Teachings: Mitzvah Guidance

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.”

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.

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

Adoption, Ethnicity and Jewish Baby Naming

Adoption adds special considerations to rituals for welcoming a new baby or child. Here is one recent example:

What to Put on Parents' Gravestone?

I have to decide by tomorrow what to put on my parent's gravestone. They are doing one together. Any ideas?

In many ways the process of deciding what to engrave on the headstone - matzeiva-  is part of the spiritual process.

Hand Washing, How to Do The Jewish Spiritual Practice of Netilat Yadayim

"Wash your hands!" This is a basic message which our inner child recognizes instantly. Increasing the moments of significance in life is a major function of spiritual practice. At times this leads life to resound with the beauty of pure awareness of the simple importance of a single movement.

Will my grandchild be Jewish if his mother who has converted to Judaism has stopped her religious practice?

Dear Rabbi Milgram: My son married a woman who converted to Judaism through the London Beth Din. She now refuses to follow any Jewish practice. Is her conversion still valid? They have a baby boy who is now a year and a half will he be considered Jewish? By the way she forbids me to have any contact with the child. She is highly unstable and also prevents my son from having any contact with me or his brothers. I am in regular email contact with him. We are a shomer mitzvot family.... Though I doubt my son keeps anything now.

What is Shabbat? A Time Manifesto

Once normal to civilizations,
The observance of holy days
Has become a radical spiritual act of self care.

Sacred time is shareware.
It’s free.
The only condition is you have to use it before you go,
There’s no refund at the finish line.

How to Hang a Mezuzah

PREPARATION 

1. If possible do this as a Hanukkat HaBayit by inviting friends to participate with their presence. The root of Hanukkah is kh-n-khkh, which has meanings with nuances such as education, dedication, enlightenment, consecration. It's nice to do this on a Saturday night, after offering a Havallah ceremony to end Shabbat.

Book Review: Bringing Zayde Home

This review by Rabbi Goldie Milgram of Sheri Sinykin's Zeyde Comes to Live was first published in the Philadelphia Jewish Voice.

Creating a Personal Community

A personal kehillah, "community" is a small group of mentors/advisors that the student and family create to meeting monthly and contemplate the roles and issues of adulthood, to help the student emerge with dignity and awareness into adult life. Besides, it's terrible to be isolated and this can happy in suburbia, small towns, and some families - here's how to get past all that to meaningful connections. [Credit for the basis of this idea is due to Rabbi Geelah Rayzl and Dr. Simcha Raphael.]

Is it Right to Serve and Film the Homeless on Christmas at a Synagogue

Dear Rabbi: (Note: This first appeared on Jewish Values On-Line)