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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

Considering Israel

01/09/2019 08:44:56 PM


“Israel” has long been regarded as the third-rail of Jewish communal discourse. The quotation marks here signify the fluid, elusive nature of that word. It signals questions: what exactly are we referencing when we say “Israel?” Is it the current country? How we define its boundaries? The idea of a Jewish nation? A Jewish nation-state? Historical Zionism? The actions of the current Israeli government?
In prayer books,...

Setting The Calendar For Human Rights

12/11/2018 08:42:12 AM


It’s not the darkest time. Not yet.

This year the lights of Hanukkah wane, along with the dimming sunlight, as we approach the winter solstice. Often the secular and religious calendars provide an overlap between the Jewish and Christian holidays that fall on the 25th - of Kislev and December respectively. These two festivals, just happen to involve the lighting of candles. It’s hard not to notice the confluence of dates, and...Read more...

Reconstructing Judaism Convention 2018

11/27/2018 08:14:27 PM


Three OrH members – Sarah, Jean, and Diana– along with Rabbi Liz, attended the 2018 Reconstructing Judaism convention in Philadelphia, November 15-18. Instead of the usual Words of the Spirit column from Rabbi Liz, we wanted to share with you Sarah, Jean, and Diana’s reflections on the experience. Read their reflections and see photos of some familiar faces at:  

For some convention...

Death and Life are in the Power of the Tongue: Honouring Yitzhak Rabin’s 23rd Yartsayt

11/06/2018 08:42:40 PM


Although the English date fell this past Sunday, I missed Yitzhak Rabin’s traditional yartsayt date, which fell back on October 20, the 11th of Heshvan.

November 4, 1995 was still in the month of Heshvan, our month of no holy days following the busy Jewish New Year month of Tishrey. In both cases, the parshah read on that Saturday was Lekh Lekha. In it Avram gets the call to resituate himself and his clan to a place where he and...Read more...

Notes from a Teaching on “Self” – Jewish Mindfulness Meditation – Thursday October 11, 2018

10/16/2018 07:46:36 PM


Central to any spiritual journey is the concept of self. As embodied beings, it can’t be otherwise. Yet this also entails a certain contradiction. Though of course many spiritual practices may unfold in embodied forms, spiritual journeys are broadly understood to be originating, manifesting, or residing in realms beyond the body.

Transcendence is therefore a concept found in many spiritual practices, religions and journeys into and...Read more...

Shelter From the Storm

09/25/2018 06:41:56 PM


A few months ago I was contacted by Rev. Anthony Bailey with an invitation to participate in a clergy Interfaith “Build Day” with Habitat for Humanity. I was delighted to see that the prospective date fell during hol hamo’ed sukkot - the intermediate days of the holiday. Of course I said yes, and have been eagerly, if a little nervously, anticipating the day, knowing that I would be getting outfitted with protective gear and...Read more...

Joy for the New Year

09/04/2018 08:11:15 PM


How many of us contemplate the Jewish date as we go about our lives? At some times of the year it becomes more relevant than at others, of course. These fall holy days, Passover in the spring (or late winter, depending upon the local weather), remind us of the various ways our ancestors determined the “head of the year,” a literal translation for Rosh Hashanah.

I’m contemplating the year aspect of the date – 5779. At the same...Read more...

To Teach, With Love

08/21/2018 07:26:56 PM


Is there a happier or more carefree month of the year than August? Or, rather, is it fraught with worry – by parents, for the school year ahead, with all its forms; by teachers, either intensively planning their new years’ curricula, or wondering what sections or classes they will be teaching (or IF they will be teaching); by students, who are happiest learning through play, and eager to stay in the open space-and-time that is...Read more...

Cold Calls, Teachable Moments

07/31/2018 11:08:27 PM


As the only Reconstructionist rabbi in town, I get lots of “cold calls,” people calling not necessarily because they want to talk to this rabbi, but in order to talk to the rabbi of this type. On many occasions, the query is about officiating at a life cycle event for a member of the caller’s family. It could also be from an agency in the Jewish community or the region at large, say, to give the benediction at a special event, or...Read more...

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...

Mon, September 23 2019 23 Elul 5779