A Complete Tapestry (And Thank You for the Compliment)

As compliments go, it’s going to rank as one of my all-time favorites, and I don’t even think he realized how much it meant to me. While the twenty-five who attended our recent event for prospective students were having a terrific time bowling and laser-tagging (is that a verb?), I had a series of conversations […]

The Strongest Response

Like most of my colleagues and friends who take Jewish education seriously, I’m loathe to push the antisemitism button. I remember well-intentioned teachers and youth group advisors who concocted an emotionally lethal combination of guilt and fear, somehow imagining that our response would be an enthusiastic embrace of Jewish identity, lest we “let Hitler win.” […]


Confession: just because I read 400-page histories of religion (with footnotes!), does not mean that I don’t enjoy the occasional “reality” TV show. Recently (and I think I’m a little late to the party) I’ve stumbled upon Below Deck, a series on the Bravo Channel. For the three or four of you who haven’t seen the […]


Seth Rudetsky – Judy Davis – Mrs. Green – Yoni Shultz. If any of those names ring a bell with you, you’re either an unapologetic listener to the Broadway channel on Sirius XM, an in-the-weeds fan of pop music – or you’ve been doing some digging into my personal background. Seth Rudetsky hosts a program […]

Villages and Nations

It was brilliant – it was complicated – it was messy. It was also notoriously unsuccessful – and, thank Gd, it was a glorious success. In the years before the founding of the Third Jewish Commonwealth (aka, Israel), the divide between Haredim (what some call “Ultra-Orthodox” today) and secular Zionists was becoming more pronounced. The religious communities […]

Absolutely Extraordinary

I’d like to think that Herzl would have ordered the “Nastia” (Maker’s Mark Bourbon, spiced silan (date honey), lemon juice, za’atar and thyme), but I’m not sure if A.D. Gordon (the godfather of labor Zionism) would have chosen the “Raz” (with white negrita rum and a ginger infusion) or the “Meteora” (rye, Benedictine, honey and […]

Words – and More

It’s not a trick question: asked to name the two profoundly important twentieth century events in the history of the Jewish people, most even minimally connected and engaged would provide the same response: the shoah and the founding of the modern state of Israel. (More on why I stubbornly insist on “shoah” as opposed to “holocaust” later.) We could […]

Future Reunions

Even on Zoom, with everyone snuggled in their respective squares, it was a welcome, moving (virtual) reunion. It had been a bit over fifteen years since we spent two very – very – intense years together of study and leadership training and mentoring; five national mentors, fifteen “mentees” (three apiece), two two-week summer seminars, Shabatonim sandwiched between them. Along […]