Reflections on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As we prepared for Shabbat at Temple Kol Emeth on Friday morning, our Director of Member Engagement, Cindy Livingston, polished up my monthly reflection with a beautiful banner and a new-and-improved title: Reflections from Rabbi Gottfried: The Power of Rereading I never used to reread books. And I didn’t understand why some people advocated for … Read more

When Circuitous Paths are the Right Ones

יַֽנְחֵנִי בְמַעְגְּלֵי־צֶדֶק You guide me on circuitous paths… I was at the top of my professional game in the fall of 2018: Serving as the Dean of Jewish Studies and on the Academic Leadership Team at The Weber School, beginning my second decade of teaching other people’s teenagers, engaging in meaningful advocacy work for social … Read more

Embracing Gratitude in Challenging Times

Well, a lot has happened in the past 45 days. I remain grateful to be able to serve my community at Temple Kol Emeth (TKE) in Marietta, GA, together with the strong and supportive professional team, caring and committed lay leadership, and two of the best rabbis I know: Rabbi-Educator Daniel Alter and Rabbi Emeritus … Read more

This Week on Bayit’s Builders Blog

The Death of Aaron, c. 1896-1902, by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (French, 1836-1902) or a follower I’m delighted to have contributed this week’s teaching to Bayit’s Builders Blog series that explores Torah through a lens of building and civic responsibility. Reading this week’s Torah portion, I found myself captivated by Numbers, Chapter 20. In my … Read more

God Bless This Mess

When I was a teenager, my bedroom was an unholy mess. Piles of books, notebooks, papers, record albums, clean clothes and dirty laundry inhabited every surface: from desk, dresser, nightstand and bed, to the wall-to-wall carpet, including under the bed and the closet floor. I’m not sure why I chose to live this way as … Read more

Four Rivers

Visiting friends in Philadelphia last month, I had occasion to drive across the Delaware River and was reminded of a relaxing afternoon I spent in an inner tube in this river nearly two years ago.  I wrote about the experience in my 5782 Rosh Hashanah Message in the Atlanta Jewish Times: “Riding the gentle rapids … Read more

Torah and Trails with Teens

“It is forbidden to live in a town that has no garden or greenery.” —Talmud Yerushalmi, Kiddushin 4:12 Preparing our final culture unit in Spanish 3 led me to a book on the bottom shelf, one I hadn’t used in a while: Torah and Trails: A Photographic Trail Guide Connecting Judaism with Nature by Margery … Read more