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 thisibelieve.org (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

Inhabiting Another World

February 28, 2023

Homegoing and Transcendent Kingdom, both by Yaa Gyasi, a celebrated young author. The Days of Afrekete, by Asali Solomon, a professor of English at Haverford College. I wasn’t intentionally reading these books because it was Black History Month. But when I realized that I’d read three books by Black women in the first three weeks of February, I decided to investigate the origins of this month-long celebration of the achievements and contributions … Read more

RFRA Redux Part 2

February 24, 2023

My Remarks (more or less) at the Georgia State Capitol on February 22, 2023 – Rosh Hodesh Adar 5783: I have stood here before, with colleagues and friends; it is a privilege to stand here again and teach a central principle of my faith, a core Jewish value, rooted in the Hebrew Bible and known in over fifty world religions as the Golden Rule:  וְאָֽהַבְתָּ֥ לְרֵעֲךָ֖ כָּמ֑וֹךָ Love your neighbor as yourself. … Read more