An Irish Blessing for Tough Times

While preparing dinner, mom asked her child to go into the pantry and fetch a can of tomato soup. But the little boy wouldn’t go in alone, saying, “It’s dark in there. I’m scared.” To which his mom responded, “God…

As The Trump Presidency Begins

For our Shabbat Evening Service at Woodlands Community Temple (Jan 20, 2017), Inauguration Day, we invited congregants to write iyyunim (directed thoughts about a number of prayers) on the theme of “America: As the Trump Presidency Begins.” The assignment was…

Can You Hear Me Now?

For four weeks, the Torah is fairly consumed with the story of Joseph and his brothers. That’s a lot of Torah time. Abraham, who’s probably the Torah’s 2nd biggest superstar, only get three weeks of parashiyot. And Moses, the undisputed…

Holding On or Letting Go

In 1963, the front door – meaning, the screen door – of my home rarely closed completely. We never had to use the handle because a push anywhere would cause the door to open. In colder months, the screen was…

Thoughts for a New Year

In 1893, a a 17-day “Parliament of the World’s Religions” was held in Chicago, Illinois. At the convocation’s opening day events on September 11, a young man named Swami Vivekananda, representing the nation of India as well as the Hindu…

What's Up With Elul?

Ludwig van Beethoven lived from 1770 to 1827. During those fifty-seven years, he composed a ton of music. When he was 28, in a fit of rage he fell and stood up to discover he’d gone deaf. For twenty-nine more…

The Wilderness of Our Lives

This week’s parasha is Re’eh. It comprises chapters 11-16 in Deuteronomy, and takes place at the end of the forty years in the wilderness. Moses is preparing the Israelites for life in the Promised Land, reminding them of God’s most…

Reflecting on the 1st Yahrzeit of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC

Orlando. Dallas. Baton Rouge. So many acts of gun violence since, a little more than a year ago, on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof entered the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, spent an hour with the community there…

Serakh bat Asher: To Grasp Fame Without Doing Famous Things

At Woodlands, we’re following Israel’s schedule of Torah readings. So this week, it’s Pinkhas. The rest of you can get a jump on next week. There’s a reason rabbis seem to only speak about the character of Pinkhas when this…

Living in the Wake of Tragedy

Yesterday, two neighborhood kids came riding by on bicycles. A few minutes later, they came back the other way. A short time after that, they passed by a third time. It wasn’t until the fourth pass that I noticed one of…