Shul is where the cycle of life happens.
As we know, the concept of shul may mean different things to different people. Hopefully, for most of us it means the place to daven with a minyan, connect to HaKadosh Baruch Hu and feel spiritually recharged.
While I'm not about to compare Yankee Stadium to shul, I do think about the process of intentionally creating spaces that are meaningful and people want to return to time and again.
Even where minyanim gather in less grandiose houses of worship, the sums of money they expend for beautification and refurbishing are staggering.
Literary evidence from the time of the Second Temple, such as the works of Josephus and Philo, and even archeology, indicates that it was a place of instruction and learning.
You can feel scared and excited, regretful and inspired to do better, broken but hopeful.
The previous rebbe of Chabad explains that the main thing is not the content of the cry, Father, save me, but rather the cry itself.
The shofar blasts remind us that Hashem is the infinite and all-knowing king and judge.
One of the lessons that I teach is that to blow a teruah, you need to blow 14 small sounds.
Sometimes our most inner yearnings cannot be adequately contained in words.
There is just something very Jewish about lox. Whether you are European or South African, any Jew anywhere can identify with lox.
Our fascination with being able to consume the same delectable non-kosher offerings gave rise to kosher pizza, kosher Chinese food, and of course what simcha would be complete without sushi?
Less sublime, however, is the phenomenon of bagels and lox Judaism, when these foods become a stand-in for being Jewish as a whole.
In Israel I discovered that lox is a delicacy and quite expensive, so I don’t indulge very often.
When salami or steak or facon is not available, what does one do?
Roses for me will always bring to mind my paternal and maternal grandmothers, both of whom went by the name Rose in English.
Naturally, the verse in Shir HaShirim – K'shoshana bein ha’chochim rings in my ears as well, including the songs that have been written for those words.
She told me, “Everything will be fine. I’m watching over you.” And then she vanished. I never dreamt about her again.
Open any Jewish history book. Attend any Jewish history lecture. The value of teaching about the thorns in our past will be there.
When we learn to receive graciously, men will feel respected and grow more capable of pleasing us.
Starting from Hashem’s injunction to speak to “bais Yaakov,” to Schenirer’s efforts to strengthen Judaism through girls’ education, it is ultimately Jewish women who will lead the charge to our next stage in growing as a community.
Bais Yaakov is not a school. It is the term Moshe uses when speaking to the Jewish women. We as Jewish women are a unit. When we realize that, we are a force to be reckoned with.
While the colossus founded by the visionary Sarah Schenirer continues to animate communities across the Jewish world, it seems to me that the Bais Yaakov model has become, over time, more monolithic in hashkafa and approach.
Why the women first? Because they would learn the Torah that they needed to learn and then tell it to the children. They would teach the children!
The term Bais Yaakov is also referenced in our prayers, specifically the prayer of Hallel that we say on holidays.