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The Memorial Prayer Service: Yizkor

October 2, 2011, by

Yizkor is the memorial service recited for deceased parents and other relatives at several points throughout the year. The name of the prayer means “May He remember” (“He” being God and “Yizkor” being the first word of the prayer). Not only do many who recite the prayer find it to be a moving, emotional experience,

Remember, God is a Political Independent!

June 14, 2011, by

Howie Beigelman is Deputy Director of Public Policy for the OU’s IPA | Institute for Public Affairs. The following Op–Ed first appeared in New Jersey Jewish News prior to Shavuot on June 3, 2011. The views represented herein, like his weekly Politics & Parsha blog, are his own and reflect neither psak or policy of the OU. During the

Pulling an All-Nighter

June 1, 2011, by

The scene is familiar. An auditorium or hall is stuffed full of bodies hunched over books. In the corner, there’s a table bearing snacks and caffeinated beverages. It could be any pre-finals study session in any college in the world but it isn’t. You’ve stumbled into a synagogue on the night of Shavuot, when the

To Teach, To Learn, To Repent

June 1, 2011, by

There is an urgency in the two Torah commandments whose obligation is constant and ever-present, to learn Torah and to repent. The Torah is clear about this urgency in the Shema: “These words, which I command you this day, make them as a sign upon your heart and between your eyes…” Our Sages comment that

Slice of Life, Shavuot

June 1, 2011, by

Please note: Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog, or web site. What better time than Shavout than to write a dairy column. And after watching Jamie Lee Curtis touting the benefits and joy

Bamidbar: Shavuot as the Day of the Giving of the Torah

May 12, 2010, by

One of the most fascinating halakhot of Shavuot is a halakha that isn’t: a commemoration of the historical aspect of the day, the “day of the giving of our Torah”, as we say in our prayers. All three major holidays have three aspects: historical, agricultural, and Temple ritual. Pesach is historically the time of the

Mishpatim: Our Greatest Moment

February 9, 2010, by

More than once, when I really need my friend’s help and “no” is simply not an option, I’ve asked for commitment before my request. The conversation might go like this: “Can I ask you a favor?” “Sure, what can I do for you?” “In a moment. First, just say yes.” Usually, they don’t say yes.

The Authentic Word of Torah

February 4, 2010, by

In a well-known passage, the Mechilta relates that the Holy One offered the Torah to the various nations of antiquity, but that all of them rejected it because of specific objections they raised to certain of its precepts. When He offered the Torah to Israel, and Israel accepted it with alacrity. This is more than


May 27, 2009, by

Shavuot nowadays has two distinct aspects. On the one hand, it is defined by the Torah as the day following fifty days of counting omer (Vayikra 23:16). On the other hand, we refer to it in our prayers as “zman matan torateinu”, the time of the giving of the Torah. (In the time of the

Shavuot: Countdown

May 27, 2009, by

Of Biblical Proportions is a fresh, new comic strip that depicts the weekly Torah portion with modern, humorous twists. The cartoon was conceived and created by NY-based freelance cartoonist Chari Pere. You can view more of her work at www.charipere.com and www.heyyiddlediddle.com.