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  • Miller Course - Introduction to Judaism

    If you're thinking of converting to Judaism: Completion of the Intro Program fulfills the learning requirements for conversion of the Rabbinical Assembly of America. Once you finish the course requirements and secure a sponsoring rabbi, you are eligible to become officially part of the Jewish People. If you're already Jewish: Whether you were born Jewish but never quite learned what it’s all about, you’re back after a long hiatus, or you’re just looking for a deeper understanding of your heritage, most of us could use a bit of a refresher. Jews from all walks of life enroll in the program: from people who had a Jewish day school education to those whose strongest connection was the annual box of matza on the kitchen counter. More details to follow. Please let us know if you're interested. Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/98601669614?pwd=ajU1YldEOFVKOGRDL0RQaVNId2QrQT09 Meeting ID: 986 0166 9614 Passcode: 278508 One tap mobile +16699006833,,98601669614# US (San Jose) +12532158782,,98601669614# US (Tacoma) Dial by your location +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose) +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 929 205 6099 US (New York) +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC) Meeting ID: 986 0166 9614 Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/aBrvMx0uI

  • Office Hours

    I am typically in my office at Temple Sholom of Ontario on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9:15 am - 1:00 pm. I am typically available unless I have a pre-arranged appointment or commitment.

  • Office Hours

    I am typically in my office at Temple Sholom of Ontario on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9:15 am - 1:00 pm. I am typically available unless I have a pre-arranged appointment or commitment.

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Blog Posts (435)
  • This week's 10-Minute Torah (April 17, 2021): "Parashat Tazria-Metzora" 5781

    https://youtu.be/SQpekvl6WLo Parashat Tazria-Metzora/ פרשת תַזְרִיעַ־מְּצֹרָע Read on 17 April 2021 (5 Iyyar 5781). Parashat Tazria-Metzora is the 27th and 28th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. Torah Portion: Leviticus 12:1-15:33 This double portion follows the purity of food (kashrut). Tazria starts by discussing the restoration of spiritual purity for a woman who gives birth. She is unclean for seven days after the birth of a son, and two weeks after the birth of a girl. The shorter time for a boy is possibly because he has to be circumcised on the eighth day of life. She then brings a burnt-offering and sin-offering and her purity is restored. Today, she would come into the synagogue after the period of time and then bathing in a mikvah. The portion then discusses the impurity of skin blemishes. These are called tzaahat and beheret, depending on the appearance. These blemishes have been called “leprosy” and “elephantiasis”, and also by the transliterated terms. While their similarities to these modern diseases are questionable, their symptoms are not like any modern diseases. This is especially notable that it is the priest that diagnoses the conditions and the person is sent out of the camp for a period that can be as short as one week, if the blemish disappears in that time. When the person has been deemed to be “cured”, it is the priest who pronounces them clean. Some sages believe that the etiology of these blemishes is the person engaging in LaShon HaRah. This is HaShem’s punishment for a person gossiping and demeaning others behind their back. The skin reveals their offense and they now have to walk through the camp warning people, “Contaminated, contaminated”, thus keeping people away from them and preventing their ability to spread malicious talk. Metzora discusses the spiritual remedy of the metzora. The person, once the blemishes disappear and the priest deems them no long afflicted, takes two birds, one for a offering, one to let free. They offer a sin-offering and a guilt-offering. They immerse in a mikvah and shave themselves. They are anointed with blood and oil placed on their ears, thumb and foot, similar to the consecration of priests. The portion also discusses blemishes that can appear on utensils, articles of clothing and houses. Purification is similar to that of a metzora. Also, the article is either destroyed or the part of the house is cut away. Finally, we are taught about the purification of bodily issues. Some of these are naturally occurring, others are unnatural. The text gives the purification for these as well, again similar to the other purification rites.

