How to Encounter the Omer, week 2 – Gevurah

I have a sweet friend who I visit every Shabbos. Her name is Joan. We sit together and chat about “Jewish Stuff” and then share the blessings of entering Shabbos. During these 7 weeks of Omer we have been talking about the 7 x 7 Sefirot. Well, I do most of the talking (no surprise there), and she offers her smile and laughter and some interesting notions. Here is installment two of the Counting of the Omer. Last week was Hesed, unconditional love. This week is Gevurah.Gevurah has to do with the … [Read more...]

New article on the Shoes at the Danube

Check out my latest article about the memorial of shoes on the Danube river in Budapest.This was one of the places where Raul Wallenberg was desperately trying to save lives.Read it here - Shoes … [Read more...]

Zachor — Remember

Yesterday we commemorated the Shoah, the Holocaust.  We reiterate time and again as we commemorate the Shoah the word Zachor, remember.  What does this really mean?My Rabbi began his sermon before Yikzor (the memorial service) on the 8th day of Pesach (Passover) by speaking about the commandment to remember our slavery and the exodus from Egypt – as if anyone that lived through it could forget.  Maybe that’s the point though, while those who lived through such an intense experience would fore … [Read more...]

The past is getting further and further away…

I remember him so clearly. This older rabbi. Mind you, most of the rabbis in my life are family members but this time it was different. My dad was the rabbi at the Hillel and we were members at Temple Sinai. So for once in my life, "my" rabbi wasn't my dad or grandfather.If I close my eyes, I can see him. I can see the moment that is seared into my memory. I was only 5. That's how strong of an impression he left.I remember that he wore suits all the time. I never saw him take his jacket off … [Read more...]

Backpedaling on Pedophilia

This from the Associated Press: "Pope Benedict XVI's personal preacher is likening accusations against the pope and the church in the sex abuse scandal to 'collective violence' suffered by the Jews. The Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa said in a Good Friday sermon, with the pope listening to him in St. Peter's Basilica, that a Jewish friend has said the accusations remind him of the 'more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism.'"I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry, though the fact that Rev. R … [Read more...]

A Priest Speaks Out

I know this isn't a Jewish article but our resident Catholic priest here at Patheos has written a post about the Catholic Church's latest sex scandal explosion.Mike really gives a good perspective on this horrible situation. I really recommend everyone reads it.Sexual Abuse: Protecting the Church or Killing It? … [Read more...]

How to Encounter the Omer

From Where I Sit….OK, Pesah has passed and Shavuot is a few weeks away.  The 49 days in between are called the Omer and it is an ancient Jewish custom to count the Omer, the days until Shavuot.  Originally it was an agricultural activity.  Later it became a time of mystic wonder.Even within the deepest mystic moment there are simple yet deep lessons to be learned and shared and passed on.  Each day of the 49 has stories and lessons to share.  You have lessons and stories to share.Here … [Read more...]

Challah Baby… an update

Okay, first of all, if you haven't read Challah Baby (the original) I highly recommend reading it first. Life will make a lot more sense... trust me.It's okay... we'll wait.Back? Oh good.So it has been a little over three months now and no word from my friend. Now in my mind that could mean several things. One: she isn't pregnant, it didn't work and she doesn't want to talk about it. Okay. I won't push. Or two: she is pregnant but holding to the tradition to not talk about it until she is … [Read more...]

A Different Family Seder

About four years ago my wife and I met a group of people who all had a child of a similar age in a class with my oldest (then only) daughter. If you don’t have kids, one of the first things you learn upon ascending to parenthood is that you have to develop a new set of friends, a process akin to dating. It is stressful, exhilarating (“do you think they like us too?!?”), and a generally fun experience.We ended up becoming friends with a small group of parents – four or five couples – who all hav … [Read more...]

Next Year in Jerusalem… or the White House, depends on who you know…

This morning, while my friends at my neighborhood car repair shop were fixing my car to the tune of several hundred dollars (ugh), I sat in Starbucks with my Sunday New York Times.I love the Sunday New York Times. I live in Denver now but I was born in Manhattan to a mother from Queens and no matter where we moved across the US, I always had a soft spot for a Bialy. Anyway, I love the Sunday Styles sections and my favorite way to finish my coffee is with the weddings... I'm not going to lie, … [Read more...]