Secular Israeli Yom Kippur

Bicycle Day There is a fascinating Israeli cultural phenomenon that I would like to share with you, which occurs annually on the day of Yom Kippur, which is the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. Now, without getting into details, suffice it to say that Yom Kippur has very strict religious restrictions, which include all… Continue reading Secular Israeli Yom Kippur

Unavoidable, or: Premonition

An American sentence Hauling heavy loads in Jerusalem's heat before fasting? Mistake. What's an 'American Sentence'? Allen Ginsberg, inventor of the American Sentence, felt that the haiku didn’t work as well in English. Ginsberg decided to remove the line structure of the haiku, maintaining the requirement of 17 syllables total. He felt that removing the… Continue reading Unavoidable, or: Premonition

He was supposed to teach her math

I took notice that our 5⅔-year-old was using the word 'half' and the word 'part' interchangeably and decided that the time had come to set her straight on the matter. She's quite bright and loves learning new concepts so it wasn't at all challenging to pique her curiosity. However, she hadn't yet encountered fractions so,… Continue reading He was supposed to teach her math

With, or: Without them

I want to want repentance I want to want God I want to want to pray at all But that is all I've got A Jew can just excuse himself A Jew can disbelieve A Jew can just participate To find some small relief Ours is not a religion Ours is not merely faith Ours… Continue reading With, or: Without them

The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 7

Last Shabbat was Shabbat Shuva, which is the Shabbat between Rosh HaShanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), and a member of the community shared a brief drasha (words of Torah) with the kehila (congregation) on Friday evening. To my mind, her question was classic and critical: Which is the holier day—Yom Kippur or Shabbat? Shabbat is mentioned… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 7