I spent years as a devotee of Transcendental Meditation. I was recently challenged by an old friend about why I have traveled so distant from our own religion and why don’t I seek spirituality from the religion of my ancestors, Judaism. My response was that I’ve been Jewish all my life and attended high holiday services, etc., and never found anything spiritual about it. My friend’s rebuttal was that I never checked into it as an adult and have been sidestepping the issue based on my impression as a kid. Perhaps if I’d look into this as an adult with fresh, new eyes I would find deep spirituality in Judaism. That’s the nutshell version of our discussion. Since then, I’ve spoken with a number of somewhat educated Jews, and nobody has pointed me to anything that smacks of meditation or the like within the framework of Judaism. Before I give up, it was suggested to me that I reach out to you to see if you can say anything redeeming in this direction. If not, I rest my case.

Kaddish for Gaza Slain

I’m sure you read about the controversy in England recently when a group of Jews got together to recite the kaddish for the 61 people killed in Gaza by the IDF during their “March of Return” protests, despite the fact that 50 of them are known to be Hamas operatives. The response of the “reciters” of the kaddish was that, although they might belong to Hamas, they’re still human beings and their deaths are still a tragedy and deserve a kaddish recited for them, and if it was Israelis who were slain then they would have said kaddish for them as well. Personally, I’m torn because I agree that any loss of human life is a tragedy, but the kaddish part somehow doesn’t sound right to me but I’m not sure why. Any thoughts?

Kaddish: Its Meaning (and Pets)

My cat recently died, and I want to know if it’s appropriate for me to recite the kaddish prayer for her? In case this sounds ludicrous allow me to explain. My ex-wife and I never had children, and we have been divorced for nearly 10 years. Through this past, painful decade, this cat has been a big part of my life; she gave me a lot more than I gave her. She gave me connection, she was a cure to my loneliness, and she gave me something to love. Now all that’s gone and all that remains is a hole of loneliness. I know sitting shiva would be going too far, but I thought that going to say kaddish for her would make up for some of that loss.