Embracing Gratitude in Challenging Times

November 22, 2023

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 Steven Lebow. Here are some highlights from the months of October and November: Most recently, we hosted … Read more

Elul: Countdown to High Holy Days

August 21, 2023

It has been almost 2 full months since my last blogpost here, and I’m feeling remorse about having abandoned my writing practice for the summer. I will try to regain equilibrium in the new year of 5784. I’m still coming to terms with the fact that any improvements to my work-life balance will have come incrementally during the next 8 weeks. We’ve reached the month of Elul in the Jewish calendar, less … Read more

This Week on Bayit’s Builders Blog

June 28, 2023

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 reflection for the blog, I returned to a topic I’d written about in November, Jewish burial practices: … Read more

God Bless This Mess

June 15, 2023

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 a teenager. Was I expressing my innermost feelings, rebelling against my parents, or merely asserting order over … Read more

Four Rivers

May 24, 2023

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 of the Delaware, I’m reminded of four rivers in Genesis—the Pishon, the Gihon, the Tigris and the … Read more

Torah and Trails with Teens

May 12, 2023

“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 Diamond. This beautiful book of photographs and inspirational Jewish wisdom was just what I needed to plan … Read more

Slow down, you’re doing fine

May 5, 2023

I was in a terrible rush yesterday morning when I was emptying the dishwasher. I had my reasons. I needed to reload it with dirty dishes before taking the dog out, before rushing to school, before…well, you get the idea.  I’d spent all week catching up from having been out of town last weekend, and from having been so busy before I went out of town, and from…well, you get the idea. … Read more

Poetry and the Creative Mind

April 27, 2023

Last night, I attended the live broadcast of the 20th annual Poetry & the Creative Mind  gala of the Academy of American Poets. This celebration o f National Poetry Month doubles as a fundraiser to help underwrite the Academy’s education programs, which provide 60,000 K-12 classroom teachers each year with free resources—including online lesson plans—to inspire students to read and write poetry. I count myself as both a teacher and student who … Read more

This Week on the Builders Blog: Blessings for Earth Day

April 21, 2023

I’m delighted to have contributed to Bayit’s Builders Blog this week. The piece tells the story of the creation of “The Colors of Earthlight: A Reflection for Earth Day 2023/Rosh Hodesh Iyyar,” a resource that was co-created and distributed by members of the Advisory Board of the Jewish Climate Action Network of Georgia (JCAN-GA). I encourage you to read the blog post, which includes a link to a PDF of “The Colors … Read more

All We Need

April 14, 2023

The Passover dishes are packed away for next year. Tablecloths and napkins—stains painstakingly removed—wait patiently in their basket until later this afternoon, when they’ll be returned to the table for Shabbat dinner. Sweet memories of our daughter’s whirlwind visit and my school break spent connecting with family and friends coalesce into Our Passover Story 2023, the year we reenacted our 2019 family photograph on the porch before we sat down to tell … Read more