Teachings: Mitzvah Guidance

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.

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.”

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.

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?

Must we use wine in Jewish ritual?

What is the significance of wine in Jewish Ritual?

Dear Rabbi:

I'm know a couple who doesn't want wine or grape juice used for the wedding blessings. What's your opinion about this? Is there a good and honorable substitute?

with appreciation, Rabbi C

Dear Rabbi C:

a. I have had occasion to serve a congregation that often used a cluster of large purple grapes for all "wine-"related blessing moments due to the number of recovering alcoholics in that "bunch."

What's Involved in Converting to Judaism

a. It is a process to which a soul feels internally called.

b. This feeling may rise and fall, or ultimately abate. It may turn out that your soul needed to learn about Judaism, experience it and then return to another tradition or move on to another religion, no religion, or a different denominational context. There will be no hard feelings about this among your teachers, soul journeys vary in every life time.

c. Converstion involves a minimum of a year of study and engagement with the core practices of living as a Jew. During this time you will:

Being Queen Esther

Guided Purim Visualization

In less than a minute enter Purim consciousness. Enter the dilemma of Queen Esther and identify the relevance of your conflict within your own life during this audio experience led by Rabbi Joyce Reinitz, ACSW.

Jewish Death and Dying: Prayer for Hearing of a Death

When we hear someone has died, we need a way to express ourselves. Jewish tradition provides a very powerful and brief sacred phrase: baruch dayan ha'emet (pronounced bah-rukh, dah-yahn, hah'eh-meht). This phrase seems to be the bare minimum of a blessing, truncated from our usual blessing form, as many as twelve terms short*; cut down, as has been a life.

What does this phrase mean?

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.