Shabbat Nakhamu: The Courage to be Consoled

נַחֲמ֥וּ נַחֲמ֖וּ עַמִּ֑י יֹאמַ֖ר אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶֽם Nakhamu, nakhamu ami yomar Eloheykhem “Be consoled, my people, says your G*d” – Isaiah 40.1 Last Saturday night we commemorated Tisha B’Av, a date on which we remember not only the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple and our two-thousand year homelessness that followed. Jewish tradition also marks the 9th dayContinue reading “Shabbat Nakhamu: The Courage to be Consoled”

Shabbat Hazon: What We Have Done, and What We Must Learn

It is not up to you to finish the work, but you are not excused from your part in it – Pirke Avot We begin our immersion into the Book of Devarim, Deuteronomy, this week. The first parashah of this book is always the prescribed learning for the Shabbat immediately preceding Tisha B’Av. Tisha B’Av,Continue reading “Shabbat Hazon: What We Have Done, and What We Must Learn”

Shabbat Matot-Masei: Neither Here Nor There

“Not all who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring We’ve left the place we knew, the good and the bad of it, and now we don’t know where we are. That is as true of us as it was of our ancestors, who, having left Egypt, wandered in a wildernessContinue reading “Shabbat Matot-Masei: Neither Here Nor There”

my heart is in the east and I am in the uttermost west

During dark times, we who are the Jewish community are summoned to kindle light. In solidarity with all of us who watch the violence exploding in Palestine and Israel, and can do nothing but worry from afar, I offer my thoughts as you consider your own: My closest family and my closest cousins are fightingContinue reading “my heart is in the east and I am in the uttermost west”

Shabbat Pinkhas: The Three Weeks

חָנֵּנִי ה’ כִּי אֻמְלַל אָנִי רְפָאֵנִי ה’ כִּי נִבְהֲלוּ עֲצָמָי וְנַפְשִׁי נִבְהֲלָה מְאֹד ואת ה’ עַד מָתָי Heal me, for I am very low. I am chaos within. My soul is in very great chaos, and you, HaShem, how long? – Takhanun  Today a man will be buried who died in the heat wave thisContinue reading “Shabbat Pinkhas: The Three Weeks”

Listen to Palestinian Voices

Last week I was privileged to be part of a panel discussion organized by VACA House of Hope in El Aziriyah Palestine. The other panelists included Milad Vosgueritchian, co-founder and director of the trauma-informed kindergarten, and Aziz Abu Sarah, his close friend and leader of Mejdi Tours, as well as a pastor from Eureka CA.Continue reading “Listen to Palestinian Voices”

How not to be like Korakh: the wisdom of humility

Do not separate yourself from the community – Hillel, Pirke Avot 2.5 This week’s Parashah records a paradigmatic moment of leadership disagreement. While most Israelites are consumed with the daily challenges of life – the tent is tilting, we have to pack for the move, where is the goat? – leadership is comparably, appropriately engagedContinue reading “How not to be like Korakh: the wisdom of humility”

Shabbat Shelakh: Trust

Perhaps the undermining of the idea of trust began for many of us with the cultural saturation in the U.S. of the slogan “trust, but verify.” Or perhaps it is an internal result of the persecutions Jews have endured for many centuries. No matter the cause, the lack of ability to trust – to suspendContinue reading “Shabbat Shelakh: Trust”

Shabbat B’Ha’alot’kha: None of Us Can Do This Alone

“The self is not built to carry its own weight.” – Roy Baumeister, social psychologist The Jewish people are hard to please. Apparently against all odds they have escaped from Egyptian slavery, as is described in the Torah narrative of Exodus. Having had a time to rest and recover from that fearful event all duringContinue reading “Shabbat B’Ha’alot’kha: None of Us Can Do This Alone”

Shabbat BaMidbar: Wilderness of Doubt

שָׁל֨וֹם ׀ שָׁל֜וֹם לָרָח֧וֹק וְלַקָּר֛וֹב אָמַ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה וּרְפָאתִֽיו׃ peace, peace to the far and to the near – Isaiah 57.19  This week our parashah records the beginning of the wandering of the Jewish people – for the Torah, the wandering lasted for 40 years, but in a real way, it has never ended. We wanderContinue reading “Shabbat BaMidbar: Wilderness of Doubt”