Category: Living

We Have a Responsibility to the Earth

We Have a Responsibility to the Earth

Some interpret Creation as an allowance to plunder the Earth. However, that is a misconception; we have a responsibility to the Earth.

Ten Torah Resources You Should Know

Here are our top ten Torah resources you should know, including Conservative/Masorti organizations and resources for kids and families!
Gathering Our People: Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzma’ut

Gathering Our People: Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzma’ut

While I express my love for Jewish tradition, I am also holding the Jewish people in my hands and giving them a kiss as well.

A Yom HaZikaron like no other… God-willing

Yom HaZikaron is different this year. Our troops are still falling and getting wounded. The sense of loss and mourning is not theoretical.
Through My Children’s Eyes: Yom HaAtzmaut & Yom HaZikaron

Through My Children’s Eyes: Yom HaAtzmaut & Yom HaZikaron

Rabbi Rackover reflects on Yom HaZikkaron and Yom HaAtzmaut: For the first time, my daughter was afraid to share her Jewish identity. My heart broke.
A SEAT FOR THOSE WHO CAN'T COME HOME

A Seat For Those Who Can’t Come Home

This year, as we prepare the seder, we encourage an extra setting at your table—an empty chair for our family still in captivity in Gaza.
Days of the Omer Playlist

Exploring Judaism’s Omer Playlist

Exploring Judaism's Omer playlist is meant to accompany you throughout the seven weeks leading up to Shavuot: Bring a bit more music to life!
On Passover, We Are All Jews-By-Choice

On Passover, We Are All Jews-By-Choice

On Passover, we are all Jews-by-Choice when we choose to remember what it is that brings us together for the holiday.
How to Incorporate Kitniyot into Your Passover

How to Incorporate Kitniyot into Your Passover

Though the Conservative Movement has allowed eating kitniyot on Passover, many still do not. How can we incorporate kitniyot this year?
How Mourning Changes You

How Mourning Changes You

Pulling on a conversation between Stephen Colbert and Anderson Cooper about mourning, learn about how mourning can change you.
Confessions of a Fussy Kiddush Nosher

Confessions of a Fussy Kiddush Nosher

Though Kiddush in synagogue is a great for connecting with community, food options can be challenging and a limiting factor for picky eaters.
Why I Change the Melodies: Exploring Keva and Kavanah

Why I Change the Melodies: Exploring Keva and Kavanah

By occasionally changing melodies, we draw from both Keva and Kavanah and invite ourselves into a deeper connection with our prayers.
Why Tu b'Shvat Needs to be More Than a Birthday for Trees

Why Tu b’Shvat Needs to be More Than a Birthday for Trees

Rabbi Jonathan Bernhard encourages us to recommit to caring for our world and to see Tu b’Shvat as more than the “birthday for the trees.
Understanding the Jewish Call to Sustainability

Understanding The Jewish Call To Sustainability

Understanding the Jewish call to sustainability is rooted in a new category of mitzvot: bein adam l'adamah, between the self and the Earth.
The Mitzvah of Environmental Sustainability

The Mitzvah of Environmental Sustainability

What does Judaism say about environmental sustainability? Yishuv Ha'olam is the mitzvah to build and maintain a sustainable world.
Being a Conservative Jew in Jerusalem

A Conservative Jew in Jerusalem

What is it like being a Conservative Jew in Jerusalem and how do we understand the holiness of the holiest place in the world?
This is the Bread of Affliction

This is the Bread of Affliction

This is the bread of affliction: Matzah adorns our Seder plates and nourishes our souls, as well—this food is fulfilling.
What is a Bar Mitzvah, Bat Mitzvah, B-Mitzvah?

What is a Bar Mitzvah, Bat Mitzvah, B-Mitzvah?

The B-Mitzvah is a transitional moment when one becomes responsible to the mitzvot, Traditionally celebrated with an aliyah to the Torah.
The Art of Assimilating Wisely

The Art of Assimilating Wisely

Hanukkah—when we read about the Maccabees resisting assimilation and Joseph embracing it—is a time to look at the art of assimilation wisely.
What does Judaism say about abortion

What does Judaism say about Abortion?

An overview of what Judaism says about abortion based on the decisions and analysis of the Rabbinical Assembly.
My Good Mensches, We Are Modern Maccabees

My Good Mensches, We Are Modern Maccabees

We are the Maccabees of our modern time and we have the responsibility to keep the Ner Tamid lit for another generation.
Jewish Pride Guides My Actions

Jewish Pride Guides My Actions

From a love of Judaism and Jewish history, my Jewish pride guides my actions, both public and private, and defines my sense of self.
Psalms for this Time of Crisis in Israel

Psalms for this Time of Crisis in Israel

Seven psalms as a liturgical response to our individual and collective emotions, including grief, fear, rage, desperation, and others.

