Connect with us


How a religious revival fed the demise of the Midtown kosher deli



(New York Jewish Week) — It happened toward the end of the last theater season, and it didn’t occasion much comment in the media. But the merging of Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen on West 38th Street with the glatt kosher Mr. Broadway around the corner marked the end of an era.

Ben’s, the last kosher deli in the Theater District that was open on Shabbat, made it possible for generations of Jewish New Yorkers — and a good many Jewish tourists as well — to enjoy a bowl of matzah ball soup and a kosher pastrami or corned beef sandwich before heading to a Saturday matinee.

In recent years, as the Orthodox world has become increasingly stringent, fewer and fewer agencies have offered kosher supervision to an eatery that remains open on the Jewish Sabbath. But all sorts of Jews eat in kosher restaurants for all kinds of reasons: nostalgia, a continuing attachment to Jewish culture, a sense of fealty to the Jewish people, a desire to be among other Jews, or even simply force of habit.

The merger of Ben’s and Mr. Broadway may represent a triumph of religiosity, but it also marks the demise of a Midtown kosher culture that was more flexible and more inclusive of the diverse ways people experience their Jewishness.

Kosher delis were, for decades, fixtures of the Garment Center and the Theater District — the twin neighborhoods, both heavily trafficked by Jews, that stand cheek by jowl in Midtown. Hirsch’s Kosher Deli on West 35th Street was immortalized in the early 1940s in a photo by Roman Vishniac of a group of clothing company executives in three-piece suits and fedoras reading Yiddish newspapers and chatting — a far cry from the photographer’s iconic shots from less than a decade earlier of impoverished Eastern European Jews, most of whom were fated to perish in the Holocaust.

In the 1960s, kosher delis in the area included the Melody on Seventh Avenue at 37th Street and Golding’s on Broadway and 48th Street (before it decamped to the Upper West Side, reopening at Broadway and 86th Street). In the 1970s, the Smokehouse on 47th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues featured smoked and spiced beef by Zion Kosher, the main rival in New York to Hebrew National.

Celebrated Theater District delis like Lindy’s and Reuben’s, and later The Stage and The Carnegie, weren’t kosher, and they sold the lion’s share of corned beef and pastrami sandwiches.

But there was no dearth of kosher food in the neighborhood. In addition to the kosher delis, there were popular upscale kosher eateries like Gluckstern’s — which claimed, in the late 1940s, to serve a staggering 15,000 customers a week — Poliacoff’s, Trotsky’s, the Paramount and Lou G. Siegel’s, which billed itself as “America’s Foremost Kosher Restaurant.” Lou G. Siegel’s occupied the same space that Ben’s took over and that Mr. Broadway is in now at 209 West 38th Street. (Mr. Broadway originated as a dairy restaurant in 1922; in 1985, it transitioned to a gourmet glatt kosher restaurant, and over time added sandwiches, sushi, Israeli food and the like.)

In addition to serving steaks and chops, these establishments sold large quantities of deli sandwiches. While these restaurants advertised themselves as “strictly kosher,” they were open on Shabbat, although notices in their menus, printed daily, beseeched patrons not to smoke on the premises on Friday nights and on Saturdays until sundown, since that, of course, would be a flagrant violation of Jewish law.

When a 2018 review in the New York Times referred to the 2nd Avenue Deli as kosher, even though it was open on Shabbat, it prompted a complaint from a reader named Fred Bernstein. Bernstein explained to restaurant critic Frank Bruni that “almost no observant Jew would consider it kosher” and cited two authorities on the subject: actor Sacha Baron Cohen and Leah Adler, Steven Spielberg’s mother and then owner of a kosher dairy restaurant in Los Angeles.

Lou G. Siegel’s billed itself as “America’s Foremost Kosher Restaurant,” while Gluckstern’s claimed, in the late 1940s, to serve a staggering 15,000 customers a week. (Courtesy Ted Merwin)

Bruni responded, quite reasonably, that he has “several friends who adapt and interpret kosher dietary rules in unusual and permissive ways.” He added: “For them ‘kosher’ — and they do use the word itself when explaining their menu choices — isn’t an exact and exacting prescription so much as it is an ideal toward which they take small steps.”

Indeed Ronnie Dragoon, who owns the restaurants in the Ben’s Kosher Deli chain — all of which are open on Shabbat — and is now a part-owner in Mr. Broadway, estimated that only about 20 percent of his clientele, across all his restaurants, keep the Jewish dietary laws.

