Teachings: Mitzvah Guidance

The Bat Mitzvah Girl Who Loved Horses

Are there tasteful limits for B'nei Mitzvah? B Mitzvah! The Bar/Bat Mitzvah (R)evolution continues here

There was a twelve-year-old girl who loved horses. She was preparing to become bat mitzvah and insisted on horseback rides for her friends in the synagogue parking lot as well as centerpieces with famous horses depicted upon them. She also wanted to wear her riding hat when she read Torah. What to do? What’s a parent or rabbi to say?

Reb Goldie: “Ashley, I’m so impressed by your love of animals, especially horses, that I’ve brought you some information from Judaism about animals and horses.”

How to Hang a Mezuzah

PREPARATION 

1. If possible do this as a room or home dedication--Hanukkat HaBayit, Dedication of the House, by inviting friends to participate with their presence. The root of Hanukkat, like Hanukkah, is חָנַך ha-nakh, which also means education and consecration. It's nice to do this on a Saturday night, after offering a Havallah ceremony to end Shabbat.

Guide to Choosing a Jewish Name

This article teaches how to identify the right Jewish name for yourself, or for your child.

Spiritual Menu for Passover Order of the Seder

A Spiritual Passover Seder Menu – Passover is an Annual Gestalt Experiment
from Reclaiming Judaism as a Spiritual Practice: Holy Days and Shabbat

Kadeish – Chanting the Kiddush over the Wine

Understanding Kaddish and El Maleh Rachamim

Saying kaddish is very helpful for the mourner and it is important to someone who is dying to know an actual family member or person they have designated who knew them personally will be their "kaddishele," the person saying kaddish for him/her.

Kaddish is written in Aramaic, the language of the Jewish people during  the rabbinic period (when we lived under the Greeks and Romans). It's comforting cadence takes on the quality of a mantra. There are many types of Kaddishes - Kaddish Shalem (whole kaddish), Hatzi Kaddish (abbreviated kaddish), Yaddish Yatom (Mourner's Kaddish) and Kaddish D'rabbanan (Scholar's Kaddish) are the most well know. A rendition of the meaning I find in the words of the Mourners Kaddish is listed below the Aramaic transliteration.

Omer: 49 Days of Jewish Spiritual Practice

The Omer comprises 49 days, paralleling the wandering of the Israelites in the wilderness, which in Torah comes the day after Passover begins, and ends with receiving Torah on Shavuot.

Originally, the omer was the measure of wheat brought as a donation of harvest gratitude to feed the Temple workers in ancient Israel. As our need for renewal of spirit builds in these troubling times, the Jewish spiritual renaissance continues unabated.

Creating a Mitzvah-Centered Life Shabbaton April 8-10

The Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation (JRC) & Beth Emet of Evanston, IL are co-sponsoring a Mitzvah-Centered Life Shabbaton

Creating a Mitzvah-Centered Life Shabbaton April 8-10

The Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation (JRC) & Beth Emet of Evanston, IL are co-sponsoring a Mitzvah-Centered Life Shabbaton

Tashlich, Including a New Games and Environmental Lens



Teaching Tashlich through a New Games and Environmental Lens
by Rabbi Dr. Goldie Milgram; Photo Credit: "Magenetic Waves" (c) 2016 Barry Bub

Is genetic sex selection of children permitted in Judaism?

Question: What is the Jewish perspective on genetic sex selection of children?

Creating New Jewish Ritual for a Big Birthday

I've never been one to hold birthday parties for myself, but turning sixty felt like the time had finally arrived. I needed a way to transition my soul's balking sense of terror. Where did all of the equanimity from my meditation and other spiritual practices go in the face of all that? How to push through towards hopefully, the gift of a new decade? [video coming soon]

2015 Omer Calendar in Color

Also attached to this page also as full size color pdf.

The Jewish Vision Quest

When life feels like an uphill climb,
accept it and head right to the Top;

Can Jews Enter Churches, Mosques, etc? Considerations of When, Why & How

When Jewish Values On-line asked me to write on this question for their website, as an advocate for respectful co-existence of the world's peoples and traditions, my first inclination would have been to give a short "yes" answer.  As I really began to think carefully about it, the question requires a far more nuanced approach.

How We Averted a Wedding Disaster

“Shalom, this is Rabbi Milgram, how can I help you? Has there been a tragedy?”

“A disaster, Rabbi! My sister who is a baalat teshuvah, (newly Orthodox) says she will not attend my wedding for three reasons. One, because her husband can’t hear your voice, or any woman’s voice, leading a Jewish rite; two, because our hall’s kosher caterer is not approved by her local rabbi; and three, because there will be mixed seating and mixed dancing.

Appreciating Mitzvah as the Core of Jewish Practice and Mitzvah List for Volume

sample chapter excerpt from Mitzvah Stories: Seeds for Inspiration and Learning

Note: The list of mitzvot that can be taught in regard to each story is an attached file on this page.

Major Contrasts in Jewish Practice

Because change is one of the constants of Jewish life, the variations in customs, laws, and practices at any point in our history are quite fascinating. It’s important from the outset for you to be fully aware that individual homes, congregations, and even certain neighborhoods and individual communities within those neighborhoods, have their own uniquely nuanced Jewish culture, norms, and guidelines. For example, there are Jewish communities where the norm is:

Visualization: Torah and Her Garments

B-Mitzvah (R)evolution

Imagine it is time for you to go up to the Torah, perhaps your bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. You are about to become a witness and participant in the reading and interpretation of Torah. Go ahead, approach the aron, the ark; it represents the Ark of the Covenant, in which the Israelites carried the carved tablets with the Ten Commandments in the wilderness. The doors of the ark are opened. You will cross a threshold in your life as an elder or leader of the community places the Torah in your arms. The sacred mantle of leadership is upon you.

Guidelines for Setting a Date and Time for a Jewish Rite of Passage

Guidelines for Setting a Date and Time for a Jewish Rite of Passage