Hearts Broken But We Will Keep Living

Amidst the heartbreak over the war in Gaza, appreciating our lives and feeling joy is an act of resistance and affirmation of life.

Prayer for Israel

Rabbis Nicole Guzik and Erez Sherman offer a prayer for Israel. This was first offered at a vigil on October 8th, 2023.
Prayer for kidnapped israelis

Prayer for Kidnapped Israelis

A prayer for kidnapped Israelis by Hamas and are being held in Gaza.
Prayer for Simchat Torah War

Prayer for Simchat Torah War

Prayer for Simchat Torah War by The Rabbinical Assembly of Israel and Masorti Israel.
Prayer for the Welfare and Return of Israel’s Captured and Missing

Prayer for the Welfare and Return of Israel’s Captured and Missing

Prayer for the Welfare and Return of Israel's Captured and Missing by the Rabbinical Assembly of Israel and Masorti Israel
Talking to Kids About Israel (October 2023)

Talking to Kids About Israel (October 2023)

Rabbi Rebecca Rosenthal offers some wisdom on how to talk to children of all ages about what is happening in Israel in an appropriate way.
Violence in Israel: Self-Care and Mental Health

Violence in Israel: Self-Care and Mental Health

The bombing at Hebrew University was a transition moment in my life. I got by for about a month and then started to break down. ...

Exploring Judaism and the Crisis in Israel

October 9th, 2023 In the two years since we launched, Exploring Judaism has significantly impacted the Conservative/Masorti presence on the internet. We have worked to ...
Remembering Our Loved Ones Before Us

Remembering Our Loved Ones Before Us

When our loved ones die, who remembers those they remembered? Here's a way to remember all of those that came before us.
Mourning: A Rabbi's Own Perspective

Mourning: A Rabbi’s Own Perspective

A rabbi, familiar with leading others through the process of mourning, goes through the same. Rabbi David Baum remembers his mother.
Deja Jew, or, Asking the Question Yet Again: Why Be Jewish?

Deja Jew, or, Asking the Question Yet Again: Why Be Jewish?

Dig deeper into Jewish identity, memory, spirituality, and wisdom, exploring more into the question: "Why Be Jewish?"
Tu B'av: A Day For Joyous Love

Tu B’av: A Day For Joyous Love

Tu B'av, a minor summer holiday following Tisha B'av commemorates joyous events in Jewish history and celebrates love.

The Torah of the Summer Barbecue

Summer barbecues are great for relaxation and rejuvenation, and an opportunity to extend and receive hospitality like Abraham and Sarah.
Fatherhood as a Jewish Stay-at-Home Dad

Fatherhood as a Jewish Stay-at-Home Dad

Fatherhood has been a journey of obligation, an exploration of identity, and an opportunity to experience life through my child's eyes.

Re-writing the Wedding Ceremony: A Jewish LGBTQ+ Tradition 

"We were learning what being married Jewishly means and what's important to us as a couple, then inscribing that into the wedding ceremony."
What do I do if I can't go to minyan when saying kaddish?

What do I do if I can’t go to minyan when saying kaddish?

Saying Kaddish for a loved one is a cherished and prized custom, but it is not the only way to remember and honor the lives ...
How to Travel Jewishly

How to Travel Jewishly

How can you travel in a Jewish way? Emily Jaeger offers five solid ways that you might want to consider when you're traveling the world.
We Reclaimed Two Jewish Wedding Customs and You Can Too

We Reclaimed Two Jewish Wedding Customs and You Can Too

There are many Jewish wedding customs out there, finding the right ones for you can help you explore the more subtle emotions of the event. ...
Planning my Queer Halakhic Jewish Wedding

Planning my Queer Halakhic Jewish Wedding

Making the choices for our queer wedding ceremony including the ceremony, ketubah, sheva berachot, circling, and breaking the glass.

What Does the Month of Iyar Have to Do with Healing?

Iyar and healing refer not just to a named ailment, but overall wellness and health both internally and externally.
What is Healthy Jewish Pride?

What is Healthy Jewish Pride?

What is healthy Jewish pride? While exploring the past, present, and future of Chanukah, Rabbi Bernat-Kunin proposes a new home ritual.

Fasting While Ill

It is considered forbidden to fast on fast days if injurious to one’s health, for the sake of performing positive commandments.

