Spirituality and Religious Life

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Boston Fashion Week Logo

When the Jewish calendar and the fashion calendar conflict: My letter to Boston Fashion Week

Kate Bigam

Last week, I received an invitation to attend Fall... In Love With Fashion, billed as "a fun and chic night of fashion at Northshore Mall complete with runway fashion shows, hors d'oeuvres, cocktails & much more!" Sounds fun, right? I thought so, too, & was planning to attend - until I realized that the event falls on September 29th, which is Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest of Jewish holidays.

Etta King and Her Mom, Yael

Righteously bouncing back: What baking challah means to me

Etta King Heisler

The first thing you should know about making challah is this: DO NOT BE AFRAID! I find that many people are intimidated by the thought of making their own challah.

Rosh Hashanah video roundup

Kate Bigam

If YouTube searches are any indication, we Jews love making music videos, and holidays offer the perfect opportunity to create new ones and hope they go viral.

Moroccan Swiss Chard Salad (Salade de Blettes)

Eating Jewish: North African salads for Rosh Hashanah

Katherine Romanow

Not only is it almost the beginning of a new year, but the weather is beginning to change and the tomatoes, zucchini and corn that have been so plentiful over the summer are being replaced by squash, apples, pears, figs and a multitude of other autumn fruits and vegetables. The availability of all this fantastic produce has made the High Holidays one of my favorite times on the Jewish calendar to be cooking. This is especially true for Rosh Hashanah, when the food symbolism of the holiday necessitates the use of seasonal fruits and vegetables.

"Estie the Mensch" cover by Jane Kohuth, 2011

Interview with Jane Kohuth: "Estie the Mensch"

Leah Berkenwald

Estie would rather be a dog or a turtle or a monkey than a person.

The G-D Project Logo

The G-D Project: So far, short on women's voices

Kate Bigam

It’s no breaking news that social media has changed the way communities of faith interact.

Jewpiter Photoshop

Ultra-Orthodox photoshop of horrors: Round 2

Leah Berkenwald

In May, the Hasidic Jewish newspaper, Der Tzitung, made a lot of people angry by photoshopping Hillary Clinton out of a photo in the name of tzniut, or modesty. Within days, the incident spawned a fabulous internet meme where people photoshopped women out of iconic images. The point that photoshop should not be used to erase or alter women in images as to rewrite history or reality was made ... or so we thought.

Mengedarrah

Eating Jewish: Mengedarrah for Tisha B’Av

Katherine Romanow

I wanted to write an Eating Jewish post about Tisha b’Av, yet as I started looking through my various cookbooks, I noticed that most of them had no mention of the holiday. It was often missing from the index and even recipes containing ingredients that would usually be included in a dish prepared on Tisha b'Av had no mention of it. I did find mention of Tisha b’Av in Gil Marks' Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, which devotes an entry to it (there’s a reason I’m constantly referring to this book) as well as in his cookbook The World of Jewish Food.

Tisha B'Av and 9/11

Rabbi Lori Koffman

This was originally posted at Mamash and Rabbis for Human Rights-North America.

“A day of darkness and gloom; a day of cloud and shadows; spread like soot over the hills…their vanguard a consuming fire, in their wake a devouring flame”

These are the words of the Hebrew prophet Joel. The Tradition tells us that this, Joel’s prophecy, portended the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE; scholars, however, claim that these words are more probably a report on the devastation and destruction that the enemy, Babylon, actually wrought upon the Jews.

Gay, Jewish New Yorkers: Mazel tov to the newlyweds!

Kate Bigam

Maybe you’ve heard: As of last Sunday, same-sex marriage became legal in the state of New York. The law, which passed in June, went into effect over the weekend.

Let’s recap some of the Jewish highlights this new law brought about, shall we? There are quite a few of them!

Julie Rosewald

Julie Rosewald: America's first woman cantor

Judith S. Pinnolis

She wrote a book. She was an actress. She sang opera. She became a professor. She toured the world by herself. She paid her own way. She was a musical superstar.

Ellyn Polsky and George Kelley at JWA's 2011 Summer Institute for Educators

JWA's Institute for Educators: Making it all about the learning

George Kelley

Last week I was able to spend a week learning from the wonderful people at the Jewish Women's Archive as they were teaching us how to use their online archive in our schools, especially the Living the Legacy curriculum. The curriculum teaches about the role of Jewish women and men in the civil rights movement, an event that changed the world we live in.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," Part II, 2011

Harry Potter: Four progressive lessons for the Jewish Community

Leah Berkenwald

Last weekend the eighth and final Harry Potter movie hit theaters. In the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling created a magical alternate universe.