  • The Historical Roots of Anti-Semitism

    Two millennia of European anti-Semitism can be traced to early Christian beliefs about Jewish culpability in the murder of Jesus. BY JONATHAN JUDAKEN https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-historical-roots-of-anti-semitism/?utm_source=MJL_Maropost&utm_campaign=MJL_Holocaust&utm_medium=email After the sack of Rome by the Visigoths in 410, Augustine of Hippo (354-430) composed The City of God, a philosophical treatise that would become a keystone of medieval Christian thought and inform European attitudes toward Jews and Judaism for the next 1,000 years. Augustine’s position toward Jews was ambivalent, crystalizing a duality of fear and fascination that runs throughout the Western Christian tradition. Augustine claimed Jews were murderers of Jesus, for which they were forever doomed to exile and subordination. At the same time, he believed Jews should be protected from grievous harm, since wherever they lived they carried the Old Testament, which testified to Jesus’s fulfillment as the messiah and to Jewish blindness and rejection. This ensured Jewish survival, but at the cost of subjugation. Augustine is a good place to start in order to understand the roots of European anti-Semitism in early Christianity and medieval Christendom. For it was the writers of the New Testament, buttressed by church fathers like Augustine, who developed a coherent theology based on those writings and laid the seeds for centuries of Judeophobia. Augustine and the other church fathers were influenced by an earlier Greco-Roman legacy that both scorned and praised Jews. Many ancient thinkers were impressed by the biblical tradition and touted Jews for upholding the cardinal virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice. But Jewish difference aroused scorn. Some, like the historian Tacitus, found monotheistic beliefs and rituals bizarre or uncivilized. The most serious accusation was that Jews were misanthropes, hating all but their own group. But it was the expanding divide between the followers of Jesus and the Jews that fundamentally shaped the fate of anti-Jewish contempt, a conflict inscribed in the sacred texts of Christianity. The Gospels tell the story of Jesus of Nazareth, martyred as “King of the Jews,” whose original disciples were all Jewish but who Jews rejected as the messiah. Five enduring images in the New Testament would profoundly shape perceptions of Jews in the Christian West. First was the depiction of Judas, the traitor willing to sell out God for 30 pieces of silver. Second, was the portrait of Caiaphas and other Jewish leaders who were concerned only with their own power. Third, was the claim that Jews were “Christ-killers,” derived from the scene in the Passion narrative where the Jews call upon the Roman governor Pontius Pilate to crucify Jesus, assuming perpetual responsibility when they insist “his blood be upon us and upon our children.” Fourth, was the association of Jews with Satan, which was reinforced in the Gospel of John, when Jesus says to a group of Pharisees, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.” Lastly, is the supersessionist claim — the doctrine that the new covenant through Jesus supersedes the old covenant with the Jewish people — which crowned Jesus’ followers as the new Israel, bestowing upon them the promises given by God to the Jews and projecting onto the forsaken Jews the curses of those accursed by the divine. As the theology of Christianity developed from the second to the sixth century, these images would be amplified in sermons, repeated in the liturgy, rehearsed in passion plays, imbibed through folktales, and institutionalized as church law. Later, they would literally be carved into the stone and glass of cathedrals. Across Europe today one can still find the image of the synagogue depicted as an old, downcast, blindfolded, and broken widow opposed to the farsighted, upright church, a condensed supersessionist narrative for the illiterate masses. From the sixth through the 11th centuries, church leaders sometimes railed against good relations with Jews, which suggests that such intimacy existed. Anti-Jewish legislation oscillated between protection and enforced subordination and it varied with individual leaders who usually followed the law of utility, doing whatever was good for them. Most importantly, anti-Judaism was not economic and populist. Indeed, Jews were the only heretical group allowed to practice a separate creed, and social and economic relations were relatively amicable. A key turning point was Pope Urban II’s call for a crusade to liberate Christian holy sites from Muslims in 1095. The march of the Crusaders in the summer of 1096 marked the first mass slaughter and pillaging of Jewish “infidels” living in Christian territories, especially in the Rhine Valley, whose Jewish communities were the most numerous in Europe. In accordance with Augustinian doctrine, some counts and bishops sought to aid Jews until they were forced to yield before the zealous mob. Waves of new crusades over the next 200 years would follow with disastrous consequences. In their wake, new accusations against Jews emerged, most notably the blood libel, the accusation that Jews ritually murdered Christian children to use their blood for baking Passover matzah. New directives also followed: the mandate for a distinctive sign to be worn by Jews and Muslims to distinguish them from Christians, and