High Holidays

Jewish Values and Jewish Voting

Every four years, the intersection appears: the Days of Awe cross paths with the final weeks of the presidential campaign. The debate grows more heated.  Talk of policy may dominate the conversation as we dip apples in honey on Rosh Hashanah or as we break the fast on Yom… Read more »

On Yom Kippur, secular Israelis pray with modern songs and bike on open roads

A young woman rides her bicycle by Azrieli Center on the car-free Ayalon highway in Tel Aviv on Yom Kippur. (Miriam Alster/Flash90/JTA)

TEL AVIV (JTA) — With its lively beaches, all-night clubs and restaurants serving ham and shrimp, Tel Aviv is a city known more for its Speedos than its spirituality. And while the Orthodox may spend Yom Kippur praying in synagogues, secular Jews are more likely to spend the Day… Read more »

You ain’t heard Kol Nidre yet

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — On Kol Nidre, we sing for our lives. At the minyan where I pray, as a lay “shaliach tzibur,” or service leader, I was asked to lead the singing this year, and I was starting to wonder if I was up to it. I wasn’t… Read more »

Confessing our sins on Yom Kippur – and remembering to act nobly

NEW YORK (JTA) — Few prayers are as well known to Jews as Ashamnu (“We have sinned …”) and Al Chet (“For the sin …”), the twin confessions of Yom Kippur. Belief in human sinfulness is more central to Judaism than we think. Sin may not be “original,” as… Read more »

Cheering the tummy after atoning: Breaking the Yom Kippur fast

The Smoked Salmon Omelet is a satisfying way to break the fast. (Ahuva Staum)

(JTA) — Yom Kippur, the most somber day of the Jewish year, is also called the Day of Atonement and reminds us that we are all accountable for our actions. The concept of New Year’s resolutions that mark our secular New Year’s Day comes from the Jewish idea of… Read more »

HIGH HOLIDAYS FEATURE: Casting away your sins at Tashlich — it’s not just fish food

On the first day or Rosh Hashanah, a body of flowing water with fish and sime bread crumbs are all that's needed to begin the transformative process of tashlich. (Edmon J. Rodman)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Can ridding oneself of a year’s sins really be as simple as tossing a piece of bread into the water? Basically that’s tashlich, or “casting away,” a custom that many Jews practice each year at the seashore, lakeshore, stream or even koi pond. Simply find… Read more »

Op-Ed: For the New Year, renew the commitment to end global hunger

NEW YORK (JTA) — In July I traveled to Ghana with 17 American rabbis. We spent 12 days constructing the walls of a school compound in partnership with a local Ghanian community ravaged by hunger, poverty and labor exploitation. More important than our efforts to mix cement and schlep… Read more »

At the New Year, let’s give animals a new Jewish chance

CHICAGO (Chicago Jewish News) — Shortly after I became a vegan, around 20 years ago, I ordered my first “vegan option” at a Jewish organizational dinner. It arrived: a plateful of raw celery and carrot sticks arranged around a cup of something ranch dressing-ish that probably wasn’t even vegan.… Read more »

Why kosher cooking is good for the soul

NEW YORK (JTA) — Cooking has been a passion for me, and passing on my knowledge and experience to a new kosher audience one of my greatest joys. When my two earlier books were published — “Kosher Cuisine” and “Helen Nash’s Kosher Kitchen” — that joy was mingled with… Read more »

Teshuvah and Penn State: the sin of rushing to judgment

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (JTA) — In our busy lives, there are lots of decisions to make. Though we know that quick judgments made without all the facts can be faulty, we do not have the time to dwell on each decision, and we learn to live with a kind… Read more »

Looking back at the highlights of 5772

NEW YORK (JTA) — The following is a review of the news highlights of the Jewish year 5772. September 2011 An Egyptian mob breaks into the Israeli Embassy in Cairo and Israeli personnel are stuck inside for hours until Egyptian commandos arrive at the scene. Israeli Air Force jets… Read more »

Putting the high back into the High Holidays

BOULDER, Colo. (JTA) — For many of us, let’s face it, the upcoming High Holidays will be anything but a high. Oh, we’ll pack every pew in the synagogues, dressed in our holiday best. We’ll be there for hours, rising when told to, sinking thankfully back into our seats,… Read more »

Sign of the times: Menu inspired by ‘simanim’ brings meaning to Rosh Hashanah meal

In this honey chicken recipe, the olive oil, soy sauce, garlic and pepper temper the honey perfectly. (Stuart Schnee)

(JTA) — So this is where it all comes together — all the thought, all the planning, the testing. And the tasting, the tasting and the tasting. (That’s the best part). A simanim-inspired menu brings added challenges, but also adds a level of meaning to your Rosh Hashanah meal. … Read more »

News Analysis: Group urges rabbis to use the bully pulpit

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (JTA) – If the Jewish Council on Public Affairs has its way, it won’t be the presidential election, the ailing economy, social justice or personal ethics that top the list of High Holidays sermon topics this year. The public policy group is hoping that the study… Read more »

From Ramadan to Elul: a California Chasid’s spiritual journey

For Lee Weissman, a Breslov Chasid in Irvine, Calif., the recent onset of Elul caps a spiritual journey he began a month earlier with the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.Weissman, a teacher at the Tarbut v’Torah Community Day School in Irvine and a scholar of Southeast… Read more »

Breaking Yom Kippur fast with international fare from Greece to Zimbabwe

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

Wandering Jews: Former Tucsonans thrive in new locales – Sari Horwitz

Washington Post reporter Sari Horwitz, center, receives congratulations in the newsroom on learning she won a 1999 Pulitzer Prize for “Deadly Force,” an investigation of D.C. police shootings. She is looking at her then-8-year-old daughter, Rachael. (Photo courtesy Sari Horwitz)

Sari Horwitz is a Pulitzer-Prize winning Washington Post reporter. She shared the 2002 Pulitzer for investigative reporting for her examination of the deaths of children in the D.C. foster care system, co-wrote an investigation of D.C. police shootings that won the 1999 Pulitzer for public service, and was a… Read more »

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

University of Memphis head basketball coach Josh Pastner, left, with Joe Jackson of the Memphis Tigers at a game against Centenary College on Nov. 12, 2010.

Josh Pastner is the head basketball coach at the University of Memphis. He is a former assistant basketball coach and player at the University of Arizona.… Read more »