Category Archives: Articles

Celebrating the High Holidays in Suriname

By Jacob Steinberg

Our Torah readers Moriyah and Yehudah Webster and our Hazan (Cantor) Jules (Shul) Donk.

We were delighted to have the Websters as our Torah readers during the High Holidays at the Neve Shalom Synagogue in Suriname. Moriyah and Yehudah, a father and son team, conducted one of the most memorable Rosh Hashanah services I have ever attended. This year we had a “full house”: more than 70 members and some international guests attended the services.

The afternoon Tashlich along the Suriname river was also attended by more than 20 participants.

Tashlich is the ritual performed at a large, natural body of flowing water such as river, lake, sea, or ocean, on the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah. The ritual is performed with small pieces of bread which are thrown into the water to symbolically cast off our sins. The ceremony includes reading the source passage for the practice, the last verses from the prophet Micah (7:19), “He will take us back in love; He will cover up our iniquities. You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”

Continue reading Celebrating the High Holidays in Suriname

Starting at the Wrong End — A Review of Rabbi Stephen Leon’s New Book

Rabbi Stephen Leon
PHOTO BY MARK LAMBIE / EL PASO TIMES

By Viviane Spiegelman

My journey into a world of whispers and shadows started 30 years ago in San Antonio. I had just visited the iconic Alamo where the Texan forces were slaughtered by the armies of Mexico’s Santa Ana.  I felt their ghosts.

To say the least, it was an intense experience, so my friend and I took a head-clearing walk along the Paseo del Rio.  We came across a tiny structure that was billed as The Spanish Governor’s Mansion. Curious, we went inside, where almost immediately, an ornately carved  Baroque secretary desk caught my eye.  I went over to it to examine it in more detail.

When I pushed back the panel covering a collection of tiny drawers, my heart skipped a beat.    There, in the centre of the bank of drawers was a mogen dovid!

What on earth was it doing there in this city of seven Spanish missions and polychromed virgins? Continue reading Starting at the Wrong End — A Review of Rabbi Stephen Leon’s New Book