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08/29/2017 09:55:20 PM

Aug29

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

Death and Life are in the Power of the Tongue: Honouring Yitzhak Rabin’s 23rd Yartsayt

11/06/2018 08:42:40 PM

Nov6

Although the English date fell this past Sunday, I missed Yitzhak Rabin’s traditional yartsayt date, which fell back on October 20, the 11th of Heshvan.

November 4, 1995 was still in the month of Heshvan, our month of no holy days following the busy Jewish New Year month of Tishrey. In both cases, the parshah read on that Saturday was Lekh Lekha. In it Avram gets the call to resituate himself and his clan to a place where he and...Read more...

Notes from a Teaching on “Self” – Jewish Mindfulness Meditation – Thursday October 11, 2018

10/16/2018 07:46:36 PM

Oct16

Central to any spiritual journey is the concept of self. As embodied beings, it can’t be otherwise. Yet this also entails a certain contradiction. Though of course many spiritual practices may unfold in embodied forms, spiritual journeys are broadly understood to be originating, manifesting, or residing in realms beyond the body.

Transcendence is therefore a concept found in many spiritual practices, religions and journeys into and...Read more...

Shelter From the Storm

09/25/2018 06:41:56 PM

Sep25

A few months ago I was contacted by Rev. Anthony Bailey with an invitation to participate in a clergy Interfaith “Build Day” with Habitat for Humanity. I was delighted to see that the prospective date fell during hol hamo’ed sukkot - the intermediate days of the holiday. Of course I said yes, and have been eagerly, if a little nervously, anticipating the day, knowing that I would be getting outfitted with protective gear and...Read more...

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...

Wed, November 21 2018 13 Kislev 5779