Category Archives: Religion, spirituality, and Jewish life

Contrasting Totally Different Creation Stories in Genesis
Religion, spirituality, and Jewish life

Contrasting Totally Different Creation Stories in Genesis

Genesis contains two Creation stories that are totally different.

You Shall Write Them on the Doorposts of Thy House
Religion, spirituality, and Jewish life

You Shall Write Them on the Doorposts of Thy House

Consecrating my friend’s new house by putting up a “mezuzah,” and going through the brief dedication ceremony, was a spiritual experience for both of us.

Modernity Waters Down the Jewish Sabbath’s Holiness
Religion, spirituality, and Jewish life

Modernity Waters Down the Jewish Sabbath’s Holiness

Modernity forces compromises in Jewish Sabbath observance that water down the spiritual separation between the sacred time and the everyday week.

Great Jewish Criminals, Then and Now
Religion, spirituality, and Jewish life

Great Jewish Criminals, Then and Now

Jews in America have achieved greatness in crime, as they have in all fields. But in the immigrant generation, Old World Jewish social norms and family structure led to less crime, alcoholism, and family violence than other immigrant groups.

Recovering from Loss in Stages with Support – Like Jews Do
Religion, spirituality, and Jewish life

Recovering from Loss in Stages with Support – Like Jews Do

Examining how Jews recover from loss — so similar to the principles of modern grief counseling — might suggest new strategies and tools that non-Jews as well as Jews can create for their individual personalities, situations, and needs.

Kaddish: A Mourner’s Prayer That Does Not Mention Death
Religion, spirituality, and Jewish life

Kaddish: A Mourner’s Prayer That Does Not Mention Death

The Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, does not mention death. Some say it is similar to the Lord’s Prayer in content and tone. It appears at many different times in many forms with different names, one of the most important in all Jewish worship. But when Jews talk about “saying Kaddish,” they always mean the mourner’s Kaddish at the end of every worship service..

“Portnoy’s Complaint” by Philip Roth Is Middle-Aged
Religion, spirituality, and Jewish life

“Portnoy’s Complaint” by Philip Roth Is Middle-Aged

The brutally frank sexuality, negative portrayal of Jews, and the dislikable, womanizing main character in “Portnoy’s Complaint” by Philip Roth stunned and outraged readers, especially Jews, in 1970. It would have not that effect today if anyone bothered to read it.

Passover, 1968 — A Life-Changing Spiritual Awakening
Religion, spirituality, and Jewish life

Passover, 1968 — A Life-Changing Spiritual Awakening

In 1970, I wrote an account of a 1968 spiritual experience that changed my life. An old friend found a copy and sent it to me during Passover week, 2012. It’s a link to a richly creative time in my life. I doubt I could write anything so lyrical or spiritual today. Ten years later, psychiatrists tried to turn the event into a symptom of a permanent brain disease.

How My Temple Cured My Passover “Ghost Sickness”
Religion, spirituality, and Jewish life

How My Temple Cured My Passover “Ghost Sickness”

Lots of Jews have emotional problems around Passover. Lots of Christians do around Christmas for the same reason. These are the big annual family holidays, celebrated mostly at home, with layers of family-specific memories and traditions. Any negative feelings people have about their families come into sharpest focus at these holidays. For many people, like me, calling these feelings “holiday blues” trivializes some serious emotional distress.

Sunday in the Park With Megan, A Photo Essay, Part 2 of 2
Religion, spirituality, and Jewish life

Sunday in the Park With Megan, A Photo Essay, Part 2 of 2

I still consider New York’s Central Park sacred space. A man-made environment God would be proud of, for physical and spiritual re-creation of a mass society, is sacred. Hosting a receptive friend on her first visit was like seeing the Park for the first time.

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