November 10, 2013
By Donald H. Harrison
SAN DIEGO –Jewish tweens and teens who enjoyed the Harry Potter series by J.K.Rowling may find themselves charmed by a new juvenile fiction series launched by Karen Goldman about a village in the northern part of Israel where all the children have special powers.
Jordan, who was named for the nearby Jordan River, can change himself into any form of water — whether it be a gentle brook or a powerful wind-driven tsunami. His little brother can spot auras. Another child in the neighborhood can manipulate clouds, while yet another, just by imagining, can bring strange animals to life.
Yet, if anyone were to visit the fictional Kfar Keshet (Rainbow Village), one wouldn’t suspect the children were different from any other kids.. Like the Super-Heroes that seem to make their homes in America, these children live by a code of honor. They are supposed to use their powers only for good. Sometimes, however, the line of demarcation between the public interest and self-interest is not always clear to our young heroes.
In this introductory volume, an old Israeli man left crazed by Read the rest of this entry »
November 3, 2013
by Israel Drazin
Smart and Ashkenas collected some fifty essays by articulate women of the various Jewish denominations in which they tell poignant emotional tales about relatives who died and their experiences in saying the mourner’s prayer, kaddish, what motivated them to do it, and how they felt doing so. Virtually all the stories are positive. The women derived much from saying the kaddish for eleven months. However some of the women had unfortunate contacts with Orthodox men. Some men felt that saying kaddish is a male prerogative and they mistreated the women who paid honor to deceased relatives by saying the kaddish. The book also includes three short chapters by rabbis concerning the laws of mourning and the saying of kaddish.
Many women reported feeling that saying kaddish provided them with an opportunity to engage others in helping them heal. It also facilitated them in creating new and lasting bonds of friendship in their communities. The kaddish aided them in keeping their relatives alive. It was a special time together with deceased dads, mom, kids. They had a feeling of doing something concrete and appealing. They felt they helped their love ones end their life’s journey. Some accepted the mystical idea that saying kaddish helped elevate their relatives to a higher heavenly level. They knew that the kaddish was a prayer that praised God and this gave meaning to them. Sitting in the services, many developed attachments to certain prayers and their knowledge of Judaism deepened. Some women were so moved by the kaddish that they abandoned Reform and Conservative synagogues and joined traditional Orthodox ones. Read the rest of this entry »
November 3, 2013
A wonderful evening of Reb Shlomo Carlebach at the OU Israel Center. 130 people enjoyed the music and recollections of Howie Kahn and the presentation and stories and history of author Rabbi Dr. Natan Ophir (Offenbacher) on the occasion of the launching of his new biography on Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.