Sign In Forgot Password

08/29/2017 09:55:20 PM

Aug29

words of the spirit banner

Words of the Spirit, by Rabbi Liz Bolton, Or Haneshamah's rabbi and spiritual leader

Joy for the New Year

09/04/2018 08:11:15 PM

Sep4

How many of us contemplate the Jewish date as we go about our lives? At some times of the year it becomes more relevant than at others, of course. These fall holy days, Passover in the spring (or late winter, depending upon the local weather), remind us of the various ways our ancestors determined the “head of the year,” a literal translation for Rosh Hashanah.

I’m contemplating the year aspect of the date – 5779. At the same...Read more...

To Teach, With Love

08/21/2018 07:26:56 PM

Aug21

Is there a happier or more carefree month of the year than August? Or, rather, is it fraught with worry – by parents, for the school year ahead, with all its forms; by teachers, either intensively planning their new years’ curricula, or wondering what sections or classes they will be teaching (or IF they will be teaching); by students, who are happiest learning through play, and eager to stay in the open space-and-time that is...Read more...

Cold Calls, Teachable Moments

07/31/2018 11:08:27 PM

Jul31

As the only Reconstructionist rabbi in town, I get lots of “cold calls,” people calling not necessarily because they want to talk to this rabbi, but in order to talk to the rabbi of this type. On many occasions, the query is about officiating at a life cycle event for a member of the caller’s family. It could also be from an agency in the Jewish community or the region at large, say, to give the benediction at a special event, or...Read more...

Living In to Jewish Values

05/30/2018 06:52:03 PM

May30

My daughter attended a Jewish day school for Kindergarten and Grade 1. Early in her first year I volunteered for lunch duty, and had a rude awakening.

Blessings before the meal? No opportunity or direction provided. Throughout the meal, the Judaic studies director yelled at the students to talk less and eat. Her top trick for quelling the din was a “contest” at the microphone. Winners would get bubble gum for telling a joke or...Read more...

Looking for Ways of Seeing

05/16/2018 02:36:26 PM

May16

Apparently, if you focus on a steady spot far off in the distance, it’s possible to mitigate the worst effects of motion sickness. In a flat vista, that could be the distant horizon. With vertigo, the trick is to snap your head quickly in the opposite direction, which, paradoxically, could also worsen the vertiginous symptoms.

Nothing seems to be working for me this week, as I try to look far ahead into the distance, where...Read more...

Breaking the Silence 

04/17/2018 07:43:59 PM

Apr17

To set up the new document page for this message, I closed one from the Passover Recipes folder.

Closing the page from Passover brings with it not only concrete activities like putting away the special recipes and kitchenware (and wondering what to do with that unopened box of matzah – again!) but sitting with reflections that arise following an intensive sequence of events that arose in Israel on the eve of the...Read more...

Passover TARDIS

03/27/2018 07:02:42 PM

Mar27

The Passover seder exerts a strong pull on our people. Many studies and polls show that across the spectrum of observances and beliefs it’s the most widely-observed Jewish ritual outside of the High Holy Days.

At its core, the seder is a Jewish time-traveling psychodrama, a biblio/rabbinic-drama, a fine expression of Judaism as an Evolving Religious Civilization: Our people’s TARDIS (ask a fan of Doctor Who to...Read more...

Reconstructing Judaism

02/06/2018 09:28:04 PM

Feb6

I’m thrilled with the news out of Philadelphia. Nope, not the Super Bowl 2018 win by the Philadelphia Eagles; it is something far more parochial.

Last week saw the announcement of the “rebranding” of the two entities at the core of what has been known as the Reconstructionist movement. The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College – where I studied from 1989-1996 – and the Jewish Reconstructionist Communities,...Read more...

The Tzipporah Models

01/02/2018 08:07:28 PM

Jan2

The first portion in the book of Exodus contains many familiar stories, ones that come with enduring iconic imagery: the Hebrew baby, who would become the great leader, floating in a basket on the river Nile; Moses slaying a cruel taskmaster who is beating a fellow Hebrew; the shepherd Moshe, awed by the bush on fire, called by the Divine voice to free his people back in Mitzrayim.

Woven through these stories are also the stories of...Read more...

Hanukkah, In These Times

12/12/2017 09:37:23 PM

Dec12

As a youthful activist, I regularly read a journal of news and analysis called “In These Times.” It’s still around, doing long-form journalism and investigative reporting on-line and in print.

So many things, in these times, happen on multiple platforms, even religion and spirituality. From Dharma Talks on RRS feeds to live-streamed Kabbalat Shabbat services to a plethora of smart phone apps with titles like “Meditation...Read more...

Thu, September 20 2018 11 Tishrei 5779