Morning Exercises: Prayer

March 24, 2019

On the Rabbis Without Borders blog, I continue my series of posts about my morning routine. This past week’s reflection is about prayer, specifically my singing of Psalms every morning: “I didn’t plan to return to the subject of poetry, or even that of prayer, in this blog post. But since waking up to the news of the horrific shooting in New Zealand on Friday, I’ve been doing quite a bit of … Read more

Morning Exercises: Movement

March 15, 2019

It’s always dark when the dogs wake me in the morning, and switching to Daylight Savings Time hasn’t changed anything. I’m not ready to rise, but dogs are creatures of habit and need to get moving in the morning. I have a few minutes between when they shake themselves awake and make their way to the front door. I use the time to turn on my phone flashlight, pull on my slip-on … Read more

Morning Exercises: Poetry

March 7, 2019

“If poets ruled the planet, we’d still be living in caves, and we wouldn’t care about anything except writing.” —Janet R. Kirchheimer This was just one quotable line from Janet’s response to an email I sent to her, in which I confessed that I’d been writing poetry to procrastinate grading papers and answering emails. Janet, the CLAL teaching fellow who manages the LEAP program, is a poet, so I knew she’d understand … Read more

Hidden Figures: Homeless in Suburbia

February 21, 2019

In my recent post on the Rabbis Without Borders blog, I reflect on what I learned during the 2019 Point-in-Time Homelessness Count. Although I volunteered for the first time in 2017, and I blogged about that experience, this time was different for me. Then, I was assigned to a team that covered a few square miles of Alpharetta, where I’d never been. This year, I stayed within a few miles of my home … Read more

Walk around the Block

February 14, 2019

“Our life is a walk in the night, we know not how great the distance to the dawn that awaits us. And the path is strewn with stumbling blocks and our bodies are grown tyrannous with weeping yet we lift our feet. We lift our feet.”  —Rachel Kadish in The Weight of Ink, p. 51 This morning the mourners will get up from sitting shiva and take a walk around the block. This … Read more

Wandering in the Desert

January 24, 2019

My recent post on the Rabbis Without Borders blog is a personal reflection on the spiritual journey I took in the desert in Arivaca, Arizona: Shortly after sunrise on the second morning of our visit at KBI’s retreat house, Father Pete Neely arrives to take us to Arivaca. There is frost on the windshield as we pile into our rental cars, but when we arrive at the Bueños Aires National Wildlife Refuge the … Read more

My Day in Court

January 17, 2019

Bearing witness in the federal courthouse in Tucson, I begin to understand how complicated the issue of immigration is. The court proceedings of Operation Streamline may be efficient, but there is nothing easy about observing the criminal prosecution of frightened, desperate people. In Nogales we learned about the criminalization of immigration. We heard about the desperation of migrants that traversed dangerous terrain and entered the U.S. to find safe haven and freedom, … Read more

Praying at the Wall

January 9, 2019

Before I built a wall I’d ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offence. Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That wants it down.  —Robert Frost We begin our walking tour of downtown Nogales at the DeConcini Port, before crossing an overpass and gazing at the lines of cars and trucks waiting to cross into the U.S. on … Read more

Hands on Fire

January 3, 2019

After parking our rental cars at the Shell gas station in Nogales, Arizona and walking across the border into Nogales, Sonora on the shoulder of the road, we arrive at the comedor (lit., dining room). At 9 a.m. the building is nearly empty, except for staff and volunteers wearing yellow vests, who are preparing the food and setting the tables that will soon be occupied by more than 100 migrants. I can’t … Read more

Mission on the Border

December 28, 2018

In my recent post on the Rabbis Without Borders blog, I share some stories from a recent immersion experience with the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales: We are a group of ten rabbis and educators, organized by Rabbis Without Borders colleague Charles Arian and hosted by a Catholic organization whose vision is humane, just, workable migration between the U.S. and Mexico. We adopt the language of their mission and strive to fulfill … Read more