Once in 28 years.

I’m the type to get excited by the rare traditions in Judiasm. The kind I never heard about in my two decades of formal Jewish education. So waking up at 5:45  this morning to join a minyan on a Tzur Hadassah roof top didn’t really bother me, even after a late night of cooking and a long week of running around. 

Birkat HaChama is a bit controversial in regards to how necessary/important/accurate it is, but I still think it’s a pretty cool concept. My shul community in Tzur Hadassah made an impressive turnout as we joined together on our rabbi’s roof-level mirpeset to watch the sun rise over the Gush Etzion hills. We recited ‘oseh ma’ase bereshit’ and a few other graphs of mentioning the sun. 

Sun’s first full peeking out over the hills past Tzur Hadassah.  

Congregated to bless He who does the act of creation.

Next chance to participate is in Jewish year 5797 or secular year 2037; how much will have changed by then? 

Download – and learn – Jewish prayers.

Even though it’s been a while since I’ve (really) prayed, I haven’t forgotten the power of prayer or what it can do for a person – believer or not.

This site got me all nostalgic, warm and fuzzy: Siddur Audio. I can’t believe someone was cool enough to post audio recordings of davening along with visuals including נקודות (vowels). Actually, that someone seems to have been Rabbi Mark Zimmerman, who did it because:

“Unfamiliarity with the Hebrew liturgy is an obstacle which keeps many from experiencing the joy and ruach of participating fully in their synagogue services. This website’s aim is to help people acquire the skills to overcome that hurdle.”

Way to go, man. That’s a great use of the internet, tape recorders and… well, rabbis.

All aboard: Morning minyan on Israel Railways.

New from Israel Railways:

Pray for the train to be on time…

Late for work or school because of long Morning Prayer? Do you get stuck in traffic because you were held up at shul? Israel Railways presents ‘Synagogue Coach’. Project’s initiators at Union of Synagogues wait for green-light from transportation minister, generous donor to provide Torah Scrolls. (Ynet)

Makes sense.