"The summer months usher in vacations from school and shul. We tend to lose the weekly Torah portions from Shavuot (early June) through the High Holy Days. Thus we lose the dog days of the books of Numbers and Deuteronomy; Israel's trudging through the wilderness in search of the Promised Land. In doing so, we also lose some of the most valuable lessons brought about from the narrative...."
"...One of the things that my fiancé and I have discussed quite a bit recently is what rituals might change in our lives once we are married. This is not only about the joining together of two people with two different sets of backgrounds, experiences, and traditions, but it's also about thinking about what marriage represents in our evolving individual and collective identities...."
"...The Israelites had the Tent of Meeting as their place of strength and their reference point to guide them along their journey. For us, appreciating and living in each moment as it comes can be our source of strength and our reference point. If we are feeling adrift or that we've strayed from where we wanted to be, before we try to get back, our first step has to be our ability to say, ‘Regardless of how I feel about this situation, it is what it is.
"...There I saw Marsha for the first time. She was already hovering between life and death. And there as well was her daughter Amanda lying in the same bed, with her arms wrapped tightly around her mother. Amanda looked up at me and said, ‘Why is this happening?’ And I blurted out, ‘I don’t know.’ I did not know what else to say. All those years of reading theology and studying Jewish philosophy abandoned me in an instant...."
"...For me, when I actually visualize in anticipation for a milestone, important feelings and thoughts come up. Generally the feelings that emanate are exactly the ones, which inhibit our ability to be present later on. So, let the feelings arise and then explore and dig into them, even and especially when they feel painful. Happy events can sometimes bring up uncomfortable and even sad thoughts. Resolving all of that gives us the chance to take in all of the sweetness of our joy...."
Andrew Hahn, the Kirtan Rabbi, arranged and performs Shalom Aleichem set to Bob Dylan's song, "Don't Think Twice It's Alright."
To listen to his inspiring performance, click here.
"...So I've decided...if I can't find it, maybe I should found it. Feel free to join me. I've long had fantasies of sitting with a bunch of mystically oriented, open-minded, and open-hearted souls, discussing the biggest questions with warmth, compassion, love, and a desire to understand. When I consider this fantasy from just the right angle, it seems very possible, and maybe even necessary...."
"It's been bothering me for days, even though I could not put my finger on why. A German court sitting in Detmold convicted former Auschwitz guard and SS member, Reinhold Hanning, of being an accessory to murder – a minimum of 170,000 murders to be specific. His sentence for complicit in such horrendous crimes? 5 years imprisonment...."
Sandra Lawson didn’t expect to perform a public benediction at her local pub in this city’s Roxborough neighborhood.
But when her friend Jay, who was entering firefighter training, asked her for a blessing earlier this year, she stood with him in the middle of the room and put her rabbinical school training into action.
“Avraham, Isaac and Jacob, please bless Jay on his journey of being a firefighter,” she said, placing her hand on his shoulder. “Come back and have a beer with me...."
"...Ask most Jewish people to identify which holiday is the one with matzah and they'll all say ‘Passover.’ Ask them which is the one when we build temporary huts in the backyard to eat in for a week and they will correctly identify ‘Sukkot.’ Ask them which is the holiday when we celebrate receiving the Torah and some might respond ‘Simchat Torah,’ the second day of Shmini Atzeret when we return to the beginning of the weekly Torah readings again (in Israel, Simchat Torah is Shmini Atzeret).