Judaism features

The idea that faith ignores at its peril

By Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, October 11, 2012

Nothing is such a test of our humanity, and religion, as whether we can be true to the first mention of the human being in the Bible. It’s not a commandment, just a statement: God makes man in God’s image.

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Why Simchat Torah is an affair of the heart

By Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, October 10, 2012

At Simchat Torah, death and life are linked by just two beats of the heart. Our Torah reading cycle reaches its final episode, the death of Moses. A single heartbeat later, we are once again “In the beginning”, as we restart the cycle, affirming life through Bereshit, the Creation of the world.

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Why Succot is like Halloween

By Dr Raphael Zarum, September 27, 2012

What is the relationship between Succot and the Days of Awe? The common perception is that while Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are spiritual festivals that remind us of our mortality (“Who will live and who will die?”) Succot is a physical festival full of vitality.

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To be a Jew is to swim against the current

By Lord Sacks, September 20, 2012

To those who fully open themselves to it, Yom Kippur is a life-transforming experience. It tells us that God, who created the universe in love and forgiveness, reaches out to us in love and forgiveness, asking us to love and forgive others.

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The limits of forgiveness

By Rabbi Gideon Sylvester, September 13, 2012

It’s the season of forgiveness, are we ready to forgive? It’s not always easy to let go of our resentment and bitterness towards those who have hurt us. Sometimes the scars are permanent. Can those who have suffered loss and injury in war and terrorism ever find it in their hearts to forgive? Should they even try?

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Positive thinking for Rosh Hashanah

By Simon Rocker, September 13, 2012

It is not always easy to get in the mood for Rosh Hashanah. The sound of the shofar piercing the hush of the congregation may stir something deep within us: or we may be roused by a haunting melody from the choir. But the liturgy can seem long and difficult and ultimately leave us struggling to find the high in the High Holy Days.

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The inside story of choosing a Chief Rabbi

By Dr Meir Persoff, September 7, 2012

In October 1988, some eighteen months before Chief Rabbi Lord Jakobovits was due to retire, the United Synagogue launched the search for his successor.

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Time to put the poetry back into our prayers

By Rabbi Dr Jeffrey Cohen, August 30, 2012

I love both English and Hebrew poetry, especially sacred Hebrew poetry, which has a very long tradition stretching back to the Bible.

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How do you sum up Judaism on one leg?

By Keith Kahn-Harris, August 21, 2012

When I was approached to write a short introductory guide to Judaism, my first reactions were merely practical: could I complete it by the deadline? Were the publishers offering enough money?

Did I know enough to write it without extensive research? And finding the answers to be yes, I accepted the commission without too much thought.

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The shuls where the rabbi says 'Let's dance'

By Simon Rocker, August 3, 2012

Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue is a byword for genteel respectability, zealously guarded by its inhabitants. The kind of neighbourhood where every bush is trim and no brick out of place. So the local United Synagogue, too, you might imagine would be a bastion of conservatism, the eptiome of the decorous traditions of Minhag Anglia.

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