Let My People Go (Отпусти народ мой) [that they may serve me]!

a growing haggadah

A new edition of A Growing Haggadah (which is still available in its 2005 HTML version) has been printed. If you are interested in having a PDF version of the text to print and use (in whole or in part) at your Seder you can download it here.

A Growing Haggadah (for family use)
A […]

how much is any life worth?

redeeming prisoners

The value of פדיון שבויים‎ (Pidyon Shvuyim, the redemption of prisoners) is very important in Jewish life. Maimonides states that it takes precedence over supporting the poor or clothing them… because the problems of the captive include those of the poor: being hungry, thirsty, unclothed, and they are in danger of their lives.

an entire […]

steve’s song

jews and judaism in american elite culture .01

On Sunday evening, November 8, 2009 I attended “Steve Reich Talks about his Jewish Music at JMF“. I was a bit surprised (after being told to reserve my free tickets in advance) that there were perhaps fifty people in the hall waiting to hear the words […]

swann song

jews and judaism in american popular culture .01
now, …with harvey and sheila!

There was a time, it feels strange to write this… a generation ago, when being Jewish was very “in“. The thing to be in America. Americans continue to, even increasingly, convert to Judaism in the 2000s. However, back in “The Sixties” some forms of […]

How did the על חטא (al ḥet) begin?

I don’t know.However, I imagine it something like this

[…from the archives (with minor updating)]:
Bethami knew the way down the narrow windswept alleyways of Tiberias blindfolded

The lapping of the tiny waves of Galilee offered a constant guide. She had walked this path many times, since her earliest years, when she went with her mother to visit […]

I am my &#9829’s and my &#9829 is mine אלול

welcome to אלול

As we begin Elul, the month before Rosh haShannah, preparations for the new year start.

blowing shofar

The Hebrew word אלול is considered an acronym for the phrase from the Song of Songs: 6:3a…

אני לדודי ודודי לי = I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.

The phrase is meant to suggest a loving […]

Hiroshima 広島市 Day ☮

The first nuclear weapon “Little Boy” was dropped on the city of Hiroshima on Monday, August 6, 1945.

nuclear disarmament lapel button

calling for nuclear disarmament then

I have a clear memory from long ago, sometime around 1959: walking with my family down Hollywood Boulevard, somewhere near Vine. We were part of a demonstration calling for […]