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08/29/2017 09:55:20 PM


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

Living In to Jewish Values

05/30/2018 06:52:03 PM


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


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


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


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...

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...

Fri, January 18 2019 12 Sh'vat 5779