Committing to Memory

Committing to Memory

Last weekend, Ellen and I traveled northward to Buffalo where Ellen was officiating at the 2nd wedding ceremony of two very dear men who wanted to marry under the newly-legal auspices of New York State. We joined them on a…

Thoughts for a New Year

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?

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…

Thanks for Nothing (a Sukkot reflection)

Thanks for Nothing (a Sukkot reflection)

While procrastinating about writing for tonight, I watched what I thought was a pretty extraordinary and wonderful film called The Road Within. Released without much fanfare earlier this year, it’s about three teenagers – one with Tourette Syndrome, one with…

Elul: Preparing to Forgive ... Others, and Ourselves

Elul: Preparing to Forgive … Others, and Ourselves

The 19th century German poet and essayist Heinrich Heine once wrote, “All I ask is [for] a simple cottage, a decent bed, good food, some flowers in front of my window and a few trees beside my door. Then if…

Hanukkah Gelt ... Ever-So-Sweetly Fomenting Dissent

Hanukkah Gelt … Ever-So-Sweetly Fomenting Dissent

Let me tell you about Hanukkah in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the 1960s. Cincinnati is where I grew up. And at this time of year, lots of families, lots of Jewish families, including mine, had Christmas trees. Hanukkah was a candle-lighting…

Committed to Memory

Committed to Memory

Well, I took quite the stroll down memory lane this week. Ellen and I watched the film “Old Yeller” for the first time since I was maybe four years old. Fess Parker as the dad and Chuck Connors as the…

Jewish and American ... Couldn’t Be More Honored

Jewish and American … Couldn’t Be More Honored

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. I was six years old at the time of his death and while, unlike many Americans, I do not remember where I was when I learned about…

A Grocer's Tale

A Grocer’s Tale

What’s the story you want your life to tell? Each year, on Shavuot, we retell our people’s narrative of enslavement, liberation, desert wandering, and revelation at Mount Sinai. Whether we believe it really happened or not, it’s an extraordinary story….

On "Human Rights Shabbat," the Night Before Hanukkah

On “Human Rights Shabbat,” the Night Before Hanukkah

As we look toward lighting our first Hanukkah candle tomorrow evening, I have a story to share with you. Oddly, it’s a Passover story. But the message is perfect for tonight. And as an added plus, it gets us going…