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Drilling Down on our High Holy Day Prep with the Help of Parshat Ki Teitzei (and a Little Competitive Ribbon Dancing)

This morning, I was involved in a messaging chain as my family tried to set up plans for our kiddo with a couple of our friends. The texts proceed: What time, oh that’s during nap, maybe she’ll nap in the car, that is a complete fantasy, she never naps in the car…and so forth. This…Read on →

Shabbat Shoftim Torah Study

Deut 20:19 כִּֽי־תָצ֣וּר אֶל־עִיר֩ יָמִ֨ים רַבִּ֜ים לְֽהִלָּחֵ֧ם עָלֶ֣יהָ לְתָפְשָׂ֗הּ לֹֽא־תַשְׁחִ֤ית אֶת־עֵצָהּ֙ לִנְדֹּ֤חַ עָלָיו֙ גַּרְזֶ֔ן כִּ֚י מִמֶּ֣נּוּ תֹאכֵ֔ל וְאֹת֖וֹ לֹ֣א תִכְרֹ֑ת כִּ֤י הָֽאָדָם֙ עֵ֣ץ הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה לָבֹ֥א מִפָּנֶ֖יךָ בַּמָּצֽוֹר׃ When in your war against a city you have to besiege it a long time in order to capture it, you must not destroy its trees, wielding the…Read on →

Love in Jewish Tradition: A To-Do List, Not a To-Feel List

I want to talk to you about love. Well, to be fair, actually Judaism wants to talk to you, and all of us, about love. Today is a day on the Jewish calendar called Tu B’Av, which translates to the 15th day of the month of Av. Post-Biblically speaking, it is the day of the…Read on →

Subliminal Stirrings: Or, Oh Dear, The High Holy Days Are Coming

I remember the first time that I learned about the idea of subliminal messages. It was back in the good old days when people watched TV at the time their show came on and during that show, there were commercial breaks. There were advertisements for food, cars, vacations, and toys. And for each of these,…Read on →

When Our Walls are Breached

When I was a kid, and my brother and I used to play with the neighborhood children in Stuyvesant Town—kickball, or dodgeball, or running bases—there used to be a bit of an unspoken rule about when you could get a do-over. Another try to go back in time and do it better. A do-over was…Read on →

Getting Unstuck Through the Mouth of a Donkey

In 1981, a pamphlet was published by Narcotics Anonymous, which included the following statement: The definition of insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results. Now, to be clear, that is obviously not the actual definition of insanity, and it is surely not the definition of those with mental illness. This is not…Read on →

We Could Be Miriam: For the Protection of Immigrant Children

A 12-year-old boy: “I’m hungry here all the time. I’m so hungry that I have woken up in the middle of the night with hunger… I’m too scared to ask the officials here for any more food, even though there is not enough food here for me. I saw a child ask for more food…Read on →

Together, We Will Rise

Earlier this week, at home with our two year old, a great moment finally arrived. I was drinking from our mug that says: A woman’s place is in the resistance, with a picture of Princess Leia on it. And our toddler pointed at it and looked at me inquisitively. And I took a deep breath…Read on →

Different, But the Same

This is my final column as your Intentional Interim Rabbi (2018–2019), a chance to look back on the year past, and to peek around the corner at what is yet to come. “Much will be the same this year, and much will be different,” I wrote in my first column last fall. And so it…Read on →

Forgotten Figures

The theme of the March/April issue of The Bulletin was “Jewish Heroes and Heroines: Inspiration for Our Times.”   I’m pleased to share my column featuring brief profiles of two inspiring but forgotten figures of Union Temple. “Ask the Rabbi” sessions, which I held with our Second Grade, and Sixth/Seventh Grade classes, follow.    Adolph M….Read on →