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October 11, 2011 eNewsletter

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October 11, 2011

Dear Friend,

With Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur behind us, we're midway through the Jewish autumn holidays. Next up is Sukkot, which starts tomorrow evening, followed by Simchat Torah. For more about these joyous celebrations, plus articles about parenting, attitudes towards intermarriage and more, read on...

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Sukkot and Simchat Torah

Sukkot and Simchat Torah can be great ways to introduce people to the beauty of Judaism. During both, we are even commanded to be happy! Sukkot is like a Jewish Thanksgiving, complete with opportunities for dining and sleeping under the stars. Simchat Torah celebrates the annual cycle of reading the Torah, filled with joyous celebrations.

Our newly updated booklet is a great introduction or refresher on the meanings, rituals and themes of these two holidays. It's available online and can be easily downloaded and printed at home. Read more in Sukkot and Simchat Torah: the Basics.

Getting ready for the rituals of Sukkot? This light-hearted video explains the lulav and etrog and how to shake them. (Please note: no plush Judaica toys were harmed in the making of this video.) Read (and watch) more in Shake It For Sukkot Video.

Looking for a quick overview of Sukkot? Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic wrote an introduction to the holiday, including the temporary dwellings built for the festival, the role of guests and activities for the whole family. Read more in Sukkot: Celebrate Under the Stars.

High Holy Days

Rabbi Howard A. Berman offered his thoughts on the meanings and messages of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Read it as a reflection of the holidays that just passed, or keep it in mind for next year. Read more in The Spirit and the Challenge of Renewal and Return: The High Holy Days, a Classical Reform Perspective.

On the blog, I looked at the Talmudic idea that Yom Kippur is supposed to be a happy day. But, really, it was just an excuse to post a Lady Gaga video. Read more in Joyous Yom Kippur.

Parenting Blog

‎"Today in the waiting room at gymnastics, one of the other mothers said that Jews want to kill Christians." SLP, a Christian mother raising her children in a Jewish home, wrote about her first time facing anti-Semitism. Read more in The White Cow.

Soon-to-be mom and Jew-by-choice Ketura wondered what she should do to create a Jewish nursery for her child. Suggestions welcome! Read more in J-Nesting.

Cassie and her husband are now ex-expats, having moved back to the US from Israel. And, as a soon-to-be mother, she's noticing differences between pregnancy here and there. Read more in And Now the Real Work Begins.

Wedding Blog

Yolanda and Arel are back with another video. This time? It's all about the wedding dress. Read (and watch) more in Video 5: the wedding dress Jewish style.

Network Blog

Ed Case found his blogging muse over the High Holy Days, posting three times. First up, inspired by Rosh Hashanah, is a look at the ongoing need for organizations like ours to exist, when we continue to hear stories of intermarried families looking to connect to Judaism. Read more in New Year, New Decade.

Next, inspired by Yom Kippur, the proposed legislation in Israel aimed at prohibiting intermarriage, balanced with the involvement interfaith families can have in our local communities. Read more in Choosing Life in the New Year.

And a look at a piece on the Huffington Post, and blogger Julie Wiener's take, about a bride who wanted to go to a mikvah before her (interfaith) marriage. Read more in Choosing Life in the New Year, Part 2.


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chag sameach - happy holiday,

Benjamin Maron, Managing Editor





Hebrew for "Head of the Year," the Jewish New Year. With Yom Kippur, known as the High Holy Days. Hebrew for "happy holiday." Hebrew for "Day of Atonement," the final of ten Days of Awe that begin with Rosh Hashanah. Occurs during the fall and is marked by a 24-hour fast. One of the most important Jewish holidays. A member of the Jewish clergy who leads a congregation in songful prayer. ("Hazzan" in Hebrew.) Hebrew for "collection," referring to the "collection of water," is a bath used for the purpose of ritual immersion in Judaism. Today it is used as part of the traditional procedure for converting to Judaism, by Jews who follow the laws of ritual (body) purity, and sometimes for making kitchen utensils kosher. Hebrew for "booth," a temporary hut constructed for use during the week-long Jewish holiday of Sukkot ("booths"). Hebrew for "my master," the term refers to a spiritual leader and teacher of Torah. Often, but not always, a rabbi is the leader of a synagogue congregation.
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