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My Path to Atheism

by Alan Rutkowski I RECENTLY HAD an epiphany: I don’t believe in God. For a very long time — most of my life, actually — I sort of thought I did. Religion has played a big part in my life. For some reason my mother, who was not religious at all, sent my sister and […]

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March 6: Hours of Devotion

Fanny Schmiedl Neuda, who wrote Stunden der Andacht, “Hours of Devotion” — subtitled “A Book of Prayer and Moral Uplift for Jewish Women and Girls,” and the first Jewish prayerbook for women written by a woman — was born into a family of rabbis in Moravia on this date in 1816. Published in 1855 after her […]

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Maimonides for the 21st Century

EVALUATING THE RAMBAM’S VIEW OF A JUST SOCIETY by Rabbi Reba Carmel From the Autumn 2016 issue of Jewish Currents. Discussed in this essay: Maimonides and the Book that Changed Judaism: Secrets of The Guide for the Perplexed, by Micah Goodman. University of Nebraska Press, 2015, 296 pages. “GOD IS THE GREATEST THREAT to religion.” […]

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Going Solo for the Autumn Holidays

Text and Illustrations by Lawrence Bush From the Autumn 2016 issue of Jewish Currents This is the first of a series of essays about the Jewish calendar and life-cycle observances, created as part of our new Schappes Center for Cultural Jewish Life, a school-without-walls for families interested in non-theistic participation in Jewish holidays, rituals, and […]

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Bridging the Jewish Secular-Religious Divide

by Lawrence Bush Discussed in this essay: Putting God Second: How to Save Religion from Itself, by Rabbi Donniel Hartman. Beacon Press, 2016, 180 pages. AS THE EDITOR of Jewish Currents, which tags itself on the cover as a “secular, progressive voice,” I am occasionally invited to synagogues to speak about secular Jewish identity. I […]

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A High Holiday Journey for the Heart and Soul

Marcia Falk Continues to Transform Jewish Liturgy by Rabbi Reba Carmel Discussed in this essay: The Days Between: Blessings, Poems and Directions of the Heart for the High Holiday Season, by Marcia Falk. Brandeis University, HBI Series on Jewish Women, 214, 260 pages. IN THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD (Brakhot 7a), Rabbi Yohanan, in the name of […]

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December 4: Praying for Rain

Today is the date, sixty days after the autumnal equinox (as calculated by the talmudic sage Samuel, c. 177–257), on which Jews in the diaspora traditionally begin to pray for rain by including the words “dew” and “rain” in the ninth blessing of the weekday Amidah (“Standing”). This plea for rain is then dropped from […]

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For the Sin of Racism

by Rabbi Jonathan Kligler The Vidui, the communal confession of sins that we chant on Yom Kippur, is actually an elaborate acrostic. The ancient litany makes its creative way through the entire Hebrew alphabet, enumerating all of the ways that we have missed the mark, from Aleph to Tav, the Hebrew A to Z. The […]

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