Win Jewish Teens with Song of Songs

At services in synagogues around the world his past Shabbat (3/30) most congregations read Song of Songs (Shir Ha’Shirim). If a sacred text is ever to grab the attention of teens this will be it. Have you ever read it? I think of it as the sexiest sacred Jewish text. The first line goes: “Oh, give me of the kisses of your mouth/ For your love is more delightful than wine…” and it continues in that vein right through the end.

The rabbis teach that this is about the love of God for the collective people of Israel. OK, on one level. But tell that to teens with hormones shooting out their ears. Want them to pay attention at synagogue, just sit them down and have them go around the room reading it out loud.  Be prepared to put up with a certain amount of snickering, but you’ll make your point—Jewish texts rock.

Once you grab them with Song of Songs you can then turn your attention to the lives of patriarchs. No lack of hormone driving material there or take a look at Mrs. Potiphar’s attempted seduction of Joseph in Egypt.

Take a look at my story The Sexiest Jewish Sacred Text. It is a brief except from the upcoming young adult novel The Uncertain Art of Hooking Up.  Watch this blog for more information and excerpts from the book. Check out all my Jewish teen stories at JewishFamilyStories.com.  Follow Twitter:  @storyauthor1225

Jerusalem—Undivided Capital of Israel

Why should the title of this post be controversial?  The Jews have inhabited Jerusalem since before the time of King David. The haftorah I read at my bar mitzvah told the story of King David bringing the Torah to Jerusalem for the first time and dancing nearly naked in the streets with it as the young women cheered him on. His wife, the daughter of King Saul, was none too pleased.

And the centerpiece of Jerusalem is the Kotel, the western wall of the ancient Temple’s foundation. You can visit the Kotel 24×7 through the power of a webcam. The one I prefer is here; this should come up to the live view. If not, just click live view. The webcam is maintained by Aish.com

Encounter at the Kotel is a story I wrote for teens.  It is an excerpt from my upcoming book for teens, The Uncertain Art of Hooking Up.  Feel welcome to circulate the link and please spread the word of this upcoming book and this blog.

In subsequent posts I will tell you more about The Uncertain Art of Hooking Up. It is a love story about a secular Jewish high school basketball player who meets a beautiful strictly Orthodox girl. I wrote this book because I have daughters and grew concerned when I heard among them and their friends terms like hooking up getting freely tossed about.

Please follow my blog, American Jew, that focuses on Jewish continuity through storytelling; Twitter @storyauthor1225

Pour out Your love

As noted previously, this blog focuses on Jewish continuity, primarily through stories.

Well, as we prepare for Pesach, let’s look at the Haggadah, possibly is the first example of multi-media, interactive storytelling. It tells about the Jews’ exodus from Egypt and is full of action, plagues, blood, and death along with a happy ending and activities for anybody who wants to become involved.

But there is one paragraph that troubles some Jews, particularly liberal Jews. It comes shortly after the third cup of wine and calls on God to wreak vengeance on those who persecute the Jews with the words: Pour out your wrath….

A young rabbi, Shira Wallach, who will be ordained this spring, introduced me through a dvar she gave recently to the Worms Haggadah of 1521, attributed to the descendants of Rashi. It added a surprisingly modern sentiment that can replace the troubling pour-out-your-wrath statement:

Pour out Your love on the nations who have known You,and on the kingdoms that call upon Your name. For they have shown loving-kindness to the seed of Jacob, and they defended Your people Israel from those who would devour them alive. May they live to see the sukkah of peace spread over Your chosen ones, and to participate in the joy of Your nations. –source, Haggadot.com

Of course, I have my own Pesach story online. The Wicked Child.   It also is included in my paperback book, Miracles–stories for Jewish children and their families. Or check out all my stories for Jewish children and teens at JewishFamilyStories.com

Chag Pesach Semeach!

For more, please follow my blog, American Jew, that focuses on Jewish continuity through storytelling; Twitter @storyauthor1225

Welcome to American Jew

Hi,

I’m Alan Radding. This blog addresses the issue of Jewish continuity, mainly through the vehicle of stories, an ancient and proven way of communicating Jewish culture and identity going all the way back to Bereshit.

My Jewish stories website, JewishFamilyStories.com, currently is my primary vehicle. There you will find stories for children, teens, and young adults (adults are allowed to read them too).

You also can find a selection of those stories in Miracles, Stories for Jewish children and their families, a paperback book. You are welcome to buy the paperback, although you can read the stories online or just download them for free. The point is not to sell books but to drive Jewish continuity through the dissemination of stories. Please enjoy these stories and tell others about them.

Upcoming blog posts will feature samples of Jewish stories, news of Jewish and Israel activities, related re-posts, and links to interesting Jewish and Israel material that address Jewish continuity in various ways.

Feel welcome to comment.