Jewish Toolkit

The Wisdom Daily: A Rabbi's Experience By A Deathbed August 29, 2016

"...I asked him if he thought the day was surreal; here he was after all, living and talking and laughing while all of us knew that the end was so close. To a certain degree it felt strange he said, but mostly he thought it was just perfect. He told me he was the king of the Court, everyone there, his favorite people in the world, in fact, to spend time with him...."

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: The Modesty Wars August 29, 2016

"...Many texts in Judaism are devoted to women's dress. It is understood that a woman should dress modestly. Today in more traditional Jewish circles that often means wearing a skirt which covers the knee, sleeves which cover the elbow, and if married, a head covering. Exactly how long the skirt, shirt sleeves, and how big the head covering range greatly depending on how strict the community is. Liberal Jewish women more or less wear what they want.

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: The One Thing We Need to Stop Saying to Our Kids at their Bar or Bat Mitzvah August 24, 2016

"...While bar or bat mitzvah requirements will vary from congregation to congregation, community to community, the ceremony usually takes place in the context of a Shabbat service and will usually involve the Bar or Bat Mitzvah demonstrating a combination of Torah and/or haftarah reading, prayer leading, community service and delivering a d'var Torah (a teaching on the Torah portion.) And while these are learned skills, when we say ‘you did a great job’ we are reinforcing the idea that the bar or bat mitzvah ceremony

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Judaism in a Secular Age – Just What God Wanted! August 23, 2016

"...An obvious question arises: If life in the Land of Israel — which is of course the real world in which we all live — is so fraught with spiritual danger, why does God subject us to it, why does He not just leave us in the desert, providing for all our needs such that we would never be subject to the error of supposing that all of our accomplishments are to be credited only to our own ingenuity and toil!..."

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: The Cost of Anger August 22, 2016

"...I had called Andrea to talk about the complicated role anger is playing in national conversations this summer. Passions are running high. Passion is not something that scares me, but anger does. It seemed to me that when we often use anger as an excuse not to consider another point of view. So I asked her about it...."

The Wisdom Daily: When Life Feels Like A Wilderness August 22, 2016

"Sometimes life feels like a wilderness, wild and waste and inhospitable. Sometimes I feel like I'm going in circles, recognizing my own sorrows as ruefully familiar landmarks in an otherwise pathless desert. This painful issue – haven't I been here before? This broken relationship – why are its jagged edges slicing into me again? This dysfunctional work situation – haven't I spent forever struggling with these colleagues and their ill will? Why can't I seem to get out of this place?..."

The Wisdom Daily: We're Wired For Self-Interest. Is That A Bad Thing? August 22, 2016

"...Part of what makes us, us, and a really good part no less, is our checking each other out, and choosing some people as more worthy of our attention and investment than others. So much for preferring openness to the inherent value of all people, to being intuitively judgmental, right? Well, sort of, and this is where an old dichotomous debate gets interesting...."

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Tu B’Av, Love Yourself Challenge August 19, 2016

"...While of course I think it's fine to post joyful moments on Facebook, it's important to recognize these can be hard for friends who are experiencing loss or sadness. Having many friends who have faced fertility struggles, I understand how hard it can be for them to see photos of ultrasounds and newborns on Facebook. Mother's Day and Father's Day posts can be especially challenging for people for all sorts of reasons.

The Wisdom Daily: Why Are You Carrying Your Pain? August 11, 2016

"I've had a leather bag full of fear, hanging by a strap over my left shoulder for many years. I've been collecting fear in that bag since early childhood and it's only gotten heavier and more cumbersome. It's no wonder I've got a touch of tendinitis.

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Arrived: First of Our Long Awaited Refugee Families! August 11, 2016

"Or Shalom, Vancouver's East-Side Shul, the synagogue I serve as spiritual leader, is a community of 200 households that has raised funds and the volunteer enthusiasm to sponsor four refugee families, including eight children. Three Kurdish Syrian families remain in harms way in Turkey and Northern Iraq, but one family, an LGBT couple from Iraq, has finally, finally arrived after a long journey from Beirut to Cairo to Toronto to Vancouver...."

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