Virtual Talmud
September 2006 Archives

I don’t mean to sound heretical, but if given my druthers, I would rather Jews observe the seven days of Sukkot than the 25 hours of Yom Kippur. (Of course, I would prefer they do both, but this is one […]

It’s fascinating to see the wide range of intense emotions that fasting has generated on Virtual Talmud, from gratitude and appreciation to distaste, even disgust. I think one of the reasons we may have such strong feelings on the subject […]

Rabbi Grossman seems to fast on Yom Kippur for reasons ranging from something to do with snapping at her son to not being in the Holocaust. This is all very nice. I, too, don’t like snapping at children. And boy, […]

For Rabbi Stern, fasting on Yom Kippur is sociological and familial. He does it because the people around him are doing it. That may be enough of a reason for him, but it is certainly not for me. I fast […]

If there’s one thing American Jews and Muslims have in common, it’s that they share a very similar relationship to corporeal forms of atonement. Roughly half of the American Muslim community fasts in the month of Ramadan. The same number […]

I’m disappointed by Rabbi Stern’s pessimism. There’s no question that there is much to be dismayed about in the year that is drawing to a close, and I can’t dispute the prevailing mood of anxiety and concern. Which is why […]

Enough with the homilies. There is no high in this year’s high holy days. My fellow rabbis are missing this year’s significance: Most people who will be walking into synagogue feel a sense of loss, confusion, and bewilderment at a […]

Rabbi Waxman rightly points out some of the cognitive dissonance we confront in the High Holiday liturgy that makes it hard to get the most from services. Largely written in the Middle Ages for a population who viscerally understood their […]

This week is the final countdown to Rosh Hashanah, the day when our fates are written for the New Year. The liturgy tells us that God sits in heaven judging all people and writing our fates in a giant book–“Who […]

Check out this High Holiday video put out by Jewish Impact Films. In a much more comical way than I can describe here, the film depicts just how impossible it can be for the majority of Jews to “get into” […]