Category: Jewish customs

Kaddish

Composition and audio © Alexander Massey 5 Dec 2015 Much could be (and has been) written about the Kaddish (to which I have put links below). Although one version is referred to as mourner’s kaddish, it is part of our

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Tashlich

Composition and audio © Alexander Massey Sept 2014 In the book of the prophet Nehemiah, we learn that “all the Jews gathered as one in the street that is in front of the gate of water.”  (Neh 8:1) We commemorate

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Bikur cholim – visiting the sick

The bonds of community and mutual care are given very high value within Judaism. The importance of a Jew extending themselves on behalf of another includes offering the same practical, emotional and spiritual concern for those beyond the Jewish community.

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Brit Shalom ceremonies – resources

This page includes a huge array of information about Jewish circumcision (brit milah), and its modern alternative, brit shalom (with no cutting, or drawing blood). As Mark Reiss says: “Brit Shalom can be similar to the naming ceremony traditionally used for

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Celebrating Brit Shalom (book by Moss & Wald)

There are many websites, resources, and articles, by noted medical experts, rabbis and authorities on Jewish tradition and halachah (law) that set out the arguments both against brit milah (the circumcision ritual for Jewish boys), and for alternative welcoming, naming and covenant ceremonies (such as brit shalom) that

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Wedding Vows – a Jewish perspective

One of the common questions that I hear from couples is: “What do people normally say in their vows at a Jewish wedding?” The ultra-traditional approach My first answer is that, the most common form for centuries was a very

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Beyond Breaking the Glass (Nancy Wiener) – notes on the book

These are my own shorthand notes of a wonderful book by Rabbi Nancy Wiener, Beyond Breaking the Glass: A Spiritual Guide to Your Jewish Wedding, (2012, Central Conference of American Rabbis). I hope they encourage you to buy the book. By

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Sukkot matters (2): Finding meaning in the Four Species

We are told in the Torah: “On the first day you shall take the product of the beautiful tree, branches of palm trees, thick branches of leafy trees, and willows of the brook and you shall rejoice before the Lord

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Sukkot matters (3): Finding meaning in shaking the lulav

The shaking of the Four Species, sometimes called ‘shaking the lulav’, has attracted a number of meanings over the course of Jewish history. One of these was the idea that all the four plants require water to grow, and this

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Sukkot matters (1): Finding meaning in the sukkah

Sukkot is a wonderful opportunity to reach back into our Jewish tradition, drawing upon ancient wisdom, at the same time as making new meanings for ourselves and contributing to the evolution of a living Judaism. I’m not going to give

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