Jewish Viewpoints on Serious Illness

We give thanks to God every day for the gift of life, but recognize that we are mortal and that illness and death will come.

Jewish Customs Showing Care for People who are Ill

Visiting the sick is counted as one of the mitzvot that is rewarded both in this world and also in the World to Come. 

Mourning Practices for the Loss of a Parent

The period of mourning for one’s parents is a full twelve months, and serves a deeply therapeutic function for the mourner.
death

When Death is Imminent

Judaism does not recognize any gray area between life and death. Whenever possible, a dying person should not be left alone.

Yahrzeit: The Jewish Anniversary of Someone’s Death

Yahrzeit should be a day given over to remembering and honoring an individual for whom one once sat shivah and is learning to live without.
A New Egalitarian Divorce

A New Egalitarian Divorce

Rabbi Barmash's new teshuvah empowers women and infuses the rites of marriage and divorce with more equality and dignity for both partners.

What is Yizkor?

Yizkor consists of a collection of readings and recitations revolving around two central prayers: Yizkor prayers, and the El Malei Rachamim.

Bar, Bat and B. Mitzvah – Where did it Come From and Where is it Going?

B'nei Mitzvot are one of today’s best known Jewish milestones, marking coming of age as an “adult” and responsibility for one’s own actions. 
Climate Disruption and Passover

Climate Disruption and Passover

Let’s do more than remember our refugee origin story and include how climate change and disruption are leading to new refugees.
Mujaddara on Passover

Mujaddara on Passover

How my family created and passed down cultural traditions, and how the Conservative Teshuvah on Kitniyot impacts our life outside the academy.

Tombstone Customs in Judaism

Tombstone customs in Judaism stem from the religious obligation to mark a grave. This is traditionally done with tombstones or stone markers.

What Does Jewish Law Say About Autopsies and Organ Donation?

The halakhah does not generally permit autopsies, due to honoring the dead. However, there are two important exceptions to that rule.

Kohanim and Funerals

Kohanim were forbidden to come into contact or share indoor space with the bodies of the dead, apart from their closest of relatives.
Mourners torn clothing

Aninut: What Should Mourners Do Until Burial

The period from the time of death until burial is known as aninut - the customs of the mourners during the initial stages of bereavement. ...

How to Comfort Mourners During Shivah

What do I do when I go to a shivah? Remember that conversation should be about the deceased, not the mourners or the visitors.

Jewish Laws and Rituals for Funerals

What are the Jewish laws and rituals regarding funerals? Generally, a ritual washing, burial, and a funeral, each with their own customs.

What is Sheloshim?

Shloshim are the thirty days that follows the week of shivah and is considered a period of reduced mourning.
Floating candle

What is Shivah?

The word shivah refers to the seven days of mourning that follow the burial of a parent, child, sibling, or spouse.
The Four Mitzvot of Purim

The Four Mitzvot of Purim

Purim has something for everyone. In celebrating the Purim, our tradition outlines four special mitzvot for the holiday.
Festivities and food on Purim

Festivities, Food, and Mitzvot on Purim

Purim is celebrated with days of feasting and merrymaking, and occasion for sending gifts to one another and gifts for the poor.
Life exists in relation

Life Exists in Relation

If we try to look past the tangible, if we focus on the other, in relationship, we can come to see the Divine, even if ...
Mikveh - Not just for niddah anymore

Mikveh: Not Just for Niddah Anymore

Moving well beyond niddah, mikveh is now used to mark any and all transitional and transformative moments.
What is the jewish afterlife

What is the Jewish Afterlife?

What does Judaism say about the afterlife? Exploring the inherent conflicts between the different ideas and why that's a good thing.
DIY Hanukkah and the Potato Menorah

DIY Hanukkah and the Potato Menorah

DIY Hanukkah: My custom of making a potato menorah and why DIY Judaica can provide a crucial connection to Judaism.
Customs for Hanukkah

Customs for Hanukkah

Beyond lighting the menorah, Hanukkah customs include special foods, the dreidel and gift-giving, especially when spending time with family.
The Risks of Playing Jewish Geography

The Risks of Playing Jewish Geography

In the game of Jewish geography, you connect with who you don’t know by connecting through who you do know. But is the game good ...
What does it take to feel Jewish

What does it take to feel Jewish?

Collecting experiences helps us feel like we belong. By doing ‘Jewish,’ we create meaningful Jewish lives where spirituality feels less contrived.
Dress to Impress Yourself…Into the Book of Life

Dress to Impress Yourself…Into the Book of Life

Sara Beth Berman teaches us: Everything you need to know about clothing the body that holds your precious soul for the High Holidays.
My Bangin’ Rosh Hashanah Seder

My Bangin’ Rosh Hashanah Seder

Emily Jaeger explains to us: What is the Rosh Hashanah seder, how do we perform it, and why you might consider doing one too.

