December 8, 2023 |

Shmini Atzeret / Simchat Torah

Oh How I Miss the Holidays!

Often I have an experience in my week that goes something like this.My two year old asks me for a lollipop.He will ask me for what feels like several hundred times until I will finally relent and say, “fine.”Then the second I give him the lollipop, he will look at me with a devilish smile and say,...

Three For The Road

Shmini Atzeret - "The Eighth Day" Shemini means "the eighth". "Atzeret" can mean either a festival (as in II Chronicles 7:9), a solemn gathering (as in Joel 1:14) or a lingering, from the Hebrew root "to stop" or "to pause." In the Jewish calendar, atzeret is associated with the number 8, or 7+1....

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) -- Sh'mini Atzeret 5770

Remember when you and your whole family would get together for Sh'mini Atzeret? It was a festive holiday, with fresh food and a joyous atmosphere, right? Unless you're at least 2000 years old, you probably don't have any such memories. Indeed, in spite of being one of the Yom Tovim mandated in...

The VIP party

I meet Jews all the time who want to identify themselves as Jews to me. I get it - I like my people, too. I have Jewish pride. But it would be a lot easier for them if we had a secret handshake or signal to distinguish them as a member of the tribe. You see, I look overtly Jewish, with my kippa...

My video divrei Torah on Shmini azeret simhat torah by Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

Welcoming Visitors in the Synagogue

This Sukkot, we had the honor of hosting a relative who happens to be an esteemed rabbi and scholar. On the first day he wanted to get to shul at the start of services, a goal that I strongly support but don’t often achieve. So I sent him off, with etrog and lulav in hand, and a plan to connect a...

Lift Right Left

Ever have hagba (or know someone who had hagba) around this time of year? It's a good time to be a righty, as a full chumash worth of parchment is disproportionately wrapped around the right spindle of the sefer Torah. After this week, your left hand will need to only pick up Haazinu and Vezot...


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