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My Second Bat Mitzvah

I’m not afraid of the bullies anymore

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Finding Meaning in Calligraphy

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, why even the crowns of Hebrew letters matter. Plus: The biblical Moses is relegated to the eighth row of a rabbi’s class, for not understanding the lesson.

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Generations of Atonement

For my mother, a Holocaust survivor, Yom Kippur was wrapped up in remorse, mourning, and suffering. I’ve spent a lifetime rethinking what atonement means to me.

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My Grandfather’s Yom Kippur Ritual—and Mine

Every year I perform kapores with money, just as he did in his later years. But once, just once, I tried it with a live chicken.

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The Voices of Women

Summer camp, Sarah McLachlan, and the sound of the shofar

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Rosh Hashanah Behind Bars

What I learned leading High Holiday services at Rikers Island

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Salt Bae

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, the rabbis debate the use of the flavor-enhancing mineral in sacrificial offerings. Plus: Why wood needs to be sprinkled with salt before it is burned—over wood.

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The Son, the King, and the Corrupt Torah

A little-known parable from 1930 gives us a new way of hearing the shofar

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Esau and the Knicks

As a New York fan sells his allegiance to the Los Angeles Lakers, it’s time to reconsider the Bible’s greatest unsung hero

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On the One Hand

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, the rabbis search the mists of time to try to recover which hand is to be used in the rituals of sacrifice and offering

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The Talmud as Rube Goldberg Machine of the Mind

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ one rabbi finds a way out of a complex problem with meal offerings other rabbis created

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No Broken Glass

As a rabbi, I didn’t want Jewish rituals in my daughter’s interfaith wedding

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Against Convenience

In the month leading up to the High Holidays, time to give up the easy life

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In the Language of Men

‘Daf Yomi:’ How modern Jews misinterpret another key philosophical phrase, and why religious fanatics will find no Talmudic argument in support of their dream of building a Third Temple on the mount

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Who Gets to Eat Sacrificial Meat?

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis raise contradictions in the rules governing ritual purity, ‘acute mourning,’ and imperfections in the priesthood

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Dirty Laundry

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis decide how to clean the garments used in ritual slaughter (using urine). Also: When is a garment just a cloth?

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Roman Holiday

How Jews observe Tisha B’Av in Rome, where the Arch of Titus commemorates the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem

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Lamentation for a Swimming Pool

This Tisha B’Av, I’ll be mourning for a different site of spiritual importance in Jerusalem

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Cooking Times and Air Rights

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis determine the finer points of animal sacrifice and follow their logical reasoning to the limits of the absurd

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Reclaiming My Jewish Self

How a trip to Uganda led me back to the Torah

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Suited to the Fire

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis continue their investigations into sacrificial offerings and remain dispassionate in their analysis of sexual sins. Plus: the origin of the word ‘treyf.’

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Bird Sacrifice

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis try to establish the rules governing ritual slaughter of feathered offerings

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Archaeology Without Ruins

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ ancient Talmudic rabbis look for the First and Second Temples without stones or relics to guide them

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Mapping the Temple

Daf Yomi: Talmudic rabbis, as distant from the original animal sacrifices as we are from the Civil War, try to piece together a layout that matches the Torah

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Myth and Meaning

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, the ancient rabbis take personal ownership of their Torah interpretations, as they map the spaces that separate the holy from the mundane

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A Jewish World of Infinite Possibility

Looking back at 50 years of Havurat Shalom, one of the longest-lasting creations of the havurah movement

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Blood of the Soul

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study continues to explore the real—and hypothetical—practicalities of ritual animal sacrifice

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On Priestly Perfection

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ how ancient Talmudic rabbis recreated and understood the lost religious culture of the First Temple

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If A, Then B

Through Daf Yomi’s exercises in mathematical logic, Talmudic rabbis attempt to decipher the will of a reasonable God. Plus: What distinguishes guilt from sin?

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Slaughtered Offerings

In making animal sacrifices, says this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, ancient Jews learned the importance of doing religious actions with deliberate purpose

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