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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

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...

Yom Kippur Message 5781

29/09/2020 07:29:34 PM



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

15/09/2020 07:37:19 AM


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

02/09/2020 07:33:59 AM


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

04/08/2020 03:59:56 PM


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...

Between the Wilderness and the Land Beyond

22/07/2020 09:53:48 PM


This week in the yearly Torah cycle brings us to an extremely interesting junction in relation to this moment in our pandemic experience, and to this point in our rabbi-congregation partnership.

Where we are in the Torah is in the space between the last parshah of Bemidbar or the book of Numbers called Masei, literally the “settings-out,” or journeys, and the first parshah in the book of Deuteronomy or Devarim, which goes by the...Read more...

Cousins: A Family Legacy

10/06/2020 09:49:20 PM


Of all my mother’s many cousins, only Rose and Harry from Baltimore were called by their family “title.” They were closer in age to my mother’s European-born aunts and uncles, so it only seemed respectful that we addressed them as Cousin Rose and Cousin Harry.

We visited our Baltimore relatives a handful of times during my childhood, and during Expo ’67 many came to Montreal. Cousin Rose and Cousin Harry were at our house...Read more...

Thu, 8 June 2023