Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Holiday discussion of Ritual

Thanksgiving is a good time to talk about rituals. Because there is very little in the form of set liturgy or tradition (other than menu and travel), it's a great time to see a lot of diversity and difference among families, who cherish those rituals they've inculcated for themselves.

With that in mind, a couple of links to help us.

First, my friend Rabbi Phyllis (of ima on the bima) shares her Thanksgiving 'Seders' on her blog here.

Second is Rabbi Hayim Herring's exploration of new rituals at his blog, Tools for Shuls, here.

And finally, as we at CBE continue to test Mishkan T'fillah, you can find it on Google Books (at least in chunks) here.

Finally, a question: what are the rituals that you look forward to, that make the holiday (or Shabbat, or a different holiday or life cycle event) meaningful for you? What would it mean to change those rituals, either by introducing new ones, or taking old ones away?

May you have a day full of gratitude, family and food.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blessing for Non-Jewish Spouses

Tomorrow night is our Interfaith Family Shabbat (look it up on, where we will celebrate the non-Jewish parents and spouses who have chosen to share themselves and commit to this community. I've spoken about blessing non-Jews on the bimah before, so I won't belabor that point. but I would like to share some words (specifically, Rabbi Janet Marder of Temple Beth Am in California) of why this is an important and significant moment in the life of this congregation.

We are blessed to have those who, in choosing to marry a Jewish person, have chosen to commit themselves to the Jewish people and to our congregation. While they have not converted, they live Jewish lives, support Jewish spouses and family members, raise Jewish children, and have chosen, in loving a Jewish individual, to love us as a people. I can't think of anything more worthy of a congregation's blessing, but as they used to say on Reading Rainbow, you don't have to take my word for it. Read Rabbi Marder's blessing below.

Blessing for Non-Jewish Spouses—Yom Kippur Morning - URJ

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Long overdue post

I know, I know. I'm, like, the only blogger who went to the URJ Biennial in Toronto and didn't blog about it, yet.

Needless to say, it was pretty amazing, despite my sore throat (and sounding like I swallowed a wood chipper) and only being there through Friday morning. It's always great to learn from--and hang out with--old friends and colleagues who are, on the whole, way better at this whole rabbi thing than I am. So always glad to learn from them.

Also was happy to see my dad's (which is to say, the Jewish Welfare Board's) display and their Torah for the Troops project (which was also presented at the GA). Make sure you take a gander (we may even find a way to get them here!).