High Holidays

Wandering Jews: Former Tucsonans thrive in new locales – Yizhar Hess

Yizhar Hess, executive director of the Masorti movement in Israel, right, with then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in Jerusalem at the Bar Mitzvah of Emanuel’s son, Zach, on May 30, 2010

Yizhar Hess is the executive director and CEO of the Masorti (Conservative) movement in Israel. He is a former community shaliach and director of the Israel Center in Tucson.… Read more »

Wandering Jews: Former Tucsonans thrive in new locales – Josh Protas

Josh Protas, head of the Washington office of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, pauses in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building on Aug. 4, 2011, on his way to a meeting in the United Methodist building to discuss strategy for interfaith advocacy related to the debt “super committee” and the budget negotiations.

Josh Protas is a vice president and director of the Washington office of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. In Tucson, he was director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona and JFSA senior vice president for planning and community affairs. Previously, he… Read more »

Wave of new holiday prayer books changing the ways to worship

The Koren and "Lev Shalem" machzors are among the many High Holiday prayer books that have been published in the past year. (David A.M. Wilensky)

SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. (JTA) — New Jewish prayer books typically come in waves, the rarest of which bring new High Holidays prayer books, or machzors. The current wave has seen five new machzorim in a one-year span. Following on the heels of last year’s release of the official Conservative… Read more »

Sweet season: Apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Among the familiar customs of Rosh HaShanah is the dipping of apple pieces in honey — but what is its origin? King David had a “cake made in a pan and a sweet cake” (II Samuel 6: 15, 19) given to everyone. Hosea 3:1 identifies the… Read more »

Yom Kippur: It’s fourth and long

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Yom Kippur, the fourth quarter of the High Holidays, is coming and time is running out. Our seats are waiting, the gates are closing. Each year we look for a new way to prep for the day: Could football offer a strategy? Though Yom Kippur… Read more »

Yom Kippur without fasting: How kids can atone, too

NEW YORK (MyJewishLearning) — For most adults, the central experience of Yom Kippur is fasting. By abstaining from food and drink, we exercise control over our bodies and do not give in to our most basic impulses. This makes it pretty easy to feel the “affliction” that the Torah… Read more »

High Holidays Feature: The surprising appeal of Kol Nidre

NEW YORK (JTA) — On his way to converting to Christianity, philosopher Franz Rosenzweig attended Yom Kippur services and was so moved that he decided to remain Jewish. One look at the most famous prayer for the occasion makes it hard to believe that he did not abandon Judaism… Read more »

High Holidays Feature: Going around the world to break the fast

JERUSALEM (JTA) —  Breaking the fast has its own set of traditions. Ashkenazim usually break the fast with something salty, like herring, because they believe fish restores salt lost by the body while fasting. Herring also was the cheapest fish in Eastern Europe, where the custom originated. Egg and… Read more »

Books that made a difference — Ivan Gur-Arie

Ivan Gur-Arie

“Jewcentricity:  Why the Jews are Praised, Blamed, and Used to Explain Just About Everything” by Adam M. Garfinkle, a very readable book, encompasses historical, psychological, cultural and sociological themes. It has always intrigued me why Jews throughout history always got the limelight, for good or bad. This book certainly… Read more »

Books that made a difference — Phyllis Braun

Phyllis Braun

For me, it isn’t any one book, it is books in general — though I have fond memories of reading all of Louisa May Alcott’s works when I was a girl, despite what I see now as her somewhat overbearing preachiness. I can still remember being a pre-reader, at… Read more »

Books that made a difference — Mark Rubin

Mark Rubin

I’ve been reading for almost 50 years and will read almost anything. For pure pleasure, though, my favorites are “The Day the Goose Got Loose” by Reeve Lindbergh (Steven Kellogg, Illustrator), “The Digging-Est Dog” by Al Perkins (Eric Gurney, Illustrator) and “The Lorax” by Theodor Seuss Geisel, read aloud… Read more »

Books that made a difference — Sheila Wilensky

Sheila Wilensky

Once upon a time, I owned a children’s bookstore.  My two children grew up at Oz Books in Southwest Harbor, Maine, which I owned from 1982 to 1997. In a way, it seemed that we grew up together reading children’s books. In high school I read a lot of… Read more »

Books that made a difference — Rabbi Jason Holtz

Rabbi Jason Holtz

“As a Driven Leaf,” by Rabbi Milton Steinberg, is a 20th century book that’s a retelling of an ancient rabbinic story.  The protagonist, Elisha ben Avuyah, is a respected rabbinic scholar living in the ancient land of Israel.  Despite his traditional Jewish learning and stature in the community, he… Read more »

Books that made a difference — Steven Freedman

Steven Freedman

When I was a young boy, I would go camping with my parents, older brother and younger sister. My mother would read a book aloud as my father drove the station wagon with the camping gear neatly stowed on top. On one trip, mom read short stories by Sholom… Read more »

Books that made a difference — Rebecca Kunsberg

Rebecca Kunsberg

A friend loaned me “The History of Love,” by Nicole Krauss, and it sat on my night stand for two months. I was in grad school at the time, and didn’t have time to read a book for leisure. I finally had time between semesters, and to this day,… Read more »