To Feel Joy, Do Joy! | Commentary on Sukkot

For many years, I had a plaque with a quote attributed to British writer, Vivian Greene. It read:  Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain. Over the years, I, myself, and some who came to me for counsel, found support and inspiration in those […]

Our Dual-Gendered God | Parashat Ha’azinu

Are we really still referring to God in the masculine? This week’s Torah portion Ha’azinu makes clear that YHWH was understood as dual gendered. Ha’azinu opens with Moses declaring “Let the earth hear the words of my mouth!” And listen to what Moses is saying! God “convulsed in labor for you” (Deuteronomy 32:18), “gave birth […]

Nitzavim and Collective Effervescence | Parashat Nitzavim

I think it’s time I gave up my disdain for “the wave,” that strange bit of choreography we do at the ballpark, as we rise in unison, throw our hands into the air and mimic a wave moving from one side of the stadium to the other. I always hated it. It seemed so silly […]

Choosing Our Response | Parashat Ki Tavo

This week we continue to stand on the shores of the Jordan river reviewing the rules and laws. As part of the review, Moses reminds us of the blessings and curses that await us.

Taking a Long Term Approach | Parashat Ki Tetze

Struggling as we are with fires and floods, heat waves and other devastating natural disasters all around the world, these words from the Haftarah for Parashat Ki Tezei caught my attention this year.

Humans are Like the Tree of the Field | Parashat Shoftim

A few years ago, my family went to see the Fortingall Yew in Scotland. It is reputed to be the oldest tree in Britain, 2,000 to 3,000 years old. We felt a sense of awe thinking about all the things that had happened since the tree had been planted and how the world had changed. Although the oldest tree in Britain, in other parts of the world, such ancient trees are not as unusual.

Swimming Pool and Altars | Parashat Re’e

These days, private pools have been a gift during the pandemic era. But the increasing individuation in society that backyard swimming pools represent has not necessarily helped our community as a whole.

Be a Tenacious Jew | Parashat Ekev

The Israelites are tenacious. That is a double-edged sword. On one hand they spend a great deal of time wandering the desert complaining and rebelling, pushing the limits and challenging authority. On the other hand, there is this sense that if their energy could just be properly focused Israel will experience the greatness promised to them as descendants of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, Leah, and Rachel.

Creating Reality and Memory | Parashat Va’etchanan

Every time my teen son leaves the house, my final words to him are always, “Be careful!” This is what my parents always said to me (and still do!). This is what their parents always said to them. I guess it’s already a family tradition.