Bejma (Tunisian Shabbat Bread)

Eating Jewish: Shabbat bread done differently

Katherine Romanow

When I think of Shabbat dinner, one of the first things that comes to mind is the sweet, dense challah that I love so much. It has become so popular that it can be purchased in bakeries all week long, and like many of the iconic Jewish foods of North America (bagels, knishes, pastrami, and smoked meat, to name a few) it was introduced by members of the European Jewish community.

"My Bat Mitzvah Story" Logo

Bat Mitzvah: A Balancing Act

Etta King Heisler

A few months back, I dragged my 12-year-old, Harry-Potter-enthusiast sister to go with me to see the new Disney princess movie Tangled (which retells the Rapunzel story). In one part of the film, Rapunzel has just escaped from the tower against her mother's wishes and is encountering the World, and her independence, for the first time. (Watch the clip here.) While her companion patiently waits for her to come to terms with her new-found freedom, Rapunzel goes from one extreme to the other, from excitement to shame and worry.

Domestic Abuse: “That Doesn’t Happen Here”

Kate Bigam

I confess that even at age 26, my usual reading list consists of young adult science fiction novels, usually set in the future (see: The Uglies series, The Hunger Games series, The Mortal Instruments series, and so on. Stop judging me – I want to be a YA author!) Recently, though, I challenged myself to break out of my comfort zone and read a few more adult novels, which led me to “The Murderer’s Daughters.”

Natalie Portman at the Toronto International Film Festival, 2010

Natalie's baby: Who cares if the father's not Jewish?

Kenny Steven Fuentes

Last week, the tabloid world went abuzz over news that Natalie Portman had given birth to her first child, a baby boy fathered by Benjamin Millepied. Portman and I have had a tumultuous relationship over the years. Had this news broken back when I was a young lad 13 years of age, I'd have been heart broken. However, due to my current status as a 25 year old cynic, I find myself barely registering this news. I pay no mind to most celebrity gossip, and politely decline to partake in most related discussions.

When synagogues downsize, women rabbis are the first to go

Leah Berkenwald

Rabbi Charni Flame Selch lost her job when her synagogue, Bnai Emet Synagogue in St. Louis Park, MN, merged with a nearby Minnetonka congregation. A recent article in the Star Tribune suggests that the economic recession is making the road even harder for female rabbis.

Rabbi Kleinbaum at Gay Marriage Demontration

Reinventing Rituals: June, a month of Pride and same-sex marriages

Elyssa Cohen

June is full of irony: not only is June Pride month, but it is also the unofficial start to wedding season. So many are still fighting for equal marriage. As I write this, lawmakers in Albany are struggling to garner enough votes to make same-sex marriage legal in New York state (see resources to get involved at the end of this post).

Brit Milah

About Circumcision

Galit Breen

A proposal to ban circumcision will be on the San Francisco ballot this November.

As a Jewish Mama, my response should fall somewhere along the lines of outrage and a head-tisk.

And as a bleeding heart Mama, my response should be somewhere in the range of agreement and an apology to my son.

I whole-heartdely feel all of these emotions. In other words, I’m conflicted.

I don’t agree with the circumcision ban. But you might be surprised why.

"Half You Half Me" Girls in Trouble Album Cover, 2011

Girls in Trouble: Telling women’s stories in a ‘language’ I understand

Etta King Heisler

“The world is woven through us/I swear I wont forget/how her fingers hold the thread.” This is the final line of the song “Rubies,” off the amazing sophomore album "Half You Half Me" by the group Girls in Trouble, released on JDUB records earlier this month.

In a new light: Avivah Zornberg and the tale of Joseph

Susan Reimer-Torn

I have long seen myself as the dissident daughter of an orthodox father, a truant who broke her father’s heart by turning my back on his cherished orthodoxy and living a more experimental way of life. It is therefore a delicate matter, this fascination of mine with the Other Daughter – the good girl – the one whose father did not call out after her in censure, the one whose aptitude for learning was cultivated on her father’s knee, the one who no doubt offered both her parents much solace.

Parshat Emor: What it means to leave a legacy

Elyssa Cohen

In our lives:
This past week we have seen a “modern” example of sacrifice upon hearing the news of American troops killing Osama Bin Laden. All week I reflected on what Osama’s life meant and the legacy he would be remembered by. Reading countless news articles caused me to question, was Osama happy? And, although the US spent a decade hunting him, did our country do the right thing by killing him? These are not easy questions, and there may not be easy answers.

Shabbat at Planned Parenthood

Chanel Dubofsky

The people awake at 7:15 a.m., when I left the house this past Saturday morning, were walking their dogs, washing off the streets in front of their stores and picking up a bite to eat.

"The Songs of Joy," by James Jacques Joseph Tissot

The confrontational face of Miriam

Susan Reimer-Torn

When we are first introduced to Miriam in the Bible, the times are bleak. The Egyptian Pharaoh has decreed that all baby boys born to the Hebrew slaves be immediately put to death.

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