Most of the kosher delis in New York were historically open on Shabbat, from the heyday of the kosher deli in the 1930s, when there were a staggering 1,550 such delis in the five boroughs, to today, when less than one percent of that number remains. Deli owners needed their establishments to be open on the weekends to make a profit — in Manhattan, they did the bulk of their business on Friday and Saturday nights, as opposed to kosher delis in the outer boroughs, which were typically busiest on Sunday nights for both eat-in and takeout.

Some kosher delis, especially in the outer boroughs, did close for the entirety of the Sabbath. As Alfred Kazin writes in his lyrical memoir, “A Walker in the City,” “At Saturday twilight, as soon as the delicatessen store reopened after the Sabbath rest, we raced into it panting for the hot dogs sizzling on the gas plate just inside the window. The look of that blackened empty gas plate had driven us wild all through the wearisome Sabbath day. And now, as the electric sign blazed up again, lighting up the words JEWISH NATIONAL DELICATESSEN, it was as if we had entered into our rightful heritage.”

In Manhattan, many owners of kosher delis got around the strict rules of kashrut by “selling” their restaurants to non-Jews, usually employees, before sundown on Friday and buying them back on Saturday night, so they technically didn’t own them and so weren’t doing business during the Sabbath. (This echoes the practice that many Jews engage in by selling forbidden food items to a non-Jew before Passover.) Many justified staying open on Shabbat because it enabled Jews to remain faithful to Jewish tradition in their food consumption, without regard to other ways in which they were transgressing Jewish law.

Kosher delis nowadays adopt different strategies to deal with this issue. Some, like the 2nd Avenue Deli, do still sell their businesses to a non-Jew. Yuval Dekel, the owner of Liebman’s, the last kosher deli in the Bronx (which is about to debut a second store in Westchester) told me that he just ensures that all his ingredients are kosher and leaves it at that.

Some kosher delis, especially outside the New York area, like Abe’s Kosher Deli in Scranton, Pennsylvania, are owned by non-Jews. While relatively unusual, there is nothing new about this: The Kosher Irishman, a deli in East Orange, New Jersey, was open for more than a half a century.

Staying open on Shabbat in the city, however one did it, could be a problem if a neighborhood became heavily populated by Hasidic Jews. My mother worked in the 1950s in her uncle’s kosher deli in Williamsburg, Brooklyn until the restaurant was forced to close because of opposition from the growing haredi population in the neighborhood, who insisted that keeping an otherwise kosher restaurant open on Shabbat was a chillul haShem (desecration of God’s name).

A view outside the 2nd Avenue Deli in New York in 1985. (Eugene Gordon/The New York Historical Society/Getty Images)

In today’s world, in which most Orthodox Jews will eat only in glatt kosher delis like Mr. Broadway, Jewish food doesn’t play the kind of unifying role it once did, according to Jeffrey Gurock, a professor at Yeshiva University and a historian of Modern Orthodoxy. In the past, Gurock has explained, seeing a neon Hebrew National sign in the window made even Modern Orthodox Jews comfortable eating in a deli, whether it was open on Shabbat or not.

Early one Wednesday afternoon in July, I stopped at Mr. Broadway for a bite. I had a ticket to “Funny Girl,” so I didn’t have too much time to eat. I sat and chatted with Dragoon while I chowed down on a brisket sandwich and a potato knish. Two kippah-wearing businessmen were sitting at a nearby table and we took bets on what they would order, since it was during the Nine Days before Tisha B’Av and observant Jews refrain from eating meat during that time of year.

I glanced at a huge, framed oil painting that was sitting on the floor, leaning up against one of the walls that, when it was still Ben’s, was decorated with the famous deli joke about an immigrant Chinese waiter who speaks Yiddish (and thinks he’s speaking English). In its place, the oil painting showed a tall Orthodox rabbi standing on a plush red carpet before the ark in a synagogue; he was clad in sumptuous blue and white robes and sported a long, flowing white beard. The painting seemed like the perfect symbol of what had happened to the deli as it had acquired a depth of religiosity that neither Lou G. Siegel’s nor Ben’s had ever aspired to.

Ronnie saw me looking at it. “Do you want it?” he asked.

“No,” I said. “No, I really don’t.”

