It is a pretty common scene, I think: early on a Friday evening, (tired) families gather for a short service before the ‘main’ worship service. Before it begins, we play simple, upbeat, Shabbat…music while the parents schmooze and settle, the kids color name tags. We always start a few minutes after the "start" time because "Jewish" time + getting kids in car seats = tardiness. The sanctuary has the first few rows of chairs removed, leaving a carpet where kids can sit and move, with chairs on… >> Read More
June is here and it's time for sandals, sunscreen, and lots of outdoor fun. You can celebrate Shabbat outdoors in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Long Island, groove to an outdoor concert with Joanie Leeds…& The Nightlights in Westchester, or do a mitzvah while getting some exercise at family-friendly 5K’s in Staten Island and Long Island. Be sure to mark your calendars for the 2nd annual PJ Library Story in the Square series in Union Square Park, featuring live music and stories every Thursday at 2 p.m. from June… >> Read More
I work full-time. Well, more than full-time really. I’m the primary wage earner in our house and, often, my weeks end in a blazing fury of activity so that I can make it out of my office in time to…meet the school bus on Friday afternoons. The kids rollick in the door and, depending on the weather and their mood, I prepare Shabbat dinner to a soundtrack of slamming doors as they come in and out, giggling and playing or, on a bad week, waging sibling battles that descend into a vortex of screaming… >> Read More
When I was growing up, “Shabbat” meant Shabbat dinner. We didn’t do it every week, but I loved it when we did: I reveled in the exotic beauty of it all: the golden braided challah, the scent of…my mother’s chicken soup. I enjoyed the novelty of eating in the dining room for a change, and relished the magical moment when my mother would light the battered silver candlesticks her grandmother had brought over from Poland. Years later, I recalled the beauty of those Friday nights when I learned the famous Midrash that… >> Read More
My mom always told me that I could go anywhere in the world, enter a synagogue and feel a part of the Jewish community there, through familiar Hebrew prayers and songs.
When I arrived in New Delhi…at the Judah Hyam Synagogue, I felt her presence as we began saying the Shema. I noticed that, Eli, the Indian Jewish young man who was leading our service, covered his eyes in a way I had never seen before. He made the letter “shin” on his forehead by folding his thumb and pinky and… >> Read More