After the Deluge

After the Deluge

Of all the stories in the Torah, Noah’s is perhaps the most loved of them all. After all, who can resist the image of all those furry, adorable creatures ascending into the Ark, two by two, and living in harmonious…

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…

“Come Then, Put A Curse Upon This People”

“Come Then, Put A Curse Upon This People”

In this week’s parasha, Balak (Number 22-25), we read of the king of Moav who, seeing what Israel did to the Amorites (asking permission to pass through their land and, refused, wiped them out), resolves to avoid that happening to…

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…

The Wilderness of Our Lives

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

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

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…

Rewards and Blessings

Rewards and Blessings

Maybe two years ago, Tyler Levan, who’s now nine years old, walked into his parents’ bedroom shortly after they’d tucked him and said, “I’m afraid of the monsters and bears.” Don, Tyler’s dad, then did what his father had done…

Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing

Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing

Zeke and May had been married for over seventy years. Zeke was 101 years old and his wife was 99. One hot afternoon, as they sat together on their front porch rocking away, the old man, who was nearly deaf,…

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…