The post How a religious revival fed the demise of the Midtown kosher deli appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Continue Reading


50 years after the Yom Kippur War, veterans see echoes in Israel’s current crisis




(JTA) — Israelis were not sure their country would survive. American Jews were not sure how to respond.

Fifty years after the Yom Kippur War — which broke out on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar in 1973 and lasted for about three weeks — some of those who lived through that time are seeing another crisis play out again in the present day, as Israelis have been locked in civil strife over their government’s effort to weaken the Supreme Court.

But those who remember the 1973 war say there are two major differences between now and then: The threat to Israel today is not existential, they say, nor is it external. This year, Israelis are fighting amongst themselves.

In interviews, four veterans of the war and a Jewish American official who was at the center of his community’s response to it recalled vivid memories of the events, and spoke about the war’s echoes in the present day, as masses of Israelis see a threat to Israel’s democracy in the government’s proposed judicial overhaul. The Israelis who support the overhaul say that it will curb an activist judiciary and allow the elected government to better represent its right-wing base.

A government failed

Israelis were caught off-guard by the war, in part because their leaders did not heed the warnings from some intelligence officials who saw the Egyptian and Syrian armies build up forces that were poised to attack. The armies were positioned on the borders of the Sinai Desert and Golan Heights, next to territories Israel had captured in the 1967 Six-Day War.

“Israel was not prepared, in many ways we did not have military answers,” said Itzhak Brook, an Israeli physician who was serving in the military, attached to a supply battalion in the Sinai. “I think a lot of it was arrogance, a society that felt we were invincible, the euphoria that happened after the Six-Day War.”

Hillel Schenker, who was deployed to the Golan Heights to lay mines, said the anger at the country’s leadership was soon expressed in the streets — presaging the Israel of 2023.

“Soon there were thousands of people joining the protests against [Defense Minister Moshe] Dayan,” he said. “And soon there were thousands of people joining the protest against Dayan and to a degree also against Golda” Meir, then the Israeli prime minister. The protests eventually helped bring down Meir’s government and led to her replacement by Yitzhak Rabin.

The resonance in the United States

The three Americans who were among the veterans interviewed by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency said communicating within Israel during the war was a challenge — and staying in touch with relatives in the United States was much harder. They did not know until after the war how traumatized the American Jewish community was.

Allan Feldman, who was a sapper, tracking and destroying explosive ordnance, recalled that his mother in Baltimore managed to get through to him at a time when making a call often meant walking a considerable distance to pick up the phone.

“I’m an only child, and I had a hysterical mother,” he recalled. “So we were in touch.”

Abe Foxman, then a senior official in the Anti-Defamation League, which he would later lead for nearly three decades, said the American Jewish community was beside itself at the time.

“After ‘67, there was this euphoria, and after ‘73, there was this sadness, this pallor,” he said. “There was just this traumatic moment that God forbid, we could have lost Israel.”

Brook, who was born in Israel and who left eight months after the war to pursue a medical fellowship in the United States, said he was taken aback when he arrived stateside: American Jews had been traumatized, but with the passage of time it was no longer as immediate as it had been for Israelis.

“Many American Jews did not understand what Israel went through or what I went through,” he said. He wrote a book about his experiences, called “In the Sands of Sinai: A Physician’s Account of the Yom Kippur War.” He has delivered more than 200 lectures in person and via video chat to sustain the memory of the war.

A war that forever changed lives and a country

“Three weeks before the war, I did an idyllic tour of reserve duty in Dahab in the Sinai for a month,” Schenker recalled, referring to the Red Sea coastal resort that was, while it was under Israeli rule, a hub for alternative lifestyles. “We had no sense, no inkling that a war was coming.”

Schenker, who was from New York, had connections to the city’s folk scene and ambitions of launching a singing career in Israel, or perhaps pursuing a career in academia.

“The Yom Kippur War totally transformed, eliminated those paths and what happened to me is that I said, now the major challenge that I have and that my generation has is to try to achieve peace to prevent another outbreak like this one,” he said. He became a peace activist, helping to establish the activist group Peace Now, which grew to become one of Israel’s leading left-wing nonprofits.

Feldman said he was pleased that he avoided serving in the U.S. military’s war in Vietnam, and was ready to serve in Israel’s army. But he did not anticipate how much the country would change as a result of the war — becoming in his view more militaristic, more religious and more committed to West Bank settlement. He sees those trends in the present day.

