September 16, 2002
Do we come before God only in our own name? What about all those who remain outside, those who are found in a spiritual wasteland, without any way to approach or relate to the holy? Even when we do pray for them, is our prayer free of smugness? Do we really accept that we could just as easily have been in their shoes? . . . May it be His Will that we, as a community and as individuals, merit to perform a personal accounting of our souls, and that the Merciful One will accept graciously our repentance and our prayer.
September 15, 2002 |
Yom Kippur, which arrives at sundown today, is the holiest day of the Jewish year. Most people understand that the solemn Day of Atonement is a time for fasting, prayer, reflection and inner purification. But Rabbi Eliyahu Bergstein, an Orthodox Hasidic teacher, says the day contains "deeper mysteries" and opportunities than many Jews might appreciate. In a Yom Kippur warm-up talk here Thursday, the New York-based rabbi took listeners on a mystical soul trip that is the Hasidic tradition's specialty.
September 14, 2002 |
Having gazed once again at images of the collapsing towers of the World Trade Center, or having watched Wednesday's memorial services, many Americans may find it appropriate that the first anniversary of last year's Sept. 11 attacks fell in the midst of the Jewish "Days of Awe. " This year's Days of Awe - a period of introspection spanning the High Holidays - began at sundown Sept. 6 with Rosh Hashanah and will conclude Monday with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It is the holiest day of the year in the Jewish liturgical calendar: the day God is said to seal the Book of Life, with the names of who will live and who will die in the year to come.
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.