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Jewish Observance Archives

Anyone who has spent time in the pages of the Talmud and other rabbinic literature will know the distinction between halachah and aggadah — law and story. The nature of Jewish law, while being everywhere tortuously argued, is assumed otherwise […]

In Judaism, special occasions are almost invariably solemnized over a cup of wine — for example, the benediction Kiddush said at home to inaugurate the Sabbath as I’ll be doing shortly, or at Havdalah on the Sabbath’s departure. Traditionally, following […]

Recently someone — it might have been of one of our older kids — asked me why Jews both inaugurate the Sabbath over a cup of a wine (at Kiddush) and bid it farewell similarly, over a cup of wine […]

I’m kicking myself right now. An old friend from the East Coast got in touch with me about setting up her brother-in-law with an eligible and attractive single Jewish woman here in Seattle, and did I know of such a […]

Yesterday, groggy from fasting, I read a draft of an essay for a friend. I hope I was helpful in giving some comments to him. I can go relatively easily without the food and maybe the water (from dawn to dark) but […]

I attended a Chasidic wedding Tuesday night and came away with a thought about religion generally, sparked also by an insight on economics, not my own.  On Monday I heard a great lecture by my friend Jay Richards at the […]

The JTA reports — a mikveh in Montana of all places, can you imagine? Kosher Jewish marriage is impossible without one. Chabad is sniped at a lot in Jewish life, quite unfairly. Yet who else would accomplish such a thing? No […]

I love a really good teshuva (repentance) story, telling how a Jew found his way up from secularism to Judaism. One of the most fascinating I’ve read is posted on the First Things website today, by David P. Goldman (a/k/a […]

The Jewish web has been awash with excitement about the Blessing of the Sun, or Birkat Hachama, that happens only once in 28 years, on the Eve of Passover, and occurred this morning. Being the contrarian I am, I couldn’t quite […]

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