“This is not the Zionist dream that I had,” he said. “What is going on with the extreme right wing government. I’m too worried about where Israel is going to worry about where it has been.”

Dave Holtzer, who served on guard duty during the war, also sees worrying resonances today.

“Then, it was a threat because the Syrians were going to kill us all,” Holtzer said. “Here, they’re not going to kill us, they’re just going to take away our democracy.

Brook, in his presentations to Jewish communities, describes the moment that he knew Israel would change forever.

“We evacuated a group of soldiers to a field hospital and as I walked out, I saw the sight of a hospital tent and a row of stretchers,” he said in a presentation he prepared in 2020 and shared with JTA. “Each of them was covered with a blanket. All you could see was shoes. Some were brown — paratroopers; some were black — armored corps or artillery.”

He recalled thinking, “The families of those men don’t know, and in a few hours someone will knock on their door and change their lives forever.”

As much as memorializing the Yom Kippur war has preoccupied him, Brook says he perceives a different and in some ways graver threat now.

“The threat to Israel is not so much from the militaries of the major Arab countries, the threat is the nuclear threat from Iran, the terror from Gaza and Lebanon, and also the internal strife in Israel because of the controversy over the judicial system,” he said. “That threat is even greater than the war — in war everyone is united, right now Israelis are divided.”

American Jews are more invested now

Instantaneous communication means that American Jews are more likely to be invested in the current crisis, Holtzer said.

“People ask what’s going on, they’re in touch everyday,” said Holtzer.

Feldman marvels at how he is in daily contact with his Israeli-raised son, who lives in the United States. “We talk almost every day on the laptop or you know, we see him and the kids on the screens,” he said.

Schenker said his American friends and family have an immediate sense of the crisis. “We didn’t have WhatsApp or Zoom or anything else,” he said. “My daughter in New York sends me photos of herself, demonstrating against Netanyahu.”

The post 50 years after the Yom Kippur War, veterans see echoes in Israel’s current crisis appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Continue Reading


Who is Siggy Flicker, the ‘Real Housewife’ behind Trump’s Rosh Hashanah message condemning ‘liberal Jews’?




(JTA) — Siggy Flicker, a former Real Housewife of New Jersey, says she often finds herself apologizing when she hangs out with her friend Donald Trump, a fellow reality TV star turned Republican activist.

“We’ll talk about the country and how much we love the country,” Flicker told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency this week. “And I’m always expressing to him, ‘It’s just so upsetting to me, I’m so sorry, Mr. President, for the liberal American Jews.’”

Most of the time, she said, that thought gets shared in private conversations: Flicker, who now lives in Florida and is a member of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, said she’s dined with the former president and flown on his private plane. But this week, the sentiment exploded into public view after Trump shared a graphic that Flicker made for Rosh Hashanah on his social media platform.

“Just a quick reminder for liberal Jews who voted to destroy America & Israel because you believed false narratives!” said the graphic, which Trump posted on Sunday, near the end of the holiday. “Let’s hope you learned from your mistakes and make better choices moving forward! Happy New Year!”

The post immediately ignited criticism of Trump, who has accused left-leaning American Jews of “great disloyalty” in the past. A range of Jewish organizations condemned the post, which highlighted his record on Israel as president, and some called it “offensive” and “dangerous.”

Flicker, the Israeli-born daughter of Holocaust survivors, dismisses the concerns and says she was proud to see the former president share her work.

“Who cares if they found it offensive,” Flicker told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “The bottom line is Donald Trump is leading in the polls. Donald Trump is not an antisemite. Donald Trump is a lover of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. And at the end of the day, if the liberal Jews are gonna get triggered and they find it offensive, who cares?”

Trump’s post offered new prominence for the role that Flicker is playing in the effort to return him to the White House. With some of his past Jewish advisors, including his own daughter and son-in-law, seemingly keeping their distance from his campaign as he faces four separate indictments, Flicker has emerged as something of an unofficial Jewish ambassador for Trump — espousing views that are far outside the norm for American Jews.

On her Instagram account, she lambasts President Joe Biden, who received a large majority of Jewish votes; warns of the arrival of migrants, an issue with Jewish historical freight; and quotes Tucker Carlson, the former Fox News host who echoed the antisemitic “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory.

