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

I’m Gonna Find It

April 5, 2023

My Passover preparation began a few weeks ago, when I started thinking about—some might say perseverating over—the afikomen gift. In my defense, this is a reasonable concern as our family Seder will be attended by all three of our grown children, their plus-ones and friends from childhood, all of whom are independent, gainfully employed adults, most of whom will have to go to work early tomorrow morning. Two weeks ago they informed … Read more

This I Still Believe

March 21, 2023

“I believe in the soul of the underdog. The one who has to struggle for the victory, who learns that the challenges she overcomes to achieve it make it all the sweeter.” I wrote these words fifteen years ago, the opening lines in an essay for NPR’s “This I Believe” series. I was thinking about these words when Rebecca Stapel-Wax accepted the Michael Jay Kinsler Rainmaker Award at this year’s Purim Off … Read more

The Soul of the Underdog

March 17, 2023

Essay originally appeared at (2008)   I believe in the soul of the underdog. The one who has to struggle for the victory, who learns that the challenges she overcomes to achieve it make it all the sweeter. I believe in this soul’s journey because it has been my journey. My earliest Jewish memory consists of a Passover Seder in my grandparents’ Brooklyn apartment. The year was 1970, and our religious … Read more

Two Lifetimes

March 8, 2023

Every act of communication is a miracle of translation. —Ken Lui Today is a double-holiday: it’s International Women’s Day and Shushan Purim, or the 15th of Adar 5783, which in the Jewish calendar is when the holiday of Purim is celebrated in Jerusalem. Shushan Purim is also a special anniversary for me personally: Shushan Purim 5747, which corresponded to Monday, March 16, 1987, was the day I interviewed at the Jewish Theological … Read more