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

Torah and Trails with Teens

“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 … Read more

Love your student as yourself

You’ve probably heard the adage that elementary school teachers love children, high school teachers love their subject, and university professors love themselves. I suppose there’s a kernel of truth to this, but I’m going to push back a bit and suggest that it’s even more important for high school and university teachers to love our … Read more

Back to School

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 … Read more

Beauty and Holiness

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 … Read more

Spiritual Coloring Book

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 … Read more

On the Seventh Day

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 … Read more

Inviting Serah to the Seder

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 … Read more

Six Months Later

In early June, I began to consider abandoning my Reading Challenge goal of reading 54 books in 2021. My mind was consumed by COVID concerns and too distracted to read an entire book for pleasure. Other than reading to prepare for classes and book club, I mostly leafed through magazines during the first 6 months … Read more