"...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
"...Banning burkinis is nothing less than rage-driven form of vengeance against Islam, in the wake of Islam-inspired terror attacks in France, seriously betraying the French ideals of Liberté, égalité, fraternité, and ironically taking what might be called an Islamist approach to combating Islamism...."
"...If ‘The still small voice within’ had an opposite mantra, it might be Nike's slogan, ‘Just Do It.’ Since I appreciate and strive for thoughtful, mindful and deliberate action, I remember recoiling at that three word phrase when it first entered the lexicon in the late 1980s. It seemed like the company was exhorting people to get into action no matter what, to follow any and every impulse as if all were equivalent and to override thoughtful analysis...."
"...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!..."
"...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...."
"...I manage to text, inbox and even tweet. Still I wonder how these technological advances might hurt our relationships with each other and our world. The telephone is no longer used for talking but for Instagram and Snapchat. For my children's generation even email is now considered old-fashioned. Gone are the days of writing letters. Gone are the days of lengthy phone calls that were once our only way to transcend the thousands of miles that separated parent from child.
"...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.
"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...."
"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.
"...Believe it or not, this trend affects us all, whether we are dealing with the legal system or not. How? Well, for starters, any time people stop availing themselves of their constitutional rights, including trial by a jury of our peers, we should probably take notice as rights tend to be valued or devalued together. When some go, others typically follow. In this case though, it is especially significant, and it's all about empathy and trust — the bedrock of society...."