When my grandmother, a devout Lutheran, died many years ago, my brothers and I wanted a ritual that would help us remember her in a meaningful way. Her official funeral took place in a Lutheran church, where much of the funeral consists of prayers, while few words are spoken about the deceased. We wanted to do something more to honor her memory.
Rabbi Jennifer Jaech's blog
I know that Hanukkah is a "minor holiday," based on an unsavory story of religious persecution and civil war. I know that Hanukkah originated with the Hasmoneans, (popularly known as the Maccabees) who went on to shore up their power by making a pact with Rome, which led to a brutal occupation and ultimately the destruction of the second Temple. I know that the only reason we celebrate it as elaborately as we do is because of its proximity to Christmas.
Imagine for a moment that you have been transported back to Jerusalem in the early first century BCE (and have become instantly fluent in Aramaic). One day at the market you overhear the following conversation between a father and his thirteen year old son:
“Son, where have you been? I’ve been looking all over for you.”
“I was with my friends. It was time for the afternoon prayers.”
“Prayers! They won’t last. Prayers can never replace animal sacrifice.”
I recently visited Pike’s Place Market in Seattle, home of the first Starbucks coffee shop. Summer tourists stand in long lines to purchase soy lattes or decaf cappuccinos from the first Starbucks, paying homage to a corporation that has obtained a global presence. Many people I know (myself included) consider good coffee to be an absolute necessity, and I credit Starbucks with my first taste of a high quality brew.
IS INTERMARRIAGE THE PROBLEM? PART TWO
As I wrote previously, the Torah does not prohibit intermarriage categorically. The Torah’s writers were concerned primarily with the potential consequence of intermarriage with certain peoples: namely, the worship of foreign gods. The Torah includes stories of Moses and Joseph who married non-Israelite women. It is likely that these stories were created at a time when the Israelites felt secure in their identity as a people.