Author: The Observant Life (Book)

  • The Observant Life: The Wisdom of Conservative Judaism for Contemporary Jews distills a century of thoughtful inquiry into the most profound of all Jewish questions: how to suffuse life with timeless values, how to remain loyal to the covenant that binds the Jewish people and the God of Israel, and how to embrace the law while retaining an abiding sense of fidelity to one’s own moral path in life. Written in a multiplicity of voices inspired by a common vision, the authors of The Observant Life explain what it means in the ultimate sense to live a Jewish life, and to live it honestly, morally, and purposefully. The work is a comprehensive guide to life in the 21st Century. Chapters on Jewish rituals including prayer, holiday, life cycle events and Jewish ethics such as citizenship, slander, taxes, wills, the courts, the work place and so much more.

Read posts by The Observant Life (Book)

What is Tzedakah?

What is Tzedakah?

Jewish tradition does not see contributions to the community’s welfare as mere charity, but rather as tzedakah, literally “acts of justice.”

How do Jews Celebrate the Birth of a Daughter?

How do Jews Celebrate the Birth of a Daughter?

There are several ceremonies that families use to welcome and name a newborn girl in the synagogue or in the home.

What are the Jewish Fast Days? What do we do?

What are the Jewish Fast Days? What do we do?

There are three kinds of fasts in Judaism rooted in history and spiritual practice with changes to prayer services.

What is a Brit Milah, Jewish Ritual Circumcision?

What is a Brit Milah, Jewish Ritual Circumcision?

Brit Milah refers to the covenant of circumcision, both the ritual act and the festive occasion surrounding a baby boy’s circumcision.

What is Tishah Be’av and how is it observed?

What is Tishah Be’av and how is it observed?

Tishah Be’av is the saddest day of the Jewish year. We fast, read the Book of Lamentations, and reflect on history.

Image of a do-not-enter sign with the words The Shabbat Prohibitions

The Shabbat Prohibitions

Shabbat comes with specific limitations. These Shabbat prohibitions help us create a separation from the rest of the week.

darkened image of a sunset with the words The Shabbat Afternoon Service

The Shabbat Afternoon Service

The Minhah Service on Saturday Shabbat afternoon contains a number of significant additions to the weekday Afternoon Service.

Image of a Torah scroll with the words The Saturday Morning Shabbat Service

The Saturday Morning Shabbat Service

How is the Saturday morning Shabbat service constructed? What prayers are included? Check out our overview on Shabbat morning services.

Blurry image of candlesticks, challah, and a kiddush cup with the words: Friday Night Shabbat at Home

Friday Night Shabbat at Home

Friday night Shabbat at home includes blessings over children, the song Shalom Aleichem, kiddush, and the blessing over bread, the motzi.

Blurry image of a bonfire and the words: Lag Ba-omer and Pesah Sheini

Lag Ba-omer and Pesah Sheini

Lag Ba-Omer, the 33rd day of the omer, and Pesah Sheini, are two commemorative moments during the Counting of the Omer.

Blurry image of havdalah set with the words: Havdalah: An Overview

Havdalah: An Overview

Havdalah, the concluding ceremony for Shabbat, serves as a dramatic reminder of the beauty and emotional power of Judaism.

Home and Synagogue Shavuot Observances

Home and Synagogue Shavuot Observances

Candle-lighting, Torah readings, the Book of Ruth, and Yizkor are all a part of celebrating Shavuot at home and at synagogue.

Image of mountains with the words What is Shavuot about?

What is Shavuot about?

Like Sukkot and Passover, Shavuot is a multi-dimensional holiday, embracing profound historical, spiritual, and agricultural aspects.

Yom HaShoah, Yom HaZikkaron, Yom Haatzma'ut, and Yom Yerushalayim

Yom HaShoah, Yom HaZikkaron, Yom Haatzma’ut, and Yom Yerushalayim

What are the commemorative holidays of Yom HaShoah, Yom haZikkaron, Yom Haatzma’ut, and Yom Yerushalayim and what do we do on them?

sunset image with the words: Friday Night Services at Synagogue: An Explainer

Friday Night Services at Synagogue: An Explainer

Friday night services on Shabbat include both Kabbalat Shabbat, a joyous recitation of psalms, and a Shabbat Maariv, the evening service.

blurry image of shabbat candle sticks and the words: Shabbat Candles and the Beginning of Shabbat

Shabbat Candles and the Beginning of Shabbat

Shabbat begins with the lighting of candles, in part, because they are symbolic of the spiritual light that Shabbat can bring into our lives.

blurry image of a shabbat table with the words: The 3 Categories of Shabbat Preparation

The 3 Categories of Shabbat Preparation

There are three major categories of Shabbat preparation that must be attended to: physical setting, food preparation, and personal grooming.

Blurry image of a calendar on the right with the words to the left that read: What is Counting the Omer

What is Counting the Omer

Counting the omer reflects the agricultural dimension of Passover and Shavuot and this is how we observe sefirat haomer today.

Blurry image of an open ark with four Torahs and the words: The Concluding Days of Passover

The Concluding Days of Passover

What do we do in synagogue on Passover? What Torah readings and haftarot do we read? We outline that for you here.

Blurry image of an open ark with four Torahs and the words: Passover in the Synagogue

Passover in the Synagogue

What do we do in synagogue on Passover? What Torah readings and haftarot do we read? We outline that for you here.

blurry image of lots of bread with the words What is hameitz and what do we do with it?

What is Hameitz and what do we do with it?

Hametz, is defined as any food made of wheat, barley, oats, spelt, and rye—that has been made wet and left unbaked for more than 18 minutes.

Image of matzah, matzah cover with the word pesah on it in hebrew, and a kiddush cup with the words: Passover, Nisan, and the Fast of the Firstborn: Before Passover Begins

Passover, Nisan, and the Fast of the Firstborn: Before Passover Begins

Passover, commemorates the exodus from Egypt. On a spiritual level, the festival confronts us with the notion of redemption.

Image of a seder plate with the words The Seder an overview

The Seder: An Overview

The Passover seder is the cumulative result of untold generations of Jews telling the same story, the Exodus from Egypt.

image of bread roll for eiruv tavshilin

What is an Eiruv Tavshilin?

One is only permitted to cook on festivals to make food for the holiday itself, not for other days. There is an exception: eiruv tavshilin.