"On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur thousands of people gather together and go through many, many prayers in which we ask ourselves, how have I done?"
People of many faiths and religious backgrounds joined Muslims on September 3 at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in Washington, DC for a prayer service and Ramadan dinner to celebrate interfaith service projects.
"We're already practicing tikkun olam--repairing the world--in our day-to-day lives," says Jonathan Graboies, a resident of Moishe House in New Orleans, "so in a way we're being Jewish even without being in the synagogue."
It's good to use bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs to inculcate environmental values, says Rabbi Lawrence Troster, a religious environmental leader: "Protecting the Earth is a mitzvah, and I mean that in the sense of a commandment. We are required to take care of creation. It’s not a choice."
On May 21, 2009 the Moroccan American Cultural Center and the American Jewish Committee sponsored an interfaith panel discussion in New York City on "Women’s Spiritual Voices: Crossing Continents, Finding Common Ground." Panelists explored the roles of women religious leaders in Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.
Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld of Ohev Sholom, an Orthodox synagogue in Washington, participated in an interfaith vigil at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and his congregation's Torah study was dedicated to the memory of the museum security officer who was shot to death.
"Criticism of Israel indicates engagement with Israel. American Jews should be worried when their children stop criticizing Israel," says Professor Steven Cohen, a sociologist of American Jewry on the faculty at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York.
Read more of the Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly interviews with American Jews about Israel.
Jewish memory is stored and transmitted in the paintings of Mayer Kirshenblatt, who with the help of his daughter Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett has preserved his own memories and the collective memories of a Polish Jewish community before World War II.
It was a week of prayers and pleas for peace and gestures of reconciliation to all sides in the Holy Land.