the public condemnation of the Talmud in a series of mandated public disputations, beginning in Paris in 1240. The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) denounced Jews as “usurers” for lending money at interest, updating the archetype of Judas and alleging that Jews were avaricious and cheated Christians wherever they could. This stereotype was most famously dramatized by Shylock in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Shylock (James D. Linton) The systemic persecution of Jews worsened in the 14th century, which was cataclysmic for all Europeans. The great famine of 1315-1317 was followed by the bubonic plague, which killed more than one-third of all Europeans. Associations of Jews with witchery, dark sorcery, and the Antichrist fed rumors that the Black Death was the result of a plot by Jews to destroy Christendom, carried out by poisoning wells and springs. This was the origin of conspiracy theories that charged Jews with acting as a cabal to destroy the Christian world. Looting and carnage in hundreds of Jewish communities resulted, often followed by expulsions. The most consequential of these would take place in Spain, where Jews had thrived for centuries, excelling in both intellectual and commercial pursuits and even serving as counsellors and physicians to the kings of Castile and Aragon. Following a brutal civil war from 1355-1366, a set of charismatic preachers fomented anti-Jewish violence, forcibly converting tens of thousands and massacring those who refused. Following conversion, all the barriers to social access were removed. In 1449, to reset limits on those with Jewish origins who were then integrating into all sectors of Spanish society, “blood purity” laws were passed barring the entry of “New Christians” to public office and certain guilds, military and religious orders, as well as some towns. Still, some converts practiced Jewish rites in secret. To root out heresy, the Inquisition was formally established in 1478. Those suspected of being crypto-Jews or marranos were tortured or brought to public trial, and sometimes burned at the stake in festivals known as auto-da-fé (act of faith). In 1492, the remaining 160,000 Jews were expelled from Spain. The discovery and conquest of the new world by Columbus that year, paid for in part by the confiscated millions taken from banished Jews, was the dawn of the modern world. As the transatlantic slave system developed in the Americas, the concept of races, previously applied only to describe animal breeding and blue-blooded nobility, merged with ideas of indelible blood purity from the Inquisition and were used to differentiate and hierarchize group character. Systems of racial classification were fully birthed during the 18th century Enlightenment as Europeans sought to describe, classify, order, and label the world. Racial systems legitimated slavery and colonial domination as natural at precisely the moment when Europeans were rethinking their own social order. Simultaneously, Enlightenment values of scientific reason, constitutional government, and tolerance warranted emancipating Jews from medieval structures. However, like the Augustinian ambivalence of old, Enlightenment ideas were also responsible for codifying new racial hierarchies that secularized the dichotomies of Christendom, especially when they were mixed with paeans to the people as the masses became involved in politics. Enlightenment values like liberty, equality, and fraternity were the backdrop to the revolution in France, where Jews were first given equal civil rights. Yet as industrialization propelled Europe to global hegemony in the 19th century, racism became a central axis of European identity. European nations and peoples defined themselves externally against colonized others and against Jews internally. Captain Alfred Dreyfus By the late 19th century, nation, culture, and race had become interchangeable terms. Jews and Judaism were also habitually depicted as the opposite of the highest values of the nation. A racialized, politicized, and programmatic anti-Semitism emerged as a force in western and central Europe based on the Aryan myth, which depicted Semites as a subversive group bent on ascendency. Exemplifying these trends, the Dreyfus Affair (1894-1906) ripped France apart over whether Captain Alfred Dreyfus, the only Jewish member of the military’s general staff, was a traitor selling military secrets to the Germans, or whether he was framed, as was proven the case. For those left behind by the age of revolutions, Jews like Dreyfus who had risen to such lofty heights represented, in Richard Wagner’s phrase, the “plastic demon of modernity,” the embodiment of all that was threatening in this brave new world. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a forgery by the Russian secret police during the Dreyfus Affair and purporting to capture the plan for Jewish world domination, would become the blueprint for modern conspiracy theories. After the massive dislocation and death in World War I and the Russian Revolution, it went viral. Across postwar Europe, Jews were identified with those aspects of cultural degeneration and national corruption that fascists promised to eliminate. This would reach its crescendo in the Holocaust, where the horrors of total war transformed calls for racial hygiene into a distinctive siren song to cleanse and restore Germany, and ultimately all of Europe, by finally eliminating the Jew.

