September 1, 2014 / 6th of Elul, 5774
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Judith Ovadia

  • created at: 2011-01-11

    The Jewish world lost a pioneer of music and modern liturgy with Debbie Friedman’s untimely death this past Sunday.  Friedman, who succumbed to pneumonia at the age of 59, not only revolutionized Jewish music, she changed the shape of progressive Jewish worship.  In seeking meaningful ritual to respond to illness, she reclaimed and arranged the prayer, "Mi Shebeirach . . .," which was rarely heard in Reform circles.  Due to the loveliness of her melody, ...

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    created at: 2010-11-01

    A friend of mine died recently, unexpectedly, at age forty-seven.  He was celebrating the end of summer, riding a bicycle with his two daughters on a bright morning when he fell over, and he was gone.  There was no advanced warning, no creeping assault, no stages of preparation, no horrible diagnosis with time to adjust to the dreadful news.  One minute he was riding the bike, the next minute he was on the ground.

    When his youngest daughter was about to be...

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  • created at: 2010-10-31

    Many people avoid visiting friends or family members who are in the hospital because of fear of contracting illness, unpleasant memories of previous experiences, or the discomfort of facing someone they care for who is now made vulnerable by injury or disease.  This is unfortunate because, for the patient, a friendly face in the doorway can brighten up a difficult day.  For the visitor, getting past this unease can take the stigma and fear out of the hospital experience...

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    No one may accuse Galeet Dardashti of slacking off.  The composer and vocalist serves as cantorial soloist and offers lectures and performances throughout the country, alone and with her band, Divahn.  She recently completed her doctorate in anthropology and will be teaching at Hebrew Union College in the spring.  She and her husband are raising their toddler son, and their second is due in December.  In the midst of this prodigious phase, Dr. Dardashti has p...

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  • created at: 2010-09-25

     

     

    Every week during the school year I take out the Torah from the Ark in our sanctuary, roll it to the proper column, and help the upcoming Bar or Bat Mitzvah find his or her place in the scroll for the first time.  It is a thrilling moment for the student, and for me.  Before they begin chanting, I take their non-dominant hand and place it on the dowel, the handle of the scroll, and ask them a few questions.  What is the Hebrew word for this dowel? -...

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  • created at: 2010-08-24

     

    Catch a special screening of this new documentary about the largest group of cantors ever to return to Poland since World War II, as they perform at the site of the Warsaw Ghetto.  The film explores the history of Jews in Poland, the origins of Chazanut (Cantorial Music), and the re-emergence of Jewish life and culture in Warsaw.  The interviews and personal stories are compelling but it is the music that makes 100 Voices: A Journey Home required viewing.

    Conta...

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  • created at: 2010-08-17

     

    My son is turning fifteen this week.  I can't wrap my brain around that number.  Somehow, fourteen still seemed like a child, but fifteen is . . . well, let's put it this way:  he's only got one more verse of "The Circle Game" left after this next one.  

    But there is something even more frightening to me about realizing my son is a bona fide teenager than how old it makes me feel.   Teenagers do things that are not always advisable, to put it tac...

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  • created at: 2010-08-14

    (Adapted from an essay originally published in the American Conference of Cantors' Koleinu)

    I have a confession:  there have been times when, between ensuring that the choir, organist, rabbi, and lay participants know what they are supposed to be doing, worrying about the less-familiar music, and trying to pace myself, physically and mentally to endure, I have neglected my personal religious obligations during the Days of Awe.  Especially in the first year of a ne...

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  • Brassy, bountiful, and blessed with talent, Sophie Tucker dreamed of a life  "beyond the cook stove and the kitchen sink."   Mary Callanan's portrayal of the vaudeville legend, now on stage in the New Repertory Theatre's production of Sophie Tucker:  The Last of the Red Hot Mamas, takes the audience on a musical tour of the realization of that dream.   Callanan serves up Tucker's earthy style and sexy humor with a wink and a nod, acknowledging the fact that most of the audien...

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