The Cycle of Return

October 6, 2022

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 of this phrase since first reading it two weeks ago. I believe it is related to Shulman’s definition of teshuvah … Read more

Almost Forty Days

September 30, 2022

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, thinking about where I want to be then. How I want to be then. As we begin Shabbat Shuvah, the … Read more

L’shanah Tovah!

September 22, 2022

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, time itself is stuck, like a broken watch. According to the Jewish calendar, we are nearly ready to usher in … Read more

Back to School

September 15, 2022

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 I spent last year working with my friend and colleague, Olivia Rocamora, co-creating interdisciplinary curricular units for two Spanish courses. This … Read more

Blood Moon

May 20, 2022

[photo credit: Jonah Gottfried]   Watching the Lunar Eclipse Voice Memo 1: In the last ten minutes, seeing how it’s slowly disappearing, I can only imagine how the ancient people felt when they saw this. They must have been terrified, or at the very least baffled, confused. What was happening?! It’s very eerie, spooky, Jonah said. Henry doesn’t understand why we’re sitting on the neighbor’s stoop outside in the middle of the night. Voice Memo … Read more

In Loving Memory of Eugene Friedman

May 13, 2022

“We live for seventy years, or eighty, if we are strong. Teach us how short our time is; let us know it in the depths of our souls.” I first met Eugene 32 years ago, when David and I were dating and I had completed 2 years of rabbinical school. I still remember him telling me that he wasn’t “religious.” Yet he was always respectful of my Jewish learning and personal observance. In those early … Read more

Beauty and Holiness

May 6, 2022

I’m guest blogging this week for two of my favorite Jewish homes, and I invite you to visit them: On Bayit Builders Blog you’ll find Magnifying Beauty: Tiferet and #ColorTheOmer which contains photographs and video artist statements of my four students’ work, as well as a link to my Artist Statement. Bayit’s Builders Blog is a go-to portal for Jewish ritual and spiritual innovation, design thought, and practical tools for Jewish life. If you’d like … Read more

Spiritual Coloring Book

April 28, 2022

What a busy week! After an extended Spring Break, we returned to school on Monday, nine days into the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot. During this period in the Jewish calendar, some Jews adopt the spiritual practice of Sefirat Ha-Omer, the counting of the days and weeks in anticipation of the upcoming festival.   This period in The Weber School calendar is also the beginning of a countdown to the end of the semester. With … Read more

On the Seventh Day

April 21, 2022

Passover preparations in our house begin on Rosh Hodesh Nisan and continue non-stop until the moment we begin the first seder. In 2020 and 2021, additional technological preparedness was required—including making sure our family who were quarantined outside of Metro Atlanta were able to join us on Zoom. But this year’s preparation took on a different flavor as I spent the last few weeks getting ready for the seventh day of Passover, which coincides with … Read more

Inviting Serah to the Seder

April 15, 2022

Tonight our family will gather with friends around the dining room table to begin the Passover seder. During the course of the evening, we’ll tell the story of our ancestors’ experience of being redeemed, reading from the haggadah, a book that includes blessings, songs, and stories compiled by rabbis over centuries. This year, we’re adding a new narrative voice to our seder, that of Seraḥ bat Asher. Seraḥ daughter of Asher, granddaughter of Jacob, is … Read more