  • Shabbat Shalom

    Ontario, California, USA Shabbat Times Pesach VIII occurs on Sunday, Apr 4 Havdalah (50 min): 8:04pm on Sunday, Apr 4 Yom HaShoah occurs on Thursday, Apr 8 Candle lighting: 6:59pm on Friday, Apr 9 This week's Torah portion is Parashat Shmini Havdalah (50 min): 8:09pm on Saturday, Apr 10 Powered by Hebcal Shabbat Times שבת פרשת שמיני April 9 - כ״ז ניסן Candle lighting 6:59 Shabbat ends 7:57 72 minutes 8:31 This week's 10-Minute Torah (April 10, 2021): "Parashat Shemini" 5781 https://youtu.be/FUgP81cUUqc Adult Torah Study Class Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 7:30 pm PT Parashat Shmini / פרשת שְּׁמִינִי Read on 10 April 2021 (28 Nisan 5781). Parashat Shmini is the 26th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. Torah Portion: Leviticus 9:1-11:47 Links to come Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) for Hebrew Year 5781 begins at Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) for Hebrew Year 5781 begins at sundown on Wednesday, 7 April 2021 and ends at nightfall on Thursday, 8 April 2021. Yom HaZikaron laShoah ve-laG'vurah (יום הזיכרון לשואה ולגבורה; "Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day"), known colloquially in Israel and abroad as Yom HaShoah (יום השואה) and in English as Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Holocaust Day, is observed as Israel's day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews and five million others who perished in the Holocaust as a result of the actions carried out by Nazi Germany and its accessories, and for the Jewish resistance in that period. In Israel, it is a national memorial day and public holiday. It was inaugurated on 1953, anchored by a law signed by the Prime Minister of Israel David Ben-Gurion and the President of Israel Yitzhak Ben-Zvi. It is held on the 27th of Nisan. Replay of this past Shabbat's services: Passover Friday Evening Service with Rabbi Stephen Epstein, April 2, 2021 https://www.facebook.com/TempleSholomofOntario/videos/721770085165370 Sermon @ 33:10 Passover 7 Shabbat Morning Services with Temple Sholom of Ontario and Rabbi Stephen Epstein, April 3, 2021 https://youtu.be/D9zg7JGDiTY https://www.facebook.com/TempleSholomofOntario/videos/1367446650256173 D'var Torah @ 1:21:17 Passover 8th day Morning Services w/Yizkor led by Rabbi Stephen Epstein and Temple Sholom of Ontario https://www.facebook.com/TempleSholomofOntario/videos/728115767875633 D'var Torah @ 1:13:20 Hebrew School at Temple Sholom of Ontario First Session Sunday, April 11, 2021 10:00 - 10:40 am PT Second Session Sunday, April 11, 2021 10:50 - 11:30 am PT Hebrew school is starting up at Temple Sholom of Ontario. We will hold classes virtually on Sundays at 10:00am PT. There will be two sessions, 40 minutes each, with a 5 - 10 minute break in between. The first session is designed for children approaching B'nai Mitzvot, ages 10 - 13. We will have two parts. First will be Hebrew reading and we will probably read from the week's Torah portion using a Chumash and an online site. We will then have a short discussion of that weekly sedrah/portion. After break, the next hour (60 minutes) will be for all students. This week we will be participating in the World Wide Wrap, an event sponsored by the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs (see below) that seeks to instruct everyone on tefillin. Please join us for this exciting event that teaches how to fulfill the commandment. Please let us know if you'd like to join us and of course if you have any questions. RSVP for Zoom links. Temple Sholom of Ontario is proud to announce we are offering: Next session: Sunday, April 11 @ 12:00pm PT Miller Intro to Judaism Program If you're thinking of converting to Judaism: Completion of the Intro Program fulfills the learning requirements for conversion of the Rabbinical Assembly of America. Once you finish the course requirements and secure a sponsoring rabbi, you are eligible to become officially part of the Jewish People. If you're already Jewish: Whether you were born Jewish but never quite learned what it’s all about, you’re back after a long hiatus, or you’re just looking for a deeper understanding of your heritage, most of us could use a bit of a refresher. Jews from all walks of life enroll in the program: from people who had a Jewish day school education to those whose strongest connection was the annual box of matza on the kitchen counter. More details to follow. Please let us know if you're interested. Application is attached below or reply with request for more information Sunday April 11, 2021 Holocaust Memorial Day – March of Remembrance FEATURING SHAHAR AZANI - former member of the Israeli Consulate and Deputy Ambassador to Kenya. Senior vice president of the Jewish Broadcasting Service in New York as well as founder of Fourth Dimension Strategy. ESTER FAMIGLIETTI - survivor born in an internment camp shortly following the liberation. Ester will tell her story along with her parents experiences. VIRTUAL EVENT available on April 11 at 2:00 p.m. Virtual presentation YouTube.com search for: HRFVorg link will be provided 3:00 – 3:25 p.m. - Pre-March Music & Dance Outside, Registration, Refreshments 3:30 – 4:10 p.m. - Memorial YouTube Program in Sanctuary 4:20 – 5:00 p.m. - March of Remembrance e Memorial & March will be held simultaneously for two separate groups 5:00 – 5:15 p.m. - Special Candle Lighting Flyer attached below Rosh Chodesh Iyyar / רֹאשׁ חוֹדֶשׁ אִיָיר Rosh Chodesh Iyyar (Start of month of Iyyar on the Hebrew calendar) for Hebrew Year 5781 begins at sundown on Sunday, 11 April 2021 and ends at nightfall on Tuesday, 13 April 2021. Start of month of Iyyar on the Hebrew calendar. אִיָיר (transliterated Iyyar or Iyar) is the 2nd month of the Hebrew year, has 29 days, and corresponds to April or May on the Gregorian calendar. רֹאשׁ חוֹדֶשׁ, transliterated Rosh Chodesh or Rosh Hodesh, is a minor holiday that occurs at the beginning of every month in the Hebrew calendar. It is marked by the birth of a new moon. For this week's Mi Sheberach מי שברך list for those in need of healing, please advise any changes (Names will no longer be published to respect people's privacy). *The titles in blue and underlined are "hyperlinks". If you click on any of those, it will lead to that site/URL. The hyperlink gives a descriptive title with the actual link embedded in that title. Anyone who is concerned about clicking a link or hyperlink can access any of these resources by going to my website, www.modernrabbistephen.com. You can find them in the "Blog" and "Videos" sections, as well as the "Instagram Links" by clicking on the various pictures.

