Reflections on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As we prepared for Shabbat at Temple Kol Emeth on Friday morning, our Director of Member Engagement, Cindy Livingston, polished up my monthly reflection with a beautiful banner and a new-and-improved title: Reflections from Rabbi Gottfried: The Power of Rereading I never used to reread books. And I didn’t understand why some people advocated for … Read more

Embracing Gratitude in Challenging Times

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 … Read more

Poetry and the Creative Mind

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 … Read more

All We Need

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, … Read more

I’m Gonna Find It

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, … Read more

Two Lifetimes

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 … Read more

Persimmons and Willow Oaks

I was delighted to see friends from all around Metro Atlanta at the Tu B’Shevat tree planting in Wade Walker Park on Sunday, and honored to offer a teaching and kavanah, intention, before we began our work. While there isn’t a blessing to recite upon planting a tree, I shared Rebbe Nachman’s prayer (below). The … Read more

Janniversaries

It’s difficult to believe it’s been 3 weeks since I posted any news here. I can’t really explain why—I suppose I could offer the excuse that I have limited use of my “mouse hand,” but this would be disingenuous. The splint protecting my right CMC joint is definitely a help not a hindrance. Perhaps the … Read more