Why on earth are these people decorating their sukkot (plural of sukkah) with pumpkins, gourds, and squash? And why are there huge corn-stalks adorning the entrances to the sukkot? Where did they learn these strange and unusual customs? Don’t they know how sukkot are supposed to be decorated? What’s going on here? These were some of my initial thoughts, after I’d overcome my original shock and surprise...

October 3, 2017

I’m a native Hoosier, born and raised in that humid Indiana heat by a Jewish mother. I don’t mean “goes to services twice a year” Jewish, I mean “still makes a challah every time she seems me and gets personally offended when I eat pasta during Pesach” Jewish. She makes pointed suggestions about me marrying a Jewish man. She speaks Yiddush around the house. We sometimes speak Hebrew (until I run out of word...

October 2, 2017

Most of what's important to me, I've come to realize, I learned at the kitchen table. As I begin to organize my own Passover seders in my new home half a continent away from South Bend, I'm free to run the dinner and the ritual in whatever way I want. But what I mostly find myself doing is what we did at the seders of my youth, back when my parents did the choosing for me - not because I feel ti...

October 1, 2017

Did you know that on Rosh Hashanah afternoon – back in the day –children walked from one synagogue to another to see their friends? At that time both Orthodox synagogues, Sinai synagogue, and Temple Beth-El were within walking distance of each other.

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