October 2009

Judaism and Mourning

Shabbat Shalom and welcome to Judeo Talk. Today I want to examine a special topic, one that concerns all people regardless of faith or culture. People of all backgrounds deal with the loss of loved ones, but every culture approaches the experience of bereavement differently. Today, I will explain the basics of the Judaic customs surrounding death and mourning.

Judaism and Modern Technology

Judaism has always been an education-centered religion. There are morals in our liturgy about teaching our laws and precepts to our children every day, as there are lessons in the Torah about the importance of personal growth through hands-on experience. The use of new technology in the dissemination of our cultural knowledge is integral to the survival of Jewish thought. From stone engravings to printed manuscripts, ancient Judaism benefited from the advances of the times. Likewise, modern Jews must continue to update how we communicate our ideas.

Shabbat: October 16-17 2009

Shabbat Shalom and welcome to Judeo Talk. This week we return to the beginning of the Five Books of Moses, having read the concluding passages of the Tanakh in the past two weeks. Rather than continuing to pursue direct biblical exegesis every week on this blog, I feel that it would be appropriate to explore the importance of applying the lessons of Torah to our modern lives. So, every week I will be inviting you to think about how some element of Torah can manifest in your daily existence by analyzing the words, themes and history of particular passages, some from the parsha, some from the haftarah and some from other sources like the psalms or other supplementary texts. This week we will be looking at one of the larger meanings of the creation story as well as the haftarah from Isaiah that accompanies the first portion of the Tanakh.

West Bank Story: An Israeli-Palestinian Musical

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn't exactly the richest source of levity and entertainment in the world. Most of the humor related to it relies on shock value to deliver its commentary, which unfortunately removes the heart from the true human struggle of those caught in the middle. West Bank Story, a musical comedy short by Ari Sandel and Kim Ray, manages to present the street-level sentiments of the conflict that, while occasionally goofy, still goes a long way to identify the common bonds of people on both sides.

A Reader Question Response: Numbers 12

Recently, a reader named Dawn submitted a few questions in our comments section that I believe deserve to be featured here on our front page, so I'm going to take this time to answer these inquiries in full. The questions concerned both a comment I made in a previous article about interracial relations in the Jewish community, and one of the more striking events from the reading that includes Numbers 12.

Shabbat: Parsha V'Zot Ha'Berachah

Shabbat Shalom and welcome to Judeo Talk. The Torah portion for this week is Parsha V'Zot Ha'Berachah, Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12.

This week's parsha is the final portion of the Five Books of Moses. In it, Moses stands before all of the Israelites and says his final words, a blessing to each of the twelve tribes. He enumerates the essence of what those tribes represent and the nature of the path each of them will follow in the days to come.