The Revelation in Sci-Fi

The Revelation in Sci-Fi

May 22, 2015 By Ryan Dulkin | Commentary | Shavuot

As the sun rises over a craggy, barren landscape, the first rays of light penetrate the cavernous sleeping quarters of a family of primates. Off in the distance arise the sounds of an other worldly choir, an inchoate chorus. Agitated, the apes approach the entrance of their cave, situated on the side of a desert mountain, and find a mysterious object—a thin, pitch-black, rectangular monolith—standing erect, singing to them. 

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Yikzkor: The Order of Giving

Yikzkor: The Order of Giving

Apr 15, 2001 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Pesah | Shavuot | Shemini Atzeret | Yom Kippur

Synagogue attendance always swells at Yizkor. No matter how attenuated our sense of being Jewish, we are drawn back for a moment to offer a prayer (“may God remember”) in memory of those we have loved and lost. The observance ofYahrzeit and Yizkor remains hallowed. The proximity of death still fills us with reverence if not foreboding.

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The Sanctity of the Land

The Sanctity of the Land

Apr 30, 1994 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Emor | Pesah | Shavuot | Sukkot

At the new Jewish Museum one can feast on the panorama of Jewish history in a single spectacular, permanent exhibition, subtly conceived and brilliantly executed. It opens with a replica of an ancient agrarian calendar found in 1908 at Gezer, northwest of Jerusalem in the Shefela region. Written in good biblical Hebrew, the calendar seems to date from the 10th century B.C.E., coinciding with the reign of Solomon, when Gezer became part of the expanding monarchy of Israel. The calendar may not be anything more than a mnemonic ditty for children, and yet it is a cultural artifact of rich significance.

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Whose Land?

Whose Land?

May 6, 2006 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Kedoshim | Shavuot

Over the past few weeks, immigration and the protection of foreign workers have taken center stage on the American political scene. Far from being a distant, abstract philosophical conversation, the issue is one that the Jewish community has wrestled with throughout its many years of wandering. Indeed, this is a topic that touches the heart and soul of our people.

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Living Judaism As a Work of Art

Living Judaism As a Work of Art

May 14, 1994 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Bemidbar | Shavuot

When I was a youngster, Shavuot was the time for confirmation, a ceremony concocted in the nineteenth century along Protestant lines to replace bar-mitzvah and enhance synagogue attendance on the holiday, for Shavuot never enjoyed the popularity of Pesah. But a brief two days, it flits by without the elaborate ritual drama or stirring universal message of Pesah. The synagogue is its primary venue and there is little for us to do at home, except to enjoy the restful interlude with family and friends.

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Lessons From the Book of Ruth

Lessons From the Book of Ruth

Jun 12, 2005 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Shavuot

Sharing our possessions is not a disposition that comes naturally.

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Why We Eat Dairy on Shavu’ot

Why We Eat Dairy on Shavu’ot

Jun 7, 2003 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Shavuot

The menu for the first day of Shavuot is customarily restricted to dairy dishes. While a plethora of explanations has been generated to account for the practice, I prefer the most serious one. Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, the governing covenant between God and Israel, the constitution of the Jewish polity. The event marks the adoption of a religious regimen that would henceforth define the borders of individual and group behavior. That to which the Israelites were formerly entitled is no longer permitted.

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The Righteous Convert Of Vilna

The Righteous Convert Of Vilna

May 21, 2014 By David Fishman | Short Video | Shavuot

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