.

Go and Study!
Go and Grow!

Sunday, May 23, 2004


The horrible violence in Rafah is heartbreaking. I've been feeling like I want to react to it since the incursion began, but other than the usual things said (and said in many places all over the web) I only have one thing to add. I continue to find the loss of life to violence, hatred, close-mindedness and ego here, thorughout the US, Gaza, West Bank, Israel, Iraq, Sudan, Afgahnistan and so many other places so sad.


Friday, May 21, 2004

New blog feature = Currently Reading

I'm adding a feature which I enjoy looking at on other's blogs - some links to what I am currently reading. This list will be (by no means) exhaustive, as I am usually reading many many books at one time. I will post ones which discuss a topic I think is especially important, or a book which is particularly moving or a book which conveys something I think enough of to share. Feedback, as always, is welcome. You'll find the information in the column on the left in the section marked Currently Reading.

Weekly Torah Study - Parashat Bamidbar

Shalom haverim, (greetins, friends)

This week I have selected a Torah commentary by Rav Kook, former cheif rabbi of Israel and a man with an imense character and influence on learning in the pre-state and early days of the State of Israel. The commentary linked to this week is called The Signs of Jacob and speaks of our personal and communal relationships to Torah.

Go, and Study!
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

King Abdullah of Jordan calls on Arafat to resign

In a post yesterday I wrote about an Arab editor/publisher who called upon Arafat to resign.

Today, an King Abdullah of Jordan has called upon Arafat to resign for the sake of the Palestinan people. Read about it in Ma'ariv. The call is getting stronger.
I doubt he will respond, but it is telling of the state of affairs amongst the Palestinians.

Monday, May 17, 2004

New Blog by Steven Weiss

Steven Weiss of The Forward newspaper and of Protocols has started a new Forward blog called Fiddish.

Arab Editor Tells Arafat to Resign

In Sunday's Jerusalem Post, there is the report of an editorial in Al-Hayat by the London paper's former editor-in-chief, Jihad Al Khazen. In it, he calls for Arafat to resign. The article begins,

"Our dear brother Yasser Arafat, I suggest that you resign," Khazen, who describes himself as a long time friend of the PA chairman, wrote. "You have done your best. It is time to give the wheel to younger hands. The American administration wants you to leave the scene, and Ariel Sharon wants to kill you. The reasons of both are known. They took a stance from you based on enmity. I came to this conclusion out of love. I am worried about you."

Read the rest of the provocative article. I wonder if it will accomplish anything?


Check out The Daily Scribble to add some laughter to your day. It's a daily (m-f) political cartoon which I've been enjoying for a few days now. The liberal bent of the cartoons is right up my alley.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Ron Arad, Missing Israeli Pilot, may have been found

According to Maariv, who is reporting an Arab language London paper, the remains of Ron Arad may have been found and are now being sent to Israel for testing. If this is true, this is big.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

More on the vicious murder of Nick Berg

The Forward has an article about Nick Berg, his life, especially his Jewish life and his parent's blame of the Bush administration.

May Mr. Berg be the last American and the last Jew brutally murdered as a "statement."

UPDATE: (May 20) Thanks to the commentor below who caught my horrible mistake of using the wrong first name. Usually, I would cross of the original error rather than deleating it, but it didn't seem right it in this case to do so.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Murder of a Jewish contractor in Iraq

A sad and tragic story is told in a JTA article about the Videotaped beheading of U.S. Jewish contractor.

When I read this story, beyond the horror I felt, one though repeated in my mind - the manner in which this war has been fought and the way in which there is little coordination in the supposed rebuilding of Iraq is a shame. (Not to even discuss the treatment of prisoners.)

A sad, sad day.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Tzedakah in Action

Interesting program. While doing some research and preparation for a class I am teaching next week, I learned of a powerful and interesting program called Tzedakah in Action that teaches teens about giving tzedakah, setting up foundations and making difficult choices with money. You can find it at the link above or on Social Action. Go, learn and do.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

New template

I'm now using a new desing thanks to the fresh look and new templates at blogger. Let me know if you feel strongly one way or another.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Shavuah Tov

Shavuah tov for another week. I hope you had a good and restful shabbat. I'd like to start this week by sharing a favorite mizrachi (eastern) Jewish food - shakshukah. When I was in Israel at the end of 2003, I at shakshukah on two occassions and fell in love with it. A classic dish eaten by many, it is tomatoes, vegetables, garlic and egg. Mmmmm. Really, give it a chance.

Here are some recipes:
shakshukah recipe from Joan Nathan posted on My Jewish Learning
Shashooka II from Jewish-Food archives
Shakshouka (Eggs in Tomato Sauce) from Jewish Food archives
Shakshuka III from Jewish food archives
Shakshuka IV from Jewish food archives

Enjoy and let me know if you try the recipes

Friday, May 07, 2004

New Mid-East Peace Blog

Take a look at Richard Silverstein's blog which he calls "Tikun Olam: Make the World a Better Place" and which he describes as, "A journal on politics, culture and ideas which reflects my personal interests in Middle East peace, world music, and the outdoors."

Thursday, May 06, 2004

This Week's Torah Commentary - Emor

Parashat Emor (Leviticus ) includes a variety of subjects - one of which is the holiday cycle and yearly calendar.

Right now we are in the midst of counting the Omer, the days between Passover and Shavuot. The omer is explained in a variety of places, including in this week's text.

Rabbi Shimon Felix with The Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel explains the Omer in "Our changing observance of the period between Passover and Shavuot reflects our sensitivity to the realities of our history."

[Do you want to learn about another aspect of this week's parashah? Try Torah from Dixie or My Jewish Learning.]

Go and study!

Blogging from my a neighborhood restaurant

Hi. Just a quick note about the fun of technology. Here it is, 9:30 at night and I am blogging from a local foodery. A nosh, a post and a bit of Torah.

Stay tuned for a bit of Torah.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Greetings for the new week

Shalom ya'll! :-)

As we enter this new week I hope and pray that you and yours do so with health, strength, courage and joy.

May the Holy One bring us and all of the world peace.