Tag: Yom Kippur

No Excuses: Guns and Faith


We’ve arrived! My husband and I have taken a road trip, and the first part of our agenda is attending the Couples for Liberty five-day workshop at Hillsdale College—lessons on shooting guns and on understanding the Constitution. We originally signed up for the workshop in May, but we had court dates assigned for the same time and we had to be there. But we found out there were two slots open for Hillsdale’s September workshop. They let us make the switch, and we were delighted–

–until a few weeks ago I realized that Yom Kippur fell during the same week. (I thought I also had a conflict with Rosh Hashanah, but there wasn’t a scheduling problem.)

Klavan’s Conversion and Kol Nidre


Kol Nidre is the prelude to the Yom Kippur prayers. Lewis Black called it the spookiest piece of music ever written. The tune and setting evoke fear and awe. The words, however, are quite a let down: uninspiring, depressing, and morally troubling.

Cooking for a Coronation


Rosh HashanahI am preparing for a coronation. Cooking, cleaning and separating pomegranate seeds from their home, carefully placing them atop the cake’s honey-tinted frosting.

This is the time of year where we Jews coronate G-d as king of the universe, during our new year more commonly known as Rosh Hashanah, and though I go through this every year I find myself rushing to finish, knowing that once we enter the “chagim” the world will stop and I will live in a bubble of food, family and worship.

If you’re a Jew, you’ll know the stress I am under right now, one day before the eve of the new year. If you know a Jew or two you will know this as the odd time where they seem to be off work every other day and when they are not stuffing their face they are fasting, complaining equally about the aches associated with both.

Will You Forgive Me?


The other day I had breakfast with a dear Jewish friend. We were discussing the month of Elul, the month that includes the High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. She told me about a time as a child when she told her father she couldn’t think of anyone she had harmed (which is part of Jewish practice at this time of year). Her father looked at her sternly and simply said, “You aren’t perfect. Think about it.”

In Judaism we must ask those we have harmed for forgiveness before we ask G-d to forgive us. Suddenly I realized that I also had given cursory thought to those I might have harmed—and no one initially came to mind. But at breakfast with my friend, family, friends, even Ricochet friends started to appear in my thoughts: a person I had corrected because I felt they’d done something inappropriate; another had done something foolish and I gave her a piece of my mind. The list went on. I realized I had my work cut out for me!

Member Post


“Dad’s got major issues with the new Rabbi”.    I was raised at a British Orthodox Synagogue. When my family moved to the U.S. we became members at a Conservative Synagogue. For years after college I floated to different temples and Chabad. However, once I was married we joined the local Reform Synagogue. I won’t say […]

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Member Post


I finally understood the last line of the Book of Jonah yesterday!  My understanding had been blocked by my Maimonidean rationalist view of G-d that presumed He was making a reasoned moral argument about the importance of mercy. Jonah had argued, in the name of truth and justice, that G-d should have killed the people […]

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Yom Kippur: A Torah Explanation


I like to explain everything using only the words in the Torah. The following is a modified excerpt from my upcoming book. It is, oddly enough, libertarian in the sense of taking responsibility for one’s own actions. But otherwise, this is pure biblical exegesis, which obviously will not appeal to many. But it might interest a few of you.. so enjoy!

Consider the Yom Kippur offering, the famous “two goats.” One is consigned to Azazel and thrown down a cliff, and the other one meets a holy end as a sacrifice to G-d. Like many other commandments in the Torah, the twin goats of Yom Kippur can be very difficult to understand.