Being a bit more like Thumper…

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A week or so ago my Rabbi sent a newsletter about "being like Thumper".You know,"If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."I've been thinking a bit about it lately, especially in light of my [forever ongoing] legal drama. I've been thinking about the posts I've written. I've been honest, but I haven't always been kind. Is it really harmful to say the truth? I mean, is it so bad? Surely telling the truth, even if unkind, isn't a bad thing? Isn't honesty a … [Read more...]

When Life throws Lemons

Life isn't fair.It's something I was pondering today as I thought about my last two posts about divorce and Mother's Day , and as I spoke with some people about their experiences with uncharitable life situations.That's the entirety of the book of Job (Iyov), isn't it? That life isn't fair, even for righteous people. If you haven't read Job, the story goes like this:Job is a great guy who lives a great life. He is an "upright" person who always does the right thing. He has many … [Read more...]

The Charter for Compassion

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One thing I love about the Jewish mindset is the lack of punishment-as-motivator. That is, we are to do things to make the world a better place, and to make ourselves better people. Not to avoid punishment or to gather "heavenly rewards".Tikkun Olam is the idea that our job is to "repair" creation. As if a mirror has shattered and it's our job to pick up all the pieces. The idea is that we have to literally DO something. The whole "I'll pray for you" isn't enough.While the below isn't a … [Read more...]

Questions, Please!

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What questions would you ask someone who is leaving Christianity for another faith?Here are some I've gotten:1) WHY? 2) What did your parents think/say/do? 3) How long does it take to convert to Judaism? 4) Are you allowed to have short hair/color your hair as a Jew? 5) From a friend, "What do you see as the point of religion? Is there justification within Judaism? What are you striving for? Is the goal to gain Heaven? Is there understanding that your own sinfulness requires … [Read more...]

One “Convert’s” Story – Christian Pastor to Jewish Rabbi

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I really enjoyed this youtube video. The speaker accurately describes the slow process from one point to another that conversion involves. It's a process that changes the mind, heart, and soul. What happens is that small truths are unveiled, one by one, until the old faith is no longer home. For me, is started with questioning when I was young. Logically, some things didn't add up. And in practice, things didn't add up. My heart was also elsewhere.It has taken a decade of very slow learning … [Read more...]

How Long Does Conversion to Judaism Take?

800px-RoyLindmanDavidsStarAriAshkenaziSynagogue

Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:RoyLindmanDavidsStarAriAshkenaziSynagogue.jpg One question I get asked frequently is, "How long does it take to convert to Judaism?"Lately, the conversation has gone something like this: Them: You converted to Judaism, right?Me: Actually, I'm still in the process.Them: Really? How long does that take?Me: As long as it takes.Them: *blink*Me: Um...somewhere around a year or two. Or until I'm ready.... That … [Read more...]

Spiritual Baggage, plus Advice for Visiting Synagogues

Jews praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur. (1878 painting by Maurycy Gottlieb)

Spiritual baggage. We all have it, whether we’ve stayed in our birth religion or if we’ve left it like a bad ex. Like relationship baggage, it tints all new spiritual experiences. We can’t help but compare new experiences, rituals, and beliefs to old ones. It’s a part of how we think, really. We relate one idea to another, and then form new ideas.Christianity, especially the more fundamental or conservative branches, seems to cause some hefty spiritual baggage for individuals, at least here i … [Read more...]


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