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

When Circuitous Paths are the Right Ones

יַֽנְחֵנִי בְמַעְגְּלֵי־צֶדֶק You guide me on circuitous paths… I was at the top of my professional game in the fall of 2018: Serving as the Dean of Jewish Studies and on the Academic Leadership Team at The Weber School, beginning my second decade of teaching other people’s teenagers, engaging in meaningful advocacy work for social … 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

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

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

Inhabiting Another World

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 … Read more