Please Rain on our Parade

I’m not a fan of the angry Old Testament God. Obey my commands or suffer the consequences. Light a fire on the Sabbath Day and be put to death. Commit utter genocide on the enemy tribe of Amalek—kill all men, women, and children. There’s a reason why the religion we follow is generally regarded as ...

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Think Fast!

I’m still trying to figure out how a holiday like Yom Kippur made it past quality control. It started out simply enough—let’s have one day on the Jewish calendar dedicated to atonement for all of the previous year’s misdeeds and transgressions. Since it needed to convey a sense of gravitas, the Torah decreed that on ...

Not Who Shall Live, but How Will You Live?

Ever wonder what we’re thinking about up there on the bimah during High Holiday services? Hint: At any given moment, it’s probably not repentance, the majestic music, glorious liturgy, and themes of God’s sovereignty. During services, we’re likely to be distracted with a multitude of various items, like who has the honor to open the ...

Repent Now!

Shortly before the High Holidays a number of years ago, I was teaching my 6th grade Hebrew school class about teshuvah—repentance. Everything was going really well as I explained why repentance is important and how repentance is an integral part of our Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur preparation. Towards the end of the class, a ...

Worst. Metaphor. Ever.

As a runner, I’m obsessed with numbers. Measuring my distance to a tenth of a mile (and getting stressed when my GPS watch doesn’t agree with mapmyrun on the computer). Maintaining my pace—minutes and seconds per mile—and not running a second slower than before. Becoming upset because I finished a race 43 seconds slower than ...

Jewish Slacktivism Part II

Have you ever paid someone to recite Mourners Kaddish? Would you? The Kaddish could well be the most well-known and ubiquitous texts that exist in our liturgy—it evokes a variety of emotions and seems to unite Jews of disparate levels of observance. Even those who identify as non-observant often make the effort to recite Mourners ...

God and Country

On my Facebook page last week, I posed a question—with tongue planted firmly in cheek—asking whether there was a blessing for Donald Trump. Even so, there was a real answer that I had in mind. There are many different blessings that one is supposed to recite on various occasions, such as witnessing a wonder of ...

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