What Is that Flame-Like Light Above the Ark? Published August 24-25, 2018.
In our Faye Rubenstein Weiss Sanctuary, a beautiful room, the flame-like wrought-iron light above the Ark is the Ner Tamid, the Eternal Light. We have Eternal Lights above the Arks in all our praying spaces. Flames have played an important symbolic role in Judaism. In the Temple in Jerusalem there was of course fire for […]
What Is Inside that Mezuzah? Originally Published August 17-18, 2018.
A mezuzah (מְזוּזָה , literally “door jamb,” pluralמְזוּזוֹת mezuzot) consists of a piece of parchment enclosed in a case. The parchment (the “klaf”) holds verses from Devarim (Deuteronomy) 6:4-9 and 11:13-21. Included in those verses is the Shema, which tells us to affix “these words” - the instructions to love and teach and talk, etc., […]
What Is My Hebrew Name? What Is Yours? Originally published August 10, 2018
A Hebrew name is chosen, generally by parents, as are other names. A convert to Judaism chooses a Hebrew name, too. Jews have a tradition of naming after someone special who has gone before, as a way of perpetuating that person’s “good name.” Ashkenazi Jews generally do not name after living persons. (Yes, there are […]
Why Do We Sing “Tzur Yisrael” just before the Amidah, and Why Is that Berakhah After It? Originally published August 3-4, 2018
At the end of the pages of the Shema, on page 158 in Siddur Lev Shalem, we call out to God - usually in full-throated deep voice - requesting that God, our “Rock” or “Stronghold,” arise and help us, and redeem Judah and the people Israel as promised. We then refer to God as our […]