Yom Kippur in Israel

All of the holidays in Israel are somewhat of a surreal experience. This is especially the case for any of us who come from towns, cities, or places where we aren't surrounded by Jews constantly. If you live in Crown Heights or Boro Park or Williamsburg or even the Pico/Robertson area in LA... you are surrounded by Jews. You don't feel like a minority but in Vero Beach, Florida or Broomfield, Colorado... you would be hard pressed to find someone "like" you. And so has been my existence. Judaism … [Read more...]

The Laws of Sukkah According to Dr. Seuss

The Laws of Sukkah According to Dr. SeussYou can build it very small 1 You can build it very tall 2 You can build it very large 3 You can build it on a barge You can build it on a ship 4 Or on a roof but please don't slip 5 You can build it in an alley 6 You shouldn't build it in a valley 7 You can build it on a wagon 8 You can build it on a dragon 9 You can make the schach of wood 10 Would you, could you, YES you should Make the schach from leaves of tree but shouldn't bend it at … [Read more...]

We have to walk?! Where?

Here's something you need to know about Jerusalem. Other than people park/drive on the sidewalks so be careful.It's actually a smallish town. And public transportation and the shops close down for the sabbath. For those of you who have no clue what I am talking about, here is a crash course. On the sabbath, otherwise known as Shabbat or Shabbis or Shabbos, G-d gave us some prohibitions. Since G-d rested on the 7th day, so are we supposed to. This irons out to 39 types of work that a … [Read more...]

How do you approach a future of Judaism?

The future of Judaism is the future we see now: the trends that have already changed the Jewish landscape and will continue to do so for a long, long time.The Downfall of Denominations Denominations are becoming more and more meaningless as our culture moves further into radical individualization.Does anyone in the Reform movement really care about "reforming" anything, or conservatives plan on "conserving" Jewish tradition? Hardly.Most people involve themselves, in a Jewish sense, with … [Read more...]

Is this the future Israeli Jewish women are doomed to live?

For a long time Women of the Wall has been a flash point in Israel and it has finally bubbled up and almost over.Anat Hoffman, leader of the group Women of the Wall, was just arrested for carrying a Torah near the Kotel, the Western Wall.These women have been beaten for having strap marks on their arm from Tefillin. Not even people witnessing them wearing it, just the leftover marks. They have been abused verbally, physically, and by the police for minding their own business on their own … [Read more...]

Would a stone by any other name, mean the same thing?

I was struck (no, not literally) by an image I recently came across on Flickr. It was of Palestinian men collecting rocks... well these were rocks on steroids, huge chunks of concrete, to hurl at Israeli soldiers and settlers who might wander down their streets.It occurred to me when I saw this picture that we use rocks for very different purposes. These Palestinians use rocks to hurt and maim. Even in the broader Islamic culture, rocks are used to inflict pain and death. This punishment is … [Read more...]

My Five Cents

Seattle’s trendy university district is brimming with progressive, liberal and uniquely self-expressed youth. Its deliberate displays of activism are on every vegan restaurant, every store’s “End the War” sign, and every tattoo. On University Ave, you’re lost if you’re not proclaiming your rejection of popular culture with force and pride. Though I’m a native Seattleite, I glide through the shops with the eyes of a tourist. I may be wearing the trendy and oh-so-humanitarian Tom shoes that … [Read more...]

My Tatti Taught Me A Little Shuckel…

Okay, I admit it... I don't have the best memory in the world but there are a few things from my childhood that stick out clearly. I have mentioned some of them before, here in this blog, but with Father's Day rapidly approaching, I have asked my team to write about their father's and how they shaped their Jewish life. And so, I thought I would talk about the memories from my childhood of my dad.The men in my life have always figured prominently. Not sure why. Maybe because I was the first … [Read more...]

Teaching the value of Tikkun Olam – Thanks Dad!

I remember as a kid joining my father as we delivered Passover food packages to the elderly Jews on the lower east side of Manhattan.The program was through project Ezra which, incidentally, was formed before I was born yet it still was very exciting to be a part of. The apartments that we visited were a far cry from the posh lofts that inhabit much of today’s Lower East side but the looks on the faces of the elderly Jews that we delivered packages to was payment enough for our j … [Read more...]

Lessons of the Father’s

Fathers across North America today are celebrating Father’s Day, a day on which fathers are celebrated for the impact they make on their children’s life. I never celebrated one Father’s Day with my dad. Heck, we never really celebrated much of anything during his short life. He has been gone 15 years, and it’s on days like today that I get to wondering what it would have been like to really experience what having a father was all about.He really was a typical “bon-vivant” and there are parts of … [Read more...]


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