May an uncircumcised Jew have an aliyah, serve as a sheliah tzibbur, have a Bar Mitzvah, a Jewish wedding or burial? Does it make a difference if he or his parents refused to circumcise him for ideological reasons or if he was prevented from having a brit milah [circumcision] by outside forces, such as the Soviet regime?
How should a young Jewish Israeli girl celebrate her bat mitzvah? The answer to this question is clear to members of the Conservative and Reform movements. The young girl will celebrate the same way her brother does his bar mitzvah. She will learn the blessings for being called up to the Torah, and may also learn the cantillation marks for reading the haftarah and perhaps the Torah portion. She may write a bat mitzvah address to be given on the Shabbat morning when she is called up to the Torah, or at the party. The aliyah can be seen as a recapitulation of being present at the revelation at Mount Sinai, and by being called up to the Torah, the bat mitzvah, like the bar mitzvah, expresses her commitment to Jewish tradition and to the Jewish people.
From the story of a life on its last journey, from words of family members gathered around the grave, rises terrible pain but also a great light. Notes from Mt. Herzl
It is customary to study Torah all night at a Tikkun Leil Shavuot. What are the sources and the customs related to this practice?
It is common practice today for a child to recite kaddish in memory of a parent for 11 months, even though the normal period of mourning is 12 months. How long should a child recite kaddish for a parent and why?
Within the plethora of discussion in Rabbinic literature about rain and the water supply, two main approaches are discernible: rain as a divine omen to be understood in a spiritual sense, and as a vital resource to be managed using worldly tools. Did the Rabbis sense a tension between these two?
Separating the study of the seder into two separate fields – one that examines the history of the seder, and one that examines the meaning of the seder and how we observe it today – is an unnecessary and fruitless separation. By understanding how our ancestors celebrated this night, and allowing this understanding to inform our modern customs, we emerge with a richer perspective on our history and observance of the evening’s rituals.