Another skip that is confusing for most newcomers is the Shemoneh Esrei (also called the Amidah). In traditional practice, congregants stand and read through the entire Amidah silently, skipping the Kedushah blessing and the Priestly Blessing. This is a very long prayer -- 10-20 pages in my siddur. The process may take as much as five minutes, and the end is not always clearly marked. Watch for Oseh Shalom (May He who makes peace in his heights make peace for us and for all Israel, and let us say Amen). The Shemoneh Esrei ends with the paragraph after that one. The leader of the service then begins repeating the entire Shemoneh Esrei aloud, and you must flip back to the beginning to read along with it. (Note: the Shemoneh Esrei is not repeated at Ma'ariv).
As the Jews first appeared several weeks ago on the streets of Berlin graced with their Jewish star, the initial reaction of the citizens of the Reich capital was surprise. Only a few knew that there were still so many Jews in Berlin. Everyone suddenly found someone in the neighborhood who seemed like a harmless fellow citizen, who perhaps complained or criticized a bit more than normal, and whom no one had thought to be a Jew. He had concealed himself, mimicked his surroundings, adopting the color of the background, adjusted to the environment, in order to wait for the proper moment. Who among us had any idea that the enemy was beside him, that a silent or clever auditor was attending to conversations on the street, in the subway, or in the lines outside cigarette shops? There are Jews one cannot recognize by external signs. These are the most dangerous. It always happens that when we take some measure against the Jews, English or American newspapers report it the next day. Even today the Jews still have secret connections to our enemies abroad and use these not only in their own cause, but in all military matters of the Reich as well. The enemy is in our midst. What makes more sense than to at least make this plainly visible to our citizens?
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In any service where there is a , there is ordinarily a Torah procession. A congregant holds the Torah and carries it around the before and alfter the reading. As the Torah passes congregants, they touch the cover with their hand (or sometimes with a prayer book, or with their tallit) and then kiss their hand (or whatever they touched it with). In Orthodox synagogues, where the Torah procession often does not encompass the women's section, women generally reach out in the direction of the Torah, then kiss their hands.
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Another important part of certain prayer services is a reading from the (first 5 books of the Bible) and the Prophets. The Torah has been divided into 54 sections, so that if each of these sections is read and studied for a week, we can cover the entire Torah in a year every year (our leap years are 54 weeks long; regular years are 50 or so, we double up shorter portions on a few weeks in regular years). At various times in our history, our oppressors did not permit us to have public readings of the Torah, so we read a roughly corresponding section from the Prophets (referred to as a Haftarah). Today, we read both the Torah portion and the Haftarah portion. These are read at morning services on and some . In addition, at Monday and Thursday morning services, we read part of the upcoming Shabbat's Torah portion (about 10 to 15 verses; the first aliyah of the week's portion).
one to be read each Shabbat, ..
If we Germans have a fateful flaw in our national character, it is forgetfulness. This failing speaks well of our human decency and generosity, but not always for our political wisdom or intelligence. We think everyone else as is good natured as we are. The French threatened to dismember the Reich during the winter of 1939/40, saying that we and our families would have to stand in lines before their field kitchens to get something warm to eat. Our army defeated France in six weeks, after which we saw German soldiers giving bread and sausages to hungry French women and children, and gasoline to refugees from Paris to enable them to return home as soon as possible, there to spread at least some of their hatred against the Reich.
What are the basic Jewish beliefs, texts, and sacred places
More than a dozen people were killed by terrorists in Paris this week. The victims of these crimes are being mourned worldwide: they were human beings, beloved by their families and precious to their friends. On Wednesday, twelve of them were targeted by gunmen for their affiliation with the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo. Charlie has often been aimed at Muslims, and it’s taken particular joy in flouting the Islamic ban on depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. It’s done more than that, too, including taking on political targets, as well as Christian and Jewish ones. The magazine depicted the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost in a sexual threesome. Illustrations such as this have been cited as evidence of Charlie Hebdo’s willingness to offend everyone. But in recent years the magazine has gone specifically for racist and Islamophobic provocations, and its numerous anti-Islam images have been inventively perverse, featuring hook-nosed Arabs, bullet-ridden Korans, variations on the theme of sodomy, and mockery of the victims of a massacre. It is not always easy to see the difference between a certain witty dissent from religion and a bullyingly racist agenda, but it is necessary to try. Even Voltaire, a hero to many who extol free speech, got it wrong. His sparkling and courageous anti-clericalism can be a joy to read, but he was also a committed anti-Semite, whose criticisms of Judaism were accompanied by calumnies about the innate character of Jews.