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  • Modern Rabbi | ModernRabbiShmuel | United States

    Top of Page New Blog Calendar Who Is Mighty? Portfolio My Story Videos Contact Me Events Services Order My Book Shabbat Times Subscribe Instagram Feed NewBlog Rabbi Stephen Epstein 2 days ago 4 min Shabbat Shalom 0 Write a comment Rabbi Stephen Epstein 4 days ago 1 min Replay of this past Shabbat's services 3 Write a comment Rabbi Stephen Epstein 4 days ago 1 min This week's 10-Minute Torah (April 10, 2021): "Parashat Shemini" 5781 7 Write a comment Rabbi Stephen Epstein Mar 29 1 min Replay of this past Shabbat and Pesach Services 0 Write a comment Rabbi Stephen Epstein Mar 26 4 min This week's 10-Minute Torah (April 3, 2021): "Parashat Pesach" 5781 46 Write a comment Rabbi Stephen Epstein Mar 24 2 min Happy Passover 0 Write a comment Everyone looks for meaning in our lives. Why? Because when we feel we have a life’s work—a place in this world—we are more effective as workers, family members and as people. When we feel we have a purpose in life, we are more effective and become fulfilled. I am an ordained rabbi and I use the medium of Judaism to facilitate a spiritual regeneration that makes people more fulfilled. My work is to not just lead a person through the various course of the Hebrew calendar and life cycle events, but to relate that to your own feelings of self-esteem and self-worth. When we enhance our feelings of self-worth, it gives us more confidence to succeed and we lead a more satisfying life. Please join with me in exploring your inner self. Let’s see how we can use these milestones in life to make you a more self-actualized person who gets more out of life and feels more equipped to handle life’s challenges. Who is Mighty? One who subdues their passions. Proverbs 16:32 Hillel [also] used to say: "If I am not for myself, who is for me? But if I am for my own self [only], what am I? And if not now, when?" Pirkei Avot 1:14 LEARN ABOUT MY STORY Leading Our Community in Worship Ever since I was young, I discovered my strong faith in HaShem and the desire to pursue a life of service to others. As the most esteemed Rabbi in the southwest Riverside County area of Southern California, my religious service offerings were designed to suit everyone’s needs. Whether you’re looking for a certified Rabbi to officiate your next event, or simply want to gain more wisdom and learn about the Divine — I’m your number one source for all your religious needs. Call me today and see what I can do for you. Get In Touch Share Whole Channel This Video Facebook Twitter Pinterest Tumblr Copy Link Link Copied All Videos All Categories Play Video Play Video Facebook page Passover Friday Evening Service with Rabbi Stephen Epstein Log into Facebook to start sharing and connecting with your friends, family, and people you know. Play Video Play Video Facebook page Passover 7 Shabbat Morning Services with Temple Sholom of Ontario and Rabbi Stephen Epstein Log into Facebook to start sharing and connecting with your friends, family, and people you know. Play Video Play Video Facebook page Passover 8ith day Morning Services w/Yizkor led by Rabbi Stephen Epstein and Temple Sholom of Ontario Log into Facebook to start sharing and connecting with your friends, family, and people you know. Play Video Play Video 11:17 Rabbi Stephen Epstein Parashat Shmini 5781 (April 10, 2021) Observing holidays to gain inspiration; Offerings on the eighth day of priest's consecration; death of Nadab and Abihu; what's kosher, what's not. Play Video Play Video Temple Sholom of Ontario Passover 2 Morning Services with Rabbi Stephen Epstein and Temple Sholom of Ontario Passover 2 Morning Services with Rabbi Stephen Epstein and Temple Sholom of Ontario Play Video Play Video Facebook page Facebook video Log into Facebook to start sharing and connecting with your friends, family, and people you know. Load More

