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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

Reconstructing Judaism

02/06/2018 09:28:04 PM


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


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...

Hanukkah, In These Times

12/12/2017 09:37:23 PM


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...

Shabbat Challenges and Opportunities

11/28/2017 10:05:47 PM


Shabbat, paired with the onset of winter, presents an interesting combination of opportunities and challenges for a progressive, living-in-two-civilizations community like ours. The pull to observe communally may weaken, whether your preference is to hunker down to stay in and cozy, or to take off to the hills and rinks at every opportunity.

A few weeks ago, a simple challenge created an awesome opportunity. Once a year, we need to...Read more...

Hashtag: whatrabbisdo

11/14/2017 07:08:09 PM


At an event recently where I am known as a rabbi but was not functioning as a rabbi, I had occasion to make fun of myself. “Don’t worry,” I joked, “I’m always ready to talk … I’m a rabbi!”

There is one big topic, though, that everyone seems to be talking about these days … and I’m not sure what to say, rabbinic-ly speaking. It’s the spate of men of status – politicians, movie producers, actors, editors, and...Read more...

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...

Thu, March 22 2018 6 Nisan 5778