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11/03/2020 08:54:52 PM


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


14/09/2021 06:18:13 PM


Our household is enjoying a second season of pandemic gardening. Last summer, like many others with the blessing of a yard, we dug up a modest rectangle and planted a vegetable garden.

This summer’s crop is almost at an end, but the bounty of tomatoes is dotting my diet with red, orange and green deliciousness. My neighbours, too, are reaping the benefits, especially the happy profusion of sweet little...Read more...

In the Middle

15/06/2021 02:20:17 PM


When the Torah begins, it seems as if there was nothing, and then there was something. At the start, when elohim created the celestial and earthly realms, on earth was utter nothingness, with blank darkness hovering over the depths… and then, everything emerges from it.
It’s a strange, haunting vision, provoking many ways of understanding it – scientific, mathematical, spiritual, ethical, and more. We can also challenge...Read more...

Watching Israel-Palestine: A Difference Kind of Screen Time

18/05/2021 07:31:11 AM


There was a time when we all gathered around a single screen to watch a live event during the school day. Some of those times occurred at history-making moments, not all of them bearing the same weight. The first one I can recall involved a hockey game, sometime in the early 1970, but I...Read more...

Time to Look Up

20/04/2021 08:03:00 PM


Last year at this time, it made perfect sense that I would write about time and counting. Then, as now, we were in the Omer period, the 49 days between the second night of Passover and the eve of Shavuot, which celebrates the gift of Torah. Then, as now, we were grappling with the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. Now, though, there is a different weightiness to the sentiment from the psalm I quoted in last year’s blog...Read more...

Four Letters for Passover 5781

23/03/2021 04:14:00 PM


Dear OrH Family,
It’s only a few days before Passover, so I won’t take up too much of your time with a long missive. In the spirit of the four questions and the four cups, I did however, want to share with you four letters, including this one, which I hope you will make time to read.
You see, while some of you are busy preparing for Passover in the ways that you always do, or in the ways you are discovering,...Read more...

Change and Liberation - Passover Version, Spring 5781

16/03/2021 03:04:45 PM


Spring and Passover. The entire Jewish calendar hinges on the confluence of season with festival. Though we experience what feel like inconsistent shifts in our holiday dates from year to year (when is Passover this year??), it’s the anchoring of pesah in aviv/spring that keeps everything else in the year cycle in its season.
What a gift it is, to have the opportunity to focus our attention not only on the inevitability of...Read more...

It's Always Time for Thanks

02/02/2021 04:28:08 PM


It’s been a minute.
This rather quirky contemporary expression means its opposite.
When you [used to] run into someone on the sidewalk, if it had been a while since you’d seen each other, it’s what one of you might say to the other.
Really. It’s been a minute.
Time, many of us are experiencing, is doing funky things these days. When it comes to Jewish calendar time, that is...Read more...

Soul: A Film for the Soul of this Moment

05/01/2021 04:26:59 PM


When I was a child, I had a favourite book of Jewish folk tales and stories, which I would love to read aloud to company. Apparently, my parents didn’t curb this propensity, which may have laid the groundwork for some of my current professional activities [insert winking rabbi emoji].
My all-time favourite section of the book was devoted to stories of Chelm. Whether or not I understood it as a real place or a fictional...Read more...

5781's Hanukkah Miracle

09/12/2020 07:15:12 PM


Nes gadol hayah sham. A great miracle happened there. Where? In Great Britain, of course. A vaccine developed to protect against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is now being offered to British citizens, beginning with a widely publicized first injection on December 8.
That it is happening this week in the month of December – make that the month of Kislev – is noteworthy, in a multicivilizational sense. Students...Read more...

Singing in the Key of Justice

04/11/2020 09:13:55 AM


Tuesday November 3, 2020. It’s hard to imagine anywhere in North America that is not on double high alert today. I say this not just as a dual citizen of Canada and the United States, but as a distressed citizen of the planet. Between the coronavirus infection numbers and the pending outcome of the American presidential election, it’s all I can do not to vibrate with worry and fear.
Listening to some mid-day classical...

Thu, 2 December 2021