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03/11/2020 08:54:52 PM

Mar11

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

Four Letters for Passover 5781

03/23/2021 04:14:00 PM

Mar23

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

03/16/2021 03:04:45 PM

Mar16

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

Feb2

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

01/05/2021 04:26:59 PM

Jan5

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

12/09/2020 07:15:12 PM

Dec9

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

11/04/2020 09:13:55 AM

Nov4

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...Read more...

Yom Kippur Message 5781

09/29/2020 07:29:34 PM

Sep29

I.

This past year I returned to an old hobby of mine, taking up various styles of needlework.

My cross-stitching projects have included small pieces, some no bigger than 4 inches around or 6 inches across. Often, they feature “bad words,” surrounded by the kind of genteel floral patterns one associates with antimacassars and porcelain tea cups. So the raging impulse behind pieces that read BAD...Read more...

To Breath Into the New Year

09/15/2020 07:37:19 AM

Sep15

While it’s true that every year is a year like no other, and every new year brings uniquely new possibilities, this year I find myself reaching back to my Ashkenazi upbringing:

This is takkeh* a year like no other! Halevay** this new year brings uniquely new possibilities! OY!

For the past six months, much of the world has been reeling and adapting as we have altered our habits and rituals, alert to and monitoring our health...Read more...

Grounding Ourselves in Teshuvah

09/02/2020 07:33:59 AM

Sep2

As I write this on the Friday that is the first day of Elul, the month before the new year begins, I am stepping into my annual process of teshuvah. At the same time, it feels like my spiritual heels are dragging along the ground, unsure of my steps in this unstable time.

For the many years that social media and digital communications have been a feature of our secular culture, it has also offered wonderful platform in the Jewish...Read more...

Concrete Ambiguity in Jewish Time

08/04/2020 03:59:56 PM

Aug4

There’s a particular perspective that I have heard over the years from folks who are new to Judaism, or who have joined the Jewish people. It comes from their observations of, or experiences with, Jewish rituals around mourning and grief.

Universally, the perspective is one of appreciation – for the concrete rituals; for the communal as well as personal elements; for addressing specific time frames, such as those between the...Read more...

Mon, April 12 2021 30 Nisan 5781