LONG LIVE BOTH KINGS 

Queen Elizabeth II has gone to her ancestors. King Charles III reigns. Life in Britain and the Commonwealth goes on. Sounds like Rosh Hashanah. I monitored Elizabeth’s death and the rituals leading up to, and including, her funeral. Admittedly, I didn’t watch all that much; Carolyn followed the events far more extensively. As to the…

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WHALES, DOLPHINS AND AWE

I read Moby Dick ages ago and found myself fascinated by Herman Melville’s lengthy discourses on cetology, the study of whales. Last Wednesday, I joined my friends Ira and Dan on a whale watching trip hosted by the Oceanographic Society. In a word: awesome! We departed on the Salty Ladyfrom the yacht harbor at the Marina…

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JONAH AND JONES

Harvard University recently rejected a Ph.D. candidate in history despite impressive credentials. Michelle Jones’ case should move us to examine the biblical book of Jonah. Jones, 45 and a child victim of abuse, served more than 20 years for murdering her four-year-old son. A horrible crime? Absolutely. Yet in prison, she earned a B.A. from…

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CAPTAINS OF OUR SOULS

Sunday evening, Jews will observe Rosh Hashanah, the New Year (5777). Ten days later comes Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Unlike during the rest of the year, the sanctuary at Sherith Israel, my synagogue, will be full. Interestingly, most in attendance won’t know the Hebrew (our prayer book offers transliterations into English), or the…

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ROSH HASHANAH, CHINA AND ISIS

Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, worshippers filled Congregation Sherith Israel’s awe-inspiring sanctuary for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (5775). This told me a lot about what’s going on in China and the Islamic State. Let’s start with the synagogue. Most Friday-night Shabbat services draw 50–75 worshippers, Saturday mornings fewer. A guest cantor, musical group,…

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