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Life in the Time of Tazria

04/03/2024 04:30:18 PM


There is a moment for patients after we deliver the news of a frightening diagnosis, after they have taken in the realities we have laid before them, when they realize that there is one more tremendous hurdle ahead: to share that news with others. Sometimes that feels like the hardest part. How much do they have to disclose? Do they speak in euphemisms or share the harsh realities? It is as though saying a diagnosis aloud...Read more...

We Didn't Start the (Alien) Fire...

04/01/2024 05:20:41 PM


If you have never read Harold Kushner’s 1981 book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, I have two suggestions for you:

1) Read it. 

2) Keep a copy handy for future reference.

Because, quite frankly, bad things happen to good people all the time, and grappling with this in a void can be daunting and exhausting. So it is hardly surprising that this week’s Torah portion, Sh’mini, is best known...Read more...

The Curious Case of Purim and Passover

03/28/2024 08:40:40 AM


We are living in a season of opposite and overlap.  It’s not every year that gives us an opportunity to consider two such unique, significant holidays exactly one month apart.  Yet Purim and Passover, as we speak, are doing just that.

Last weekend we celebrated the holiday of Purim.  Purim falls during Adar – the last month of the year on the Hebrew...Read more...

Would You Like a Little Tzimtzum With That?

03/22/2024 08:19:55 AM


This week’s Torah portion, Vayikra, is all about offerings and sacrifices, and its intricate rules make for a bizarrely fascinating read, if you are the kind of person who doesn’t mind getting into the nitty-gritty and knows your way around a pasture. I, for one, had never seen much relevance in these rules until, years ago, I came across a commentary by the amazing Rabbi Shoshana Gelfand...Read more...

Beautiful Things

03/15/2024 08:49:20 AM


As some of you know, I experienced the privilege of attending the CCAR (Central Conference of American Rabbis) Conference this week.  It’s an opportunity my colleagues and I look forward to.  We catch up with old friends.  We pray together and learn Torah in enduring and creative ways.  We get a sense of what rabbis in congregational settings apart from our own are doing as we all work hard to create meaningful...Read more...

Wrestling With the Past, Giving to the Future

03/07/2024 08:50:28 AM


This past week, after years of silence, I reconnected with my Parisian host father. This was a man who had welcomed me into his family for six months in the spring of 1999 and made an indelible imprint on the person I am today. Interestingly, he hails from the American South, but he moved to Paris in his 20’s and made a life for himself for himself in the City of Love, marrying an elegant and joyful powerhouse of...Read more...

A World of Stories

03/01/2024 08:14:54 AM


We do not wish to see the forest

We wish to see the trees, the tree.

The child, not the human race.

This fragment of poetry was found in the fragments of posthumous writings by Yehuda Amichai, the renown Israeli author and poet.  I think of them often, especially when the world feels as overwhelming and heartbreaking as ours...Read more...

Priestly is the New Black

02/23/2024 08:01:12 AM


Move over, Joseph and your amazing technicolor dream coat… This week, it’s Aaron and his sons getting a fashion upgrade! As Israel’s newly consecrated priests, they cannot help but impress, thanks to some ornate sacral vestments for “dignity and adornment,” complete with a colorful robe, tunic, headdress, and sash. As high priest, Aaron’s garments are topped off with a breastplate, ephod, precious...Read more...

Inside and Out

02/14/2024 03:14:28 PM


A story is told of a sculptor in Ancient Greece who was hard at work on his latest masterpiece.  Day after day people would walk by and marvel at his creation.  As the sculptor neared the end, one passerby remarked that there was something he could not understand.  “Sir, if you’ll permit me,” he said, “your sculpture is magnificent, but why do you work so hard on the back of it?  Won’t it be...Read more...


02/08/2024 04:53:19 PM


This week, I found myself caught in the wild west of internet lawlessness, on the receiving end of expletive filled messages from a total stranger, triggered by an unfavorable review on eBay. After a few attempts at resolving the conflict in a civilized manner, I finally stopped responding to the stranger’s increasingly virulent threats and insults, choosing instead to make a report to eBay about inappropriate...Read more...

Thu, April 18 2024 10 Nisan 5784