The Unetaneh Tokef prayer always sounds so harsh, Gerald Zelizer writes. But is there a way to understand it as a description of the randomness in the universe?
The incredibly rare convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah is quite a teachable moment, writes Gerald Zelizer. The two holidays have more in common than you’d think.
We used to ask: ‘How do we serve God?’ Now, we ask what religion can do for us. Getting the mix just right is crucial, especially as the High Holidays approach.
There was a time when our parents and grandparents regarded the rabbi as wise and his role as indispensable. Unfortunately, much popular culture has downgraded that image. Recent depictions of rabbis peg them as religious bureaucrats or buffoons — demoralized and eventually done in by synagogue politics.