Sunday, May 17, 2015

Hope for Tefilla

Read this excellent post by Joe Hirsch - the best new approach to Tefilla might just be a re-approach of what we already know. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Shawshank Minyan

So the blog is silent but I couldn't help but sharing this very Israeli take on making a minyan and the classic film Shawshank Redemption. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Buying Your Time with Hashem

Great call out by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz (@yakovhorowitz) on Kupat Ha'ir's Once in Fifty Years campaign, who tweeted, "I challenge Kupat ha'ir to prove that a single gadol saw, let alone approved, this horrible ad."  Check it out!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Can We Change the System?

Fascinating article on eJewishPhilanthropy, "The Religion You Don't Believe in I Don't Believe in Either" by Dr. Phil Robinson in response to the Pew Study. He raises great points, especially about the nature of teaching religion vs. religious behavior (isn't it really about the pursuit of the sublime).

My question is with regard to the present institutional infrastructure - can they really change to the times?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Famous People's Prayers

I came across to diversely different celebrity davening stories.

One is actually the creation of a new prayer for B'reishit by the actor of How I Met Your Mother, Josh Randor, who published it on

The other finding was about celebrities actually davening.  Apparently Natalie Portman was star struck in shul and had a hard time concentrating.  Good to know we aren't the only ones.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Will Pew Get More People in the Pews?

If you haven't heard the lastest Jewish community survey news (Major Shift in Identity of US Jews), published by the Pew Research Center and reported heavily by the NY Times and every other news outlet that Jews read, then you know that there is a LOT to talk about. 

As mentioned, this blog is "on hold" so there hasn't been postings of late. Although I am not a big Shmuley Boteach person, I enjoyed his response to the Pew study, published in the times of Israel, suggesting Three Ways to Save American Jewry From Extinction.

Fix the Broken and Boring Synagogue Service 
The overwhelming number of Jews who still step into a Synagogue do so for three days of every year and then swear they will never come back. Sometimes I think we should ban secular Jews from High Holy Day services and shift their attendance instead to Simchas Torah and Purim. But since that’s not going to happen, let’s take the focus off of cantorial recital yodeling, which makes congregants into spectators, shift the teachings away from dry sermons, and focus instead on having services engage the heart and mind. Carlebach-style services that make people sing real spiritual melodies rather than listening to opera is the way to go. Rabbis putting out moral questions between each of the seven readings of the Torah on Saturday mornings is a means by which to influence congregants to apply the lessons of the Torah to their everyday lives, making Judaism relevant rather than aloof. And don’t forget a fantastic Kiddush with fine single malt whisky. Can’t afford it? Build less elaborate buildings and have a more elaborate cholent and sushi.