There was a time, not long ago, when Flicker said, “I don’t like negative,” and added that she wanted to “bring light” to the cutthroat world of reality TV. Born in Israel in 1967 — her full first name is Sigalit — Flicker is the daughter of Mordecai Paldiel, a Holocaust survivor who served as director of Yad Vashem’s Righteous Among the Nations department for more than 20 years. She has lived in the United States since childhood and, as an adult, crafted a career as a matchmaker and relationship coach.

She was the host of a dating show, “Why Am I Still Single?!” which ran on VH1 for one season starting in 2011. Beginning five years later, she appeared on two seasons of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.” Formerly a resident of Tenafly, a New Jersey suburb with a large Israeli population, Flicker now lives in Boca Raton, Florida full-time.

She has also written a book on dating and has co-hosted a podcast. Flicker’s second marriage, in 2012, made news because her first husband and the father of her two children served as best man.

It was around the time of her stint on “RHONJ,” starting in early 2016, as she tells it, that she first saw Trump’s appeal. (She was on the show for two seasons before quitting in a move that an anonymous source told Page Six was a response to antisemitic bullying.) She told JTA that she was a Democrat before then but saw Trump, a fellow reality TV star, as a fresh alternative.

“I said to myself, ‘Wow, finally a non-politician who’s a great businessman,” Flicker recalled. “I’m going to give him a try.’”

Seven years later, Flicker is a sworn Trump devotee. She said she and her husband have become personal friends with the former president in recent years, getting to know him through a mutual acquaintance, Alina Habba, who is one of Trump’s attorneys.

Since 2020, Flicker has been the spokeswoman for Jexit, an activist group formed in 2018 to persuade Jews to abandon their historical affinity with the Democratic Party — whose candidates regularly receive a solid majority of Jewish votes. She first got involved in Jexit after meeting its founder, Michelle Terris, and realizing that their sons were friends at Pennsylvania State University.

“She’s really a force and she is a true figurehead for our movement because she’s a legal immigrant,” Terris told JTA.

Jexit — which was loosely inspired by a similar group for Black Americans called Blexit, founded by the Black conservative activist Candace Owens —  hosts prayer breakfasts, rallies and is planning an upcoming trip to Israel for a cohort of interfaith leaders. One of its goals is explicitly to promote “Judeo-Christian values,” a concept some critics say subsumes Jewish tradition within a promotion of Christian messages.

“Together we’re gonna make Judeo-Christian values great again,” Flicker said. “We’re not relying on the liberal Jews.”

Jexit’s programming director, Sofia Manolesco, told JTA that about 5,000 people are on Jexit’s mailing list. In a follow-up email, Terris said that after a “rough calculation,” their membership totals “50+ thousand.” The group has fewer than 10,000 Instagram followers; Flicker has more than 600,000.

The fact that Trump’s Rosh Hashanah post was written by a Jewish woman who works for a Jewish organization does not excuse it, said Halie Soifer, CEO of the Jewish Democratic Council of America.

“This is in his name, so it doesn’t matter who wrote it, this is attributed to him,” Soifer said. “It doesn’t matter that Jexit claims to be a Jewish organization.”

Soifer called the post’s claims “inherently antisemitic” and said, “A Jewish person can say offensive and even antisemitic things as well, if they so choose.”

In addition to her stances on Jews and Israel, Flicker holds a variety of conspiracy-driven views that have become increasingly commonplace on the far right. She told JTA that the 2020 election was stolen; that the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was primarily made up of “people dressed as Trump supporters” and was less severe than the destruction resulting from nationwide racial justice protests in 2020; and that Jews and Black people largely supported Trump ahead of the 2016 election until the “deep state” and “radical left” realized they “could not control him.” (She has previously said she was not in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021.) She also referred to Biden repeatedly as the “resident” — a term meant to imply that he is not a legitimate president.

Her organization also repeats falsehoods about the 2020 election. The Jexit website still includes a flier for a 2020 local “Stop the Steal” event in Miami, and Flicker said, “One hundred percent, Jexit believes the 2020 election was stolen.” She also texted JTA a meme that read, “January 6th will be remembered as the day the government set up a staged riot to cover up the fact they certified a fraudulent election.”

Flicker is confident Trump will win next year — “regardless of what the deep state and the radical left do,” she said. She only wishes that most American Jews could see the light.

