Wednesday, October 1, 2014 Tishri 7, 5775

Dear Miriam,

I have attended occasional services at various synagogues throughout the area ever since moving here about five years ago, mostly for holidays or events. I have every intention of eventually joining a synagogue because I want to send my future children to religious school. Of course, that stage in my life is at least another few years away. In the meantime, I'd still like to be part of a synagogue community on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. '

I'm lucky that here in Philly there's a program to provide young adults in my exact position with free High Holiday tickets...

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Dear Miriam,

My 14-year-old daughter suddenly is refusing to come to synagogue with the rest of the family. She had a beautiful Bat Mitzvah last year and has always been a great Hebrew school student.  Should I make her attend services with us or let her have this rebellion?

Signed,
Synagogue Strike

Dear Strike,

Having recently completed her Bat Mitzvah studies and celebration, it actually makes a lot of sense to me that your daughter may need a break from the rigors of Jewish institutional life. Beautiful or not, she’s probably relieved...

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Dear Miriam,

Shavuot is an important and interesting holiday, but it's so often neglected. Why is that, and what can we do about it?

Signed,
Shavuot Promoter

Dear Promoter,

Falling seven weeks after Passover, and one of the three "pilgrimage festivals" mentioned in the Torah, Shavuot started out as a harvest holiday, and only later in Jewish history became associated with the giving of the Torah and the revelation on Mount Sinai. The rituals originally associated with the holiday are no longer practiced, and compared with the fanfare and...

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