Tag Archives: ritual

Particles (חמץ)

There used to be a lot of talk in Religion Studies about ethos and nomos, ritual and myth. There’s Durkheim, Eliade, Geertz, J.Z. Smith, and Michael Fishbane. But I think ritual may “mean” nothing “more” than forced attention to the … Continue reading

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(My Working Will Be the Work) Maintenance Art and the Messianic (Mierle Laderman Ukeles)

As it turns out, Jewish ritual, the idea of the holy, informs much of this artist’s work and her thought. They cut against the grain of “messianism” in ways that are at once profound and ordinary. My introduction to her … Continue reading

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Lag Ba’Omer (Conflagration)

Fire is a critical ritual marker in Judaism. On the combustible nature of religion,  you can read here about Lag Ba’Omer forest fires in Jerusalem. There are more pictures here. Sometimes ritual gets out of hand. You just need to know … Continue reading

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Watching Block Statue (Ancient Egypt Middle Kingdom)

In the Christian west, devotion tends to be identified with the erect figure of the orant who extends his or arms towards the heavens in an act of supplication. Compare in contrast this fellow from ancient Egypt, Middle Kinddom. With its … Continue reading

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Keep Off On Pain of Death (The Temple Mount, King Herod & Historical Context)

It sounds like King Herod wanted to allow non-Jews to go up to the Temple Mount so that he could show off the new Temple digs. But they could only go so far into the heart of the complex. An … Continue reading

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Religion & Peace, Critique & Prayer in Israel & Palestine (Yakir Englander)

Some might find them hopelessly softhearted and even soft-headed, but these words by Yakir Englander on interfaith dialogue and peace in Israel and Palestine make two points. One point is important and critical, the other point is more interesting. I’m … Continue reading

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Tisha B’Av (Vicarious) (Misery)

I’m fasting now for Tisha B’Av. I could mention habit, cultural memory, and ideological commitments as component features that give “meaning” and narrative drama to the day. But as I’ve gotten older, I’m not so interested in these kinds of … Continue reading

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