Prayers Unanswered

בָּ֭עֶרֶב יָלִ֥ין בֶּ֗כִי וְלַבֹּ֥קֶר רִנָּֽה Tears may linger when night falls, but joy arrives with the dawn. (Psalms 30:6) My list of those in need of healing grows longer as the days get shorter. I wake up in the dark, sometime between 5:15 and 5:30 AM, and wonder at the Psalmist’s conviction. Each day I arrive … Read more

This week on Bayit’s Builders Blog

Bayit’s Builders Blog includes a weekly series that explores Torah through a lens of building and civic responsibility. I’m delighted to have contributed this week’s teaching about Jewish burial customs and how they both overlap with and diverge from the customs of Green burial. The illustration was created by Steve Silbert, who is a member … Read more

Season of Our Birthdays

“MAY YOU LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES.” —[erroneously attributed to an] ancient Chinese curse It’s been quite an interesting season leading up to my birthday. And I mean that in the way people use this word as a euphemism for unpleasant. But it hasn’t been entirely unpleasant. Maybe it’s because I’m a Libra that I strive … Read more

Season of Our Joy

Atlanta Pride Parade 2022 (from top left): MACoM at Pride, Rabbis at Pride, Teachers at Pride, Pride Manicure, SOJOURN float leads the way, Dancing Unicorn poses with Rabbi.   Early Sunday morning: I take the challah dough out of the fridge where it has been rising slowly overnight. I have just enough time to shape … Read more

The Cycle of Return

Last week I posted a teaching about teshuvah, quoting from Yaacov David Shulman’s translation of HaRav Kook’s Lights of Teshuvah. I’d like to add a few more thoughts here, beginning with HaRav Kook’s idea that teshuvah itself existed before the world was created:  התשובה קדמה לעולם “Teshuvah preceded the world.” I’ve been pondering the meaning … Read more

Almost Forty Days

How long does it take to return? That depends… It’s been almost forty days since I set my sights on teshuvah. Even before the first of the month of Elul, when we begin sounding the shofar to awaken us to return, I’ve been preparing for the final shofar blast at the conclusion of Yom Kippur, … Read more

L’shanah Tovah!

Today is the 936th day of March 2020. Today is the 27th day of Elul 5782. I can’t help but notice the discrepancy between the COVID calendar and the Jewish calendar. The former displays a monotonous repetition, each day like the previous one with no productive forward motion. We are stuck in time. Or, perhaps, … Read more

Back to School

Here in the southeast we started school over a month ago, so this is a bit of a belated Back to School post. I waited until I could share some news from our first interdisciplinary lessons in Spanish 3, which we completed earlier this week. You may recall from a post from fall 2021 that … Read more