Genesis contains two Creation stories that are totally different.
Category Archives: Religion, spirituality, and Jewish life
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 forces compromises in Jewish Sabbath observance that water down the spiritual separation between the sacred time and the everyday week.
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.
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.
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..
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.
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.
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.
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.