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Just Here

A young friend of mine recently fell victim to an unexpected and horrific illness. For some time, it seemed that he would certainly die; the progress of the disease led expectations relentlessly in that direction. Prayers (­including my own) for God’s mercy multiplied with a profound desperation. . . . . Continue Reading »

The Shema

I recently read an interview with a writer who is, like me, in her mid-eighties. I was surprised by how vehemently she insisted that she never allowed herself to think about death. For even before my brush with death five years ago, at the age of eighty-one, thinking about my ultimate end had been . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

After reading Douglas Farrow’s “The Secret of the Saeculum” (May), I found myself unsure of how to understand it. Take, for instance, the following striking passage: Our age is a very definite age, a very well-defined age, precisely because it is bracketed by the first and second comings of . . . . Continue Reading »

Solitary Prayer

It may seem odd to outsiders that in the middle of the last century, seating arrangements in synagogues were the most prominent marker of the division between American Orthodox Judaism and the other American Jewish religious movements. Orthodoxy maintained separate seating for men and women and the . . . . Continue Reading »

Why School Prayer Matters

In his State of the Union address and elsewhere, President Trump has emphasized the importance of prayer in public schools. In one speech he promised “big action” on the matter. But just what action he is contemplating remains obscure. Teacher-led prayer to open the school day? Football players . . . . Continue Reading »

Prayer, Distraction, and
Daily Life

Let’s begin by reviewing some fundamentals of Jewish prayer. The mandatory prayers are offered three times daily. This commandment may be fulfilled in private. However, significant elements of the standard prayers have a public character. These are primarily the recitations of outcry or praise . . . . Continue Reading »

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