Holding On or Letting Go

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

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…

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…

Living in the Wake of Tragedy

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…

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…

Jewish Learning Might Save Israel and the World!

Jewish Learning Might Save Israel and the World!

London has a new mayor. He’s a husband and a father, the son of a bus driver, and a Muslim. His name is Sadiq Khan. I’m pretty sure that “Sadiq” is related to “tzedek,” the Hebrew word for “justice.” Before becoming…

An Akhashverosh for Our Time?

An Akhashverosh for Our Time?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” That’s the first amendment to the United States Constitution. Thomas Jefferson called it “a wall of separation between church and state.” We Jews love…