Words, and Meanings

Although this column will be sent out on Friday the 29th, it’s being written on Wednesday, about eight hours before the beginning of the observance of Yom HaShoah (“Holocaust Remembrance Day”). As with most things, the choice of language is not merely important; it provides insight into our values. I circled Holocaust Remembrance Day within quotation marks […]

Nesting

That long sigh some of you may have heard this week was the sound I released as I – finally – moved into my new office in the JCC. Not that I’ve minded working out of an apartment on a sturdy-and-lightweight (it says so in the ad) fold-up table from Costco, but there’s just something […]

The Schools We Really Want

It’s nearly impossible to keep up with the information flow today; staying current with articles and thought pieces and journal entries (I’m not even including old-school, real live books) is like drinking from a firehose – you can drown in what is actually a life-sustaining act. So I was particularly glad that a recent piece […]

A bit different – but completely the same

Three weeks and three different shuls – three different siddurim, three very different darshanim (the person delivering the commentary on the weekly parasha), three equally carb-heavy (but tasty) Kiddush spreads. I love feeling attached and connected to a particular synagogue community; there’s nothing like seeing people so often that they become your second family. At the same time, for years I’ve enjoyed a […]

Assume nothing.

I can now say that I’ve experienced Phoenician and Tucsonian Shabbatot (I hope I have those Arizonan adjectives right). A wonderful family and a lovely Shabbat dinner were my reward for a pretty easy drive (I’m still a Californian at heart – two hours on the highway is just a warmup). As the house wasn’t exactly situated in the […]

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.” […]

Reality

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 […]

Teachers

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 […]