September 26, 2001 |
This month's terrorist attacks and war preparations have brought not only a resurgence of prayer, but a renewal of the tradition of fasting by some Christians. The practice, emerging particularly in evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity, calls on members to hold private but synchronized fasts as a way to deepen the sincerity of their prayers for the bereaved families and the nation's leaders. Some groups have been holding strict 24-hour fasts, much as Jews will do for Yom Kippur beginning tonight.
August 31, 2001 |
Samuel Salzman, 88, who lost a job in a plant closing and later dedicated his retirement to working for unions in the belief they protect jobs, died Tuesday of respiratory failure at Lankenau Hospital. Mr. Salzman, who grew up in Strawberry Mansion, had been a resident of West Philadelphia. If there was a picket line to walk or a leaflet to hand out, Mr. Salzman was available for duty - as an official of United Auto Workers Local 918, which is made up entirely of retirees.
October 9, 2000 |
As clashes between Palestinians and Israelis continued half-a-world away, Yom Kippur services for the Chestnut Hill synagogue Mishkan Shalom began last night with two special guests: a Palestinian and the Lebanese head of a Philadelphia Arab American group. The two men - Marwan Kreidie of the Philadelphia Arab-American Community Development Corp. and Samir Salah, a member of the Palestinian American Congress - joined Rabbi Brian Walt for a moving candle-lighting ceremony, lighting one candle to remember those killed in the conflicts and another candle to pray for peace in the region.
October 9, 2000 |
Yom Kippur marks a Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the Jewish year. It is a time for fasting, intense prayer and reflection. Jews around the world separate themselves from the distractions of everyday life to focus on their relationships with God. It is a time to look back on the failures and sins of the past year, and to seek God's forgiveness for them. In Philadelphia, the solemn prayer day was tinged with grief for the unrest in the Middle East, where tensions continued to rise last night as the clock ticked on an Israeli ultimatum that the Palestinians cease their violence by a deadline set for today.
October 8, 2000 |
Although modern psychology frequently encourages people not to beat themselves up for failures and shortcomings, Jewish rituals on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement that begins at sundown tonight, tell Jews that's exactly what they should do once a year: beat themselves up, literally and figuratively. You shall have a holy convocation, and you shall afflict your souls. . . . Different Jewish communities have developed different traditions for fulfilling this Yom Kippur mandate, found in the Book of Numbers (29:7)
October 6, 2000 |
The holiest of Jewish holidays is colliding once again with a deep-rooted conflict, as local congregations prepare for Yom Kippur services against a backdrop of hostilities in the Middle East. "This is a holiday for introspection and for evaluating life and one's role in life," said Barry Morrison, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith. But though Yom Kippur is largely a time for personal reconciliation with God, Morrison said it's also "a good opportunity to think about what contributions one can make in a small way, if not a global way, to address the problems between Jew and Muslim, Palestinian and Israeli.
September 24, 2000 |
Next month, just a few weeks after the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, Theodore Bikel will begin a national tour of the bittersweet musical Fiddler on the Roof, reprising his role as Tevye the milkman. "Everyone is a fiddler on the roof," he'll explain in his 1,600th performance of the part, "trying to scratch out a simple tune without breaking his neck. . . . And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word. . . . Tradition!" Bikel, in a recent interview that began at Tifereth Israel, a Sephardic temple in West Los Angeles and concluded at Jerry's Deli in West Hollywood, reflected on Jewish tradition, the High Holy Days, and the Teyves of numerous Jewish generations.
September 24, 2000 |
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish holy day that ushers in the most hallowed 10 days in the Jewish calendar, begins this year at sundown Friday. This period of prayer and introspection, called the Days of Awe, ends at sundown Oct. 9, after the Yom Kippur fast. Jews believe that during the Days of Awe a heavenly tribunal judges everyone's fate for the coming year, which explains why the traditional Rosh Hashanah Hebrew greeting asks that loved ones be inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year.
August 14, 2000 |
For months, George W. Bush and Al Gore have been traversing the country touting their boundless capacity for leadership. For months, it sounded hollow, almost comical. After all, neither man's job lends itself to great leadership. The governorship of Texas is one of the weaker executive positions in the country. And the main function of the vice presidency, the most hapless job this side of Prince of Wales, is cheerleading. Which is what makes the last two political week so extraordinary.
August 8, 2000 |
I was talking to a well-placed Democrat last week who happens to worship in the same Washington synagogue as Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman. We were musing about how momentous it would be for Lieberman to be on the Gore ticket. "Do you think," my friend wondered aloud, "that America is ready for this kind of Jew?" We'll soon find out. And the prospect is thrilling. I'll defer to those who live and breathe politics to assess Lieberman's selection as the vice-presidential nominee for a presidential campaign desperately in need of spark and momentum.