“It’s the number-one question that I get: ‘How do you feel about your own people funding their own demise?’” she said. “And I’m like, ‘It’s heartbreaking to me.’ But you know what, at this point, you got to wake them up and tell the truth.”

The post Who is Siggy Flicker, the ‘Real Housewife’ behind Trump’s Rosh Hashanah message condemning ‘liberal Jews’? appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Continue Reading


If you’re trying to connect to God on Yom Kippur, here’s a prayer for you




This story was originally published on My Jewish Learning.

(JTA) — For those of us who don’t regularly think in theological terms, the High Holiday liturgy can be jarring to read. Some of the messages are relatively easy to relate to, like the reminder of human frailty in Unetaneh Tokef (“Who will live and who will die?”) or the expression of remorse over our shortcomings in the confession litany (“We have sinned; we have been disloyal…”). But the traditional High Holiday prayer book also includes some far more abstruse ideas.

An obvious challenge is the centrality of animal sacrifice to the way the Day of Atonement was observed in the ancient Temple, a ritual we recount in detail during Yom Kippur. But the prayers also repeatedly invoke ideas about God that are far removed from our regular discourse.

Consider the repeated refrain of “And so, place your fear, O Lord our God, on all your creations.” Or this sequence describing God: “Who knows the inclination of all creations/ All believe that He creates them in the womb/ Who can do anything and unifies them together.” Reflecting on God’s exaltedness, pleading for mercy from a deity who knows our thoughts and holds the power of life and death over us — these are notions that are hard to grasp and difficult to come to terms with. How do we conceptualize and relate to God without recourse to a seminar in theology?

Even as it creates this challenge, the liturgy provides a solution by offering a range of different modes of relating to God. Nowhere is this clearer than in Ki Anu Amekha, a short poem (piyyut) recited multiple times on Yom Kippur to introduce the Viddui, the confessional prayer. It reads:

For we are your people, and you are our God.
We are your children, and you are our Father.
We are your servants, and you are our Lord.
We are your congregation, and you are our Portion.
We are your heritage, and you are our Destiny.
We are your flock, and you are our Shepherd.
We are your vineyard, and you are our Keeper.
We are your work, and you are our Maker.
We are your dear ones, and you are our Beloved.
We are your treasure, and you are our God.
We are your people, and you are our King.
We are your chosen ones, and you are our Chosen One.

This piyyut presents a list of relational pairs that characterize the relationship between Israel and God in various ways, all of which draw on comparisons to non-Divine relationships. It appears to be an expansion of a midrash on Song of Songs 2:16 that proposed several of these relational pairs, justifying each with a biblical verse. It is followed in the High Holiday prayer book by an additional stanza that relates more directly to themes of sin and forgiveness that are the leitmotif of the Day of Atonement, contrasting the human penchant for sin with God’s compassion and mercy. Less clear is the function of the section cited above. In what way does delineating this litany of relationships serve as a fitting introduction to a confession ritual?

I would argue that the purpose of listing these various relationships is to invite each of us to find ourselves in the poem as we stand before God and request atonement. People are complex and multi-faceted, and the way we relate to an infinite God is bound to be even more varied and intricate. Some people may relate best to God as a father who loves his children even as he disciplines them. Others may connect better to a political metaphor, seeing God as the king exercising dominion over his nation. Some of us experience God more intimately, as a shepherd tending the flock or a vintner caring for grape vines. Others see the relationship between Israel and God as one of passionate love as described in the Song of Songs. And some may see God primarily through the history of the Jewish people, as having chosen Israel for a particular divine destiny.

Each line of this piyyut depicts a particular quality of relationship between God and Israel, but none of them exhausts it. God simultaneously inhabits all of these modes of relation depending on the person, the point in time and the broader context in which the relationship manifests itself.

The poem, and the High Holy Days liturgy overall, represents God in these various ways not because everyone in synagogue is expected to develop a complex theology that can encompass them all, but because we can all likely connect to at least one mode of relating to God in our prayers. As each of us focuses on and resonates with a particular aspect of the God-Israel relationship, our collective recitation of Ki Anu Amekha serves to express the rich and varied tapestry of God. And hopefully our Father, our King, our Shepherd, our Lover, our Destiny will see fit to grant Israel forgiveness and make 5784 a year filled with blessings.

The post If you’re trying to connect to God on Yom Kippur, here’s a prayer for you appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2017 - 2023 Jewish Post & News