  • File Share | modernrabbistephen

    Files + File Name Last Updated Views Favorites Contributors FAQ 1 item can access Mar 23, 2020 3 0 Rabbi Stephen Epstein Item Miller Course 19 items can access Mar 9, 2021 2 0 Rabbi Stephen Epstein Item NJOP Hebrew Crash Course 40 items can access Apr 12, 2020 10 0 Rabbi Stephen Epstein Item Prayer Services 8 items can access Mar 15, 2021 1 0 Rabbi Stephen Epstein Item Schedule of Services 5 items can access Mar 31, 2021 1 0 Rabbi Stephen Epstein Item Shabbat Services 10 items can access Mar 9, 2021 1 0 Rabbi Stephen Epstein Item Shabbat Services Word Doc 6 items can access Mar 15, 2021 1 0 Rabbi Stephen Epstein Item Hanukkah Music.docx File 14.76 KB Nov 30, 2020 0 0 Rabbi Stephen Epstein Item Hanukkah songs.pdf File 2.57 MB Nov 30, 2020 0 0 Rabbi Stephen Epstein Item Welcome to File Share.pdf File 4.32 MB Mar 23, 2020 2 0 Rabbi Stephen Epstein Item

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Forum Posts (3)
  • Feedback for Sermon for Ma'ariv Service, 6/5.

    If anyone would like to express any thoughts after the sermon for the Friday Night Ma'ariv Service who will be watching via live stream, please feel free to post your question, comment or statement.

  • Welcome to the Forum!

    It’s good to have you here! Feel free to share anything - stories, ideas, pictures or whatever is on your mind. Here you can start discussions, connect with members, reply to comments, and more. Have something to say? Leave a comment or share a post!

  • If you’re conducting a virtual service on line, what constitutes a minyon? Can you consider the virtual attendees who are Jewish adults?

    Theoretically, you need 10 men in the same room in the same service. That's the tradition. Remember that a minyan is really a rabbinical decree; there's nothing in the Torah about how many and for what. The idea of a minyan is derived from the phrase in the Torah that the "children of Israel will sanctify the Lord". Why ten and not two or three? It's the rabbinical exegesis of the phrase along with the idea of a congregation. These days, things have become more progressive. Now it's ten adults and women are counted. A former religious leader of our community said he'd do a Mourner's Kaddish with only six, because you can continue praying the reader's repetition of the Amidah if you start out with ten and four leave (again, rabbinical). For me, I'll do a Mourner's Kaddish even if there's only a few people because for me it's more important that people honor their loved ones. With the coronavirus, we've used the virtual audience as a minyan. It's probably a given that the Conservative and Reform movements will allow it while the Orthodox would probably tell you to just pray on your own and do what you can do. In my view, the important thing is community so rabbis like me are willing to relax the halachah to accommodate the extraordinary. And yes, Conservative Judaism counts a Torah as one since when it's beyond repair, they bury it like a person.

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