Michael J. Radwin

Tales of a software engineer who keeps kosher and hates the web.

Currently Viewing Posts in Judaism

SBL Hebrew Font

The Society of Biblical Literature has made available a beta version of their SBL Hebrew Font. It’s a very clean, versatile Unicode font:


It’s distributed in OpenType TTF format, designed primarily for Win2000 and later, but you can also use it on MacOS X. However, since MacOS X (even version 10.3) does not yet support complex script (i.e. Hebrew) rendering as well as Windows does, your mileage may vary.

Shana Tova u’Metuka!

apples-and-honey.jpg Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, begins tonight at sundown.

I wish you and your family a year filled with sweetness, joy, success and good health. And make sure you eat lots of apples and honey!

Mesader Kiddushin

greenpea-small.jpg Tomorrow morning we’re heading off to Minneapolis for the wedding of my dear friends Gabriel and Rachel.

I have been given the great kavod (honor) of being the mesader kiddushin, the person who performs the wedding ceremony. I’ve never done this before, but I’ve been reading up on it quite a bit the past couple of months. Words can’t begin to describe how excited I am about being involved in such an important day in my friends’ lives.

It’s going to be a pretty traditional service, but with a couple of twists. I’m tempted to call Nicholas up to the chuppah in the middle of the ceremony and ask him to read some love poetry. 🙂

The Baal Shem Tov said, “From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven. And when two souls that are destined to be together find each other, their streams of light flow together, and a single brighter light goes forth from their united being.”


Today is Tisha B’Av, a Jewish holy day. I choose to call it a “holy day” and not a “holiday” because it’s a rather somber one.

Last night at shul we read from the book of Eicha (known in English as Lamentations) by candelight. Both the words and the melody are melancholy and sad.

The penultimate verse of the book is repeated, to end on a positive note.

השיבנו יהוה אליך ונשוב חדש ימינו כקדם

Bring us back to you God, and we shall return, renew our days as of old

In other words, “if we could go back to the way things were before this calamity struck, life would all be so much better.” Right?

I’m not so sure. I think I’m stronger now than I was back then.

Maybe the times that we struggle aren’t just a rough spot on the road to tranquility. Would we be who we are today without that struggle?

On Kitniyot and Passover

With only 52 hours left in this year’s Passover holiday, I just got an email referencing Rabbi Golinkin’s teshuvah about Eating Kitniyot (Legumes) on Pesach.

It was written almost 15 years ago, yet people here in the Diaspora (outside of Israel) continue to discuss it year after year as if it’s breaking news.

Unfortunately for us, the teshuvah applies only to Jews living in Israel.