Ritual

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Collection

Anita Diamant

Anita Diamant is a novelist, feminist, and liberal Jew who has written five novels, the best known of which is The Red Tent (1997), made into an American television miniseries (2014). She is the author of many books Jewish self-help books, the best known of which is The New Jewish Wedding. She is the founding president of Mayyim Hayyim, the Living Waters Community Mikveh and Education Center.

Ministering Women and Their Mirrors

Women who ministered at the entrance of the Tabernacle gathered around to donate their copper mirrors (Exodus 38:8), which were then smelted down to make the basin where the priests would wash before entering the sanctuary. The women may have served as guards, warding off evil with their mirrors. Midrash, however, conjectures that the women used these mirrors to seduce their husbands in Egypt, raising up the hosts of Israelites.

Maya Stutman-Shaw Wearing Tefillin with a Friend at the Western Wall

My "Girl Power" Tefillin Journey: Wearing Davening Attire as a Girl

Ma'ayan Stutman-Shaw

One day, I hope to walk into an egalitarian Jewish space with my tallit on my shoulders and my kippah on my head.

Topics: Feminism, Ritual
Close up image of Shoshanah Curiel-Alessi's tie-dyed pink and purple tallit

How My Bat Mitzvah Tallit Helped Me Find My Voice

Shoshanah Curiel-Alessi

This prayer shawl was the antithesis of everything I’d told myself I was supposed to be; it challenged tradition, caught attention, and took up space.

Louise Glück

Louise Glück, American poet, essayist, and educator, is the recipient of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature, as well as numerous other awards for her writing; she also served as poet laureate of the United States from 2003 to 2004. One finds the personal, the mythological, and the Biblical woven intricately throughout Glück’s oeuvre.

Virtual High Holidays Graphic

The High Holidays Go Virtual: Three Rabbis on Jewish Ritual during a Pandemic

Elana Moscovitch

JWA talks to three rabbis about how Judaism has changed, and stayed the same, during the pandemic.

Small Shabbat candles

Grounding in Ritual: Shabbat During Coronavirus

Isabel Hoffman

Even after the hardest, most boring, or most heart-wrenching weeks, Shabbat is calmly awaiting me at the end.

Star of David at Synagogue

Keeping the Faith While Social Distancing

Jennifer Greenberg

How have Jewish rituals adapted as humanity moves indoors?

Topics: Ritual

Episode 36: Relearning to Wash Our Hands (Transcript)

Episode 36: Relearning to Wash Our Hands (Transcript)

Episode 36: Relearning to Wash Our Hands

We're facing a global pandemic, the likes of which most of us have never lived through. In these unsettling days, community healer and spiritual leader Dori Midnight brings us this prayer for relearning to wash our hands. We hope this poem helps you find the thread of love in this tangle of anxiety.

Tarot cards

Divination: It’s More Jewish Than You Think

Sophie Hurwitz

These days, everyone at my college seems to be interested in tarot card reading.

Topics: Ritual
Tiffany Shlain with "Technology Shabbats" sign

Tech Shabbat: Seeing the Light

Tiffany Shlain

Author Tiffany Shlain shares lessons she's learned from practicing "Tech Shabbat" for over 10 years.

Topics: Ritual, Non-Fiction
old television

Sitting Shiva for TV

Ilana Diamant

To lose a character to death or a show to the fickle whims of network executives is devastating.

Topics: Television, Ritual
Mezuzah mounted on wooden door frame. Scroll visible, in a test tube-like vial corked on light blue wood decorated with pomegranates and Star of Davids.

My Matriarchal Mezuzah

Eleanor Harris

Inhaling the sweet scents of Nachalat Binyamin in Tel Aviv, I searched for the perfect new mezuzah. 

Topics: Family, Israel, Ritual
Rising Voices Fellow Emma Cohn with father

How Jewish Are You?

Emma Cohn

I have spent the last year learning that we are all at different places in our Jewish education; we have all had different sets of experiences. And they are all valid.

Phonetic Spelling of Privilege

Privilege and the Chosen People

Ava Berkwits

I feel as if I won the lottery by being born Jewish, as so many of my most cherished memories and values are inherently tied to this part of my identity. As proud as I am of my Jewish identity, I’ve always been troubled by one of the fundamental ideas in Judaism: that Jews are “the chosen people.”

Episode 26: A Thanksgiving Seder

The Lauter and Rosenblit families have been celebrating Thanksgiving together for decades. This year will be no different. Together, they will eat turkey, discuss what it means to be a Jewish American, and have a Thanksgiving... seder.

Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler's Family Menorah

Building a Home

Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler

As a former Gender Studies major, I have a lot of hang-ups about the concept of building a home. ... I don’t know what kind of Jewish household I’m going to run yet—but I do know the joys of tradition, both old and new, are hardwired in me.

"TALIT"

A Fringe of Her Own: An Interview with Tamar Paley

Judith Rosenbaum

If women had a say in the creation of these ritual objects, how would they look and feel? I began by trying to figure out how women around me today are experiencing their spirituality. And as a jewelry designer, I was also thinking about how this material feels on the body, where it is worn ...

Elaine Zecher

Rabbi Elaine Zecher’s own experiences as a breast cancer survivor have shaped both her career as a congregational rabbi and her work in helping create new rituals to honor both illness and healing.

Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah

As both one of the first women and one of the first openly gay rabbis to be ordained in Britain, Elli Tikvah Sarah has shattered assumptions about what it means to be part of—and to lead—the Jewish community.

Barbara Penzner

Rabbi Barbara Penzner has been a moral force for her congregation, leading it in multiple actions to uphold human rights around the world and in the local community.

Haviva Ner-David

Rabbi Haviva Ner-David chronicled her struggles to become an Orthodox woman rabbi in her celebrated book Life on the Fringes: A Feminist Journey Toward Traditional Rabbinic Ordination before finally achieving her dream in 2006.
Anita Diamant With the Jewish Wedding Now

An Interview with Anita Diamant

Rabbi Leah Berkowitz

The latest edition, The Jewish Wedding Now, came out this month, and I was delighted to interview Diamant after hearing her speak to the Women’s Rabbinic Network at our biennial convention.

Rochel Berman

Resisting taboos around discussing death, Rochel Udovich Berman has worked to educate people on Jewish funerary practices and encourage them to participate in the mitzvah of caring for the dead.

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