JBC Talk: Ep 3: Making Prayer Real Part 1 – An Interview With Rabbi Mike Comins

Episode Synopsis In this episode of The JBC Talk Podcast, we bring you Part One of our fascinating (and we should add, very long) interview with Rabbi Mike Comins, author of Making Prayer Real – Leading Jewish Spiritual Voices On Why Prayer Is Difficult and What To Do About It , published by Jewish Lights. If you aren’t already familiar with Making Prayer Real, you may want to check out Yair’s recent review of the book, which can be found here. Also, if you would like to have a peek at … [Read more…]

Book Review: Making Prayer Real by Rabbi Mike Comins

I recently read Rabbi Mike Comins’ Making Prayer Real: Leading Jewish Spiritual Voices on Why Prayer is Difficult and What to Do about It (published by Jewish Lights). I recommend the book highly. Rabbi Comins comes at things from a perspective that resonates with me. He has been deeply involved in the experience of Jewish spirituality in wild places. While living in Israel, he founded Ruach HaMidbar Desert Trips and Retreats, an organization that leads Jewish spiritual journeys into the … [Read more…]

Three Meaningful Spiritual Practices for Rural/Isolated Jews (At Least in My Experience…)

Hi all, I hope all readers had a kosher and happy Pesach, and that you are all enjoying eating chametz again without overdoing it!  I thought it might be interesting, and hopefully a little bit useful, to share with you all some practices and resources I have found to be quite valuable in living an observant Jewish life in a relatively small and isolated Jewish community.  For the Cliff’s Notes version, I live in a small town a short drive from a city of 85,000, where my synagogue with … [Read more…]

Relating to the Language of Chosenness

Last weekend and this coming weekend I am responsible for leading Shabbat morning services at my synagogue, which is dually-affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (JRF).  I have written before about how our congregation, being the only one with regular services and a rabbi within a 150-mile radius, is an eclectic blend of folks ranging from pretty traditionally observant to classical Reform, with the majority of regular attenders being … [Read more…]

Bayit Shlishi: The Challenge of the Third Temple

One topic I’ve found that is sure to mix it up at any Shabbos table (no matter what the brand of Judaism of the people sitting around it) is that of Bayit Shlishi, the Third Temple. Since 1967, Israel has (technically) had the opportunity to build the Third Temple, but for a host of reasons has chosen not to. I have found very few people who will willingly discuss this matter in any detail. My father’s reaction at my telling him that at one time, Judaism practiced routine animal sacrifice, … [Read more…]