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08/29/2017 09:55:20 PM


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

Love, Longing and the New Year

09/19/2017 08:56:51 PM


How do we mark Love? What about Creation – birth, plantings that grow, ideas and plan we seed? Where do we put our Regrets, our commitments to change? And how, with all of these, do we share the experience of our observance?

In other times, our ancestors may not have exercised choice in these matters, but they did, oh they surely did innovate. Old ways stuck, but if they did not, they fell away and were replaced by new...Read more...

A Prayer for the New Year

09/12/2017 05:28:02 PM


A Prayer for the New Year
(based on a text by Rabbi Dan Wolpe)

Mekorenu Eloheynu/Our source, our God,

Over the last few months, there has been so much horror. A deep increase in acts of hatred, storms that are flooding and destroying cities and taking human life, fires that are devastating communities in this country, earthquakes, ongoing genocides.

We won’t pray for protection, for we know that tragedy hits both...Read more...

Hurricane Harvey, Floods, and Social Responsibility

08/29/2017 09:54:02 PM


Exactly 12 years ago, as the effects of Hurricane Katrina were soaking into our consciousness, many faith-based messages ensued, along with information about where to send donations for relief.

Among my colleagues, we discussed how to share pastoral messages without ignoring our politically-informed awareness about the human failings that led to the scope and impact of that particular disaster, which was regarded as anything but...Read more...


08/15/2017 10:05:39 PM


It’s been a season and summer of crazy. Issues of parades and flags and race intersecting, and none too comfortably. And then … Charlottesville.

Next week is Pride Week in Ottawa, and I’m sitting with lots of questions: How do we name the crossroads where we meet each other next week? How and why are parades and flags, walls and race intersecting at this moment in our peoples’ story? Where do we stand and how do we march...Read more...

Holy Days, Holy Weeks, Holy Acts

04/18/2017 09:23:50 PM


With the overlap of Passover, Holy Week and Easter this year, it is even more tempting than usual to look at the ritual, spiritual and communal similarities and differences between the two religions.

Ritually, the external forms of Judaism and Christianity diverge significantly, just as they do at any time of the year. However, the underlying spiritual meanings of several symbols within each tradition evoke similar resonance with the...Read more...

Pre-Pesach I: Guard Your Tongue for the New Moon of Nisan

03/28/2017 09:33:50 PM


Rosh Hodesh, literally the head of the month, refers the new moon. Jewish months most often begin in the middle of our Gregorian months, giving rise to those confusing calendars, with the Gregorian date in one corner and the contrasting Jewish calendar date in another, which begins on the previous evening.

This Jewish year, as is often the case, Rosh Hodesh Nisan, is followed by the Shabbat when we begin reading from a new book of...Read more...

TeRuMah: Holding UP our Gifts

02/28/2017 08:21:35 PM


Those of us who have siblings, and those of us who parent more than one offspring, have a particular challenge in our lives. It plays out through circumstances that may appear mundane, yet illuminate an issue that is both profoundly human and deeply sacred.

When my two children were young, there was a fair bit of checking out the dimensions of the cookie, or the serving of pasta, or the amount of time spent schmoozing at bedtime. The...Read more...

Who Knows

02/07/2017 06:41:01 PM


Each November the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College hosts a three-day gathering for prospective students. This past fall’s Institute began on November 9, the day after the American presidential election, which had been preceded by a long season of acrimonious campaigning, and a deteriorating civil discourse. In this article about the event, several biblical figures and narrative threads are referenced that have been on my mind...Read more...

New Year Reflections: The Arc of the Moral Universe, v.2017

01/11/2017 07:52:00 PM


Reconstructionist Judaism has been described by one of my great rabbinical school teachers, Dr. Arthur Green, as religious humanism. He also teaches that the first and most important “commandment” of the Hebrew Bible is captured in Genesis 1:27 with the phrase tselem elohim – the image of God.

These are two essential teachings for me. They capture the ikar, the vital core that enlivens how I wish to be, and what I wish to do as...Read more...

In the Best of Times

11/15/2016 08:04:41 PM


In the best of times, and when I am at my best, I live in the moment.

This doesn’t mean I do not look ahead. I make plans, I anticipate needs, and I look forward to special events.

But when I’m living in the moment, all sorts of things become clear.

My sense of smell, and balance, my capacity to withstand others’ complaints, the ways in which I can pivot in place, they are all finely honed and less...Read more...

Sat, October 21 2017 1 Cheshvan 5778