Every Rock: The Art of Awe

Every Jewish house of worship echoes the iconic scene in this week’s Torah portion (Vayetze). Jacob takes a rock and places it under his head for a pillow. He dreams of a ladder… Continue reading

Of Challah-ween, Havdalah-ween and Yaakov Lanterns

If you’re reading this post during October, it’ll soon be Halloween – that great Jewish holiday. Yes, you read that right. (Well, sort of.) In no obvious sense is Halloween a Jewish holiday.… Continue reading

False Starts and the Art of Renewal

  Beginnings tend to be messy: ask anyone who’s ever given birth, tilled the soil, sculpted, composed, or built something to last. By their nature, beginnings tend to begin unformed and void, at… Continue reading

The Spirituality of Just Hanging Out (Shemini Atzeret Edition)

Sunday night (October 4, 2015) begins Shemini Atzeret, the last festival in the summer/fall Jewish holiday cycle. For many moderns, Shemini Atzeret is obscure, confusing or irrelevant – but investing ourselves in this holiday… Continue reading

Yom Kippur 2015 / 5776: “Who Would You Be if You Lost it All?”

G’mar chatimah tovah.  For every worthy hope and every healing you seek this year, may it be sealed for good. I want to share a true story about David Gregory, former host of… Continue reading

Rosh Hashanah 2015 / 5776 – Seeking the Face of God

Our theme for this year’s High Holy Day season is “Seeking,” drawn from Psalm 27, our musical anthem that’s a love song with God: You called to my heart: “Come seek My face… Continue reading

The divine dance of forgiveness

This weekend (September 4-5, 2015) traditionally brings the Selichot service of inner awareness and penitence in readiness for the High Holy Day journey of teshuvah (return, amends). There’s no more apt moment to spiritually… Continue reading

We have met the enemy

On September 10, 1813, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry led the U.S. Navy to victory in the pivotal Battle of Lake Erie, which turned the War of 1812 toward American advantage and ultimately preserved U.S. independence from… Continue reading

The Devil You Know

“Balaam and the Angel,” painting from Gustav Jaeger (1836). For all of Torah’s miracles large and small, the story of a talking donkey who sees an angel is perhaps Torah’s most magical and… Continue reading

A String Around Your Finger

For all the spiritual riches of religious tradition, sometimes we forget our spiritual essence – the spark of divinity we associate with each soul, the inherent Oneness connecting all things, the heightened reality hiding in plain sight. Our… Continue reading