Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
My Passover seder was a failure. On the first two nights of Passover (or the first night if you live in Israel), Jews all over the world gather in homes for highly ritualized meals called seders. Dating back approximately 2000 years, the seders combine blessings, rituals, the eating of specific foods, storytelling and singing. As you can imagine, there is a lot of ground to cover. But there is also a surprising amount of choice about which parts to emphasize and which to gloss over. Every year, more and more Haggadot (guidebooks for the seder) are published: some are geared towards children, others to intellectuals and still others to artists. Read more
Passover is one of the most important holidays of the Jewish year. Read more »
In recent years, Hanukkah has become increasingly commercialized. Read more »
As we prepared our Thanksgiving meal last week, my wife and I discussed whether to continue our quaint, though somewhat cliché, precedent of having each of our attendees, starting with our children, recount what they were thankful for. Read more »
We recently celebrated Purim, a holiday that commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from near annihilation in ancient Persia. According to the story, King Ahashverosh of Persia selects a Jew named Esther to be his new queen. Soon after, the king appoints a new chief advisor named Haman. Haman is enraged when a Jew named Mordehai (who is Esther’s uncle) won’t bow down to him. Read more »
Recently, my family and I took a trip to Israel. While I had several goals for the trip, including having a fantastic time, it was critically important to me that my kids saw the diversity of Jewish life in Tel Aviv. The city is the Baskin-Robbins of Jewish identity with a dazzling array of flavors to behold. Eastern European, African, Middle Eastern, Latin American, Asian, and indigenous Israelis, both religious and secular, seamlessly interact with one another. Read more »
One of the most contentious issues any non-Israeli Jew must face is how to think and speak about Israel. For almost 2000 years, Jews lived in forced exile, dreaming about but unable to reclaim the Promised Land. Israel became a focal point of Jewish theology and the idea of return from exile was interwoven into our liturgy. The formation of a Jewish state in 1948, therefore, was a watershed moment for the Jewish people. Read more »
I recently reminded myself of a dilemma I have regarding raising my children Jewish. I was standing over the barbeque, smelling the alluring scent of chicken and steak wafting through the air, and wondering why I couldn’t have a bite. After all, I grew up eating plenty of meat, the meat I was cooking was good enough for my wife and kids, and I was plenty hungry. Read more »
Greetings InCultureParent readers. My name is Josh Ratner, and I will be taking a monthly stab at describing what it is like to raise my three, beautiful children, Dimitri (age 7), Eli (age 4), and Gabriella (age 9 months), along with my wife Elena (who is a physician), as Jews. I hope I will be able to offer some interesting insights. I come at this topic both as a current rabbinical student and as someone living in suburbia with all the secular challenges and enticements that entails. Read more »
This trilingual family offers some truly awesome advice we all can benefit from.
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