Bah Humbug and Amazing Grace: Christmas for Jews

“Merry Christmas,” we’ve heard for weeks. For Jews living in predominantly Christian societies, Christmas evokes responses ranging from joy to alienation. Some Jews encounter Christmas as a civic winter holiday for all, when grace and good… Continue reading

Pilgrim’s Progress: Thanksgiving, Plymouth Rock and the House of God

Thanksgiving beckons loved ones together to count blessings and honor journeys toward freedom and plenty. Whether our ancestors traveled to these shores from afar or already resided here, our forebears began new lives somewhere else.… Continue reading

The Jewish Duty to Vote

Election Day in the U.S. is coming. How will being Jewish shape your choice whether to vote? This November, Americans will elect a new 435-member House of Representatives, a third of the Senate, 36… Continue reading

Yom Kippur’s Circle Dance

Yom Kippur conjures solemnity and foreboding for many Jews. Ritual fasting, abstinence, penitence, and rehearsing for death evolved as core Yom Kippur tradition to rivet and purify the soul. Hidden from most moderns,… Continue reading

Rosh Hashanah 5775/2014: The Light of Belonging

Barcheinu Avinu kulanu k’echad; Kulanu k’echad b’or panecha. Bless us all together, Creator, Protector; Bless us all forever with radiance and grace. Barcheinu Avinu (bless us, our Creator and Protector) kulanu (all of… Continue reading

God at the Speed of Life

Most moderns live life on the run. You probably don’t need any reminder, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average American claims just 17 minutes per day to relax and… Continue reading

The Other Cries of War and Peace

About me: I’m a judicial officer. I’ve served on presidential and gubernatorial campaigns, and as counsel to my state Senate. I earned one academic degree in international relations, a second in public law and a third… Continue reading

Rosh Hashanah 2013/5774: The Bridge from Fear to Joy

Kol haOlam kulo gesher tzar me’od (Our whole entire world is a narrow bridge)  V’ha’ikar, v’ha’ikar, lo l’fached klal (And the whole point, and the whole point, is not to fear) These words… Continue reading

A response to synagogue vandalism

I published this letter with Rabbi Shohama Harris Wiener after the January 13 vandalism of our Temple Beth-El of City Island (New York). At a recent gathering of rabbinical, cantorial and rabbinic pastor… Continue reading

Rosh Hashanah 2011/5772: Shanah, Shinui, Shoneh — Year, Change, Difference

Shanah tovah.  I hope your new year is dawning bright and sweet. It’s a particularly fitting time of year for getting back to basics – the essence of who we are and whom… Continue reading