Hold Onto This Rope

Rabbi Jessica Fisher reflects on the overturning of Roe: Mitzvot are a rope tossed overboard to haul us up from the depths and back to ...
Before a Prayer for our Country: A reflection on the Repeal of Roe

Before a Prayer for our Country: A reflection on the Repeal of Roe

Rabbi Adam Kligfeld shares his reflection, before the prayer for our country, on the impact and our civic obligation.
I Cried: A Reflection on the Overturning of Roe

I Cried: A Reflection on the Overturning of Roe

Rabbi Rebecca Rosenthal reflects on the overturning of Roe, the emotions she experienced, and the wisdom of Rabbi Chanina.
How to call Non-Binary Jews to the Torah

How to call Non-Binary Jews to the Torah

Being called to Torah is a moment of sacred encounter. Here's how to call Non-Binary Jews to the Torah based on the CJLS Teshuvah in ...
How do Jews Celebrate the Birth of a Daughter?

How do Jews Celebrate the Birth of a Daughter?

There are several ceremonies that families use to welcome and name a newborn girl in the synagogue or in the home.
What is a Brit Milah, Jewish Ritual Circumcision?

What is a Brit Milah: Jewish Ritual Circumcision?

Brit Milah refers to the covenant of circumcision, both the ritual act and the festive occasion surrounding a baby boy’s circumcision.
Your Tween Doesn’t Want a B-Mitzvah? That’s OK.

Your Tween Doesn’t Want a B-Mitzvah? That’s OK.

By empowering children to own this decision, we’re helping them to develop into young adults, and isn’t that what a B-Mitzvah is all about?
Why You Should Host a Pride Shabbat

Why You Should Host a Pride Shabbat

Aimee Close shares her story of becoming a synagogue member and the power and importance of Pride Shabbat and being welcoming.
How to See and Be Seen: Choosing Judaism

How to See and Be Seen: Choosing Judaism

Shavuot is the holiday of choosing Judaism. We choose to see the beauty of the tradition and be seen holding it with full hearts and ...
Learning about Mental Illness from Ruth

Learning about Mental Illness from Ruth

Risa Sugarman teaches that comparing Ruth's strengths to owning our own positive attributes as primary instead of our mental illness.
Mountain with fog and the words: Revelation: A Poem

Revelation: A Poem

Yakira Keshet offers a poem to commemorate Shavuot, her journey to Judaism, and the presence of our souls at Mount Sinai.
blurry image of a concert with orange lights with the words: Omer Mixtape Netzach week 4

Omer Mixtape 2022: Netzach Week 4

Rabbi Jenna Stein Turow counts the omer and explores the inner self by connecting divine elements to songs that hold special meaning.
blurry image of a concert with yellow lights with the words: Omer Mixtape Tiferet Week 3

Omer Mixtape 2022: Tiferet Week 3

Rabbi Jenna Stein Turow counts the omer and explores the inner self by connecting divine elements to songs that hold special meaning.
Blurry image of a concert with blue lights and the words:Omer Mixtape 2022.

Omer Mixtape 2022

Rabbi Jenna Stein Turow counts the omer and explores the inner self by connecting divine elements to songs that hold special meaning.
blurry image of a concert with red and blue lights with the words: Omer Mixtape Gevurah Week 2

Omer Mixtape 2022: Gevurah Week 2

Rabbi Jenna Stein Turow counts the omer and explores the inner self by connecting divine elements to songs that hold special meaning.
blurry image of a concert with Red lights with the words: Omer Mixtape Chesed Week 1

Omer Mixtape 2022: Chesed Week 1

Rabbi Jenna Stein Turow counts the omer and explores the inner self by connecting divine elements to songs that hold special meaning.
blurry image of dishes and the words The Important Thing That Keeps our Family “Doing Jewish”

The Important Thing That Keeps our Family “Doing Jewish”

The most important thing to teach the next generation is how to make a seder, including what comes before the festival candles are even lit.
The Four Questions and Living with Mental Illness

The Four Questions and Living with Mental Illness

We have the opportunity to help teens create long-lasting positive connections to the very traditions they are appropriately questioning.
blurry background of a grocery store with the words freedom and food allergies

Freedom and Food Allergies

How is one with food allergies supposed to feel free when they can’t partake in the matzo balls, charoset, cake, or anything else?