Crafted by acclaimed author and educator, Shoshana Silberman*, this free discussion guide for groups, book clubs and classes, will help deepen learning and build community through discussion of the provocative new adult-level collection Mitzvah Stories: Seeds for Inspiration and Learning.
*Author of A Family Haggadah, Shema Yisrael Siddur, The Whole Megillah, Tiku Shofar & Active Jewish Learning.
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.”
Inspiring four minute story of an updated approach to gleaning that adds dignity to the lives of the poor by creatively gleaning and supplying fresh produce to the shelves of the local food bank. A readily replicable mitzvah project perfect for bar and bat mitzvah, youth groups, congregations, etc. Gleaning projects are on the rise world-wide, and may be available for participation in your area.
This story looks to the Hassidic world for ritual nuances which can benefit the spirit and bear consideration during wedding planning.
The Hurvah Synagogue in Jerusalem is to be the site of a dear friend's wedding held in the style of the Carliner Hassidim from which he learned late in life his family descends. During yeshiva studies in Israel he was assisted in becoming engaged to another baal teshuvah, "master of return", the phrase used for a Jewish person who has newly decided to fully enter the rigorous practices of a given orthodox community.
Upon arriving at the baggage claim in Philadelphia's airport, the man beside me noticed I was holding a Jewish paper open to an article about the arrest of a woman wearing a tallis (prayer shawl) at the Kotel, (the “Wall”) in Jerusalem. The title of this article is the comment he made to me: “A woman in a tallis at the Kotel is like blowing out the Hanukkah candles.” Hoisting my suitcase off onto the baggage cart, I quoted the Iggeret HaKodesh (a Hassidic text) to him: "Whenever ahavat yisrael (love of all Jews) is in the hearts of the Jewish people, the heart of God, the Shechinah is, also healthy." [Epsitle 31] His family was waving and coming towards us, so he simply bowed his head slightly in acknowledgement, and we parted ways blessing each other to have a happy Hanukkah.
“Rabbi, our wedding will be at sunset on a small island off the coast of Western Canada. The beaches are great; there’s even a small mountain. We’ll fly you in and put you up for a few days. But please understand, we want the ceremonial mumbo jumbo out of the way as quickly as possible so our guests can have a good time on the party boats before it’s too dark.”
Based on the wedding of Barry Bub and Goldie Milgram, this component was created and facilitated by Rabbi Shefa Gold without an actual veil because I wanted us there as equals and we used the concept of veils metaphorically. The episode here is from another wedding where the bride preferred an actual veil.
Barry Bub, MD reveals how Jews from very different parts of the spectrum of Jewish practice can, with thought and preparation, have meaningful connection in this Mitzvah Stories podcast filmed at the Museum for Jewish History, NY, NY. The story is his own, "Tied Together and Worlds Apart," from Mitzvah Stories: Seeds for Inspiration and Learning - Buy Now
Perfect. Sunrise at the Jersey shore and not a soul on the beach save for Craig and his brother Dan. Craig’s second marriage will be at one o’clock. I join them on the sand beside a blissfully calm sea. Craig has been doing the traditional practice of recalling, honoring, and releasing anew any mistakes, misgivings, and stresses in his life up to this point. In the weeks and months leading up to this day he has already made and kept appointments to work through and resolve issues with people who have hurt him or whom he has hurt in the past.
Midwifing a couple through a divorce ritual is challenging. Often clergy are doing this for people we know, respect, and have come to care for greatly - both of them. Our task is to help two souls disentwine, to remove the kiddushin, the "holiness," that sanctified them as for each other alone.
As a child of maybe seven, while exploring the basement of our suburban home, I found a curious item, a velvet bag containing little boxes with long black leather straps attached to them. Hauling them upstairs I asked my father if I could use the straps for a craft project.
Hearing of my plans to return and teach in the Ukraine again, Reb Zalman asked if I would travel to the grave of Reb Nachman of Breslov. Now, visiting dead rebbes was not the sort of work I had in mind at that phase of my life. It
I didn't spend a penny on my last trip to Canada and so I noted that on the customs form. The smiling agent stamps a big red word "Extest" onto my form and sends me around the corner where all the people with large suspicious boxes go. Ugh. A zillion overseas trips and today, winging my way back to my beloved, to get stuck in bureaucracy.