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  • Article

    Shevirah — Brokenness

    Smashing the tablets on the slopes of Sinai, Moses chooses an imperfect, unpredictable people over inviolable, unchanging tablets and initiates the sacred dynamic of rewriting Torah in every generation.

  • Interview

    How Religion and Spirituality Affect Divorce

    Listen to Dini on the Divorce etc podcast. It’s a sad fact that many people don’t get divorced, or feel more shame and judgment about their divorce, based on their religious and cultural beliefs. Divorce doesn’t just affect you and your partner and children…it affects all of your loved ones in some way – siblings, parents, and friends. How do you navigate the feelings of letting other people down? Of feeling like you’re doing something that your religion or culture frowns upon? Of feeling like you’re doing something wrong by getting divorced and will be judged or shunned because of it? This is a powerful and uplifting conversation with Rabbi Adina Lewittes all about spirituality and divorce and the ways to serve yourself best during what is one of the most difficult times of your life

  • Article

    And Now…

    Far from the anticipated euphoria of Hillary Clinton shattering the proverbial glass ceiling, our country awoke to a nation deeply, dangerously splintered. The shards are not only symbolic of political fragmentation, but of moral and ethical dissension that can threaten our citizens’ hard-won equality and dignity — core American, and Jewish, values.

  • Article

    The Dangers of Thanksgiving

    This Thanksgiving, like every other, families will gather around their tables and express gratitude for all the blessings that fill their lives, for all the good that exists in the world. We may need a reminder even more so this year. There is indeed much for which to be grateful, and saying “Thank You” – in whatever language or idiom, to whatever God or spirit, and to one another — are two of the holiest words we can utter.

  • Article

    Jerusalem is a thriving city. Why on Tisha B’Av do we mourn its destruction?

    Fasting and praying for 25  hours — many of them sweltering — isn’t anyone’s idea of summer vacation. But that’s not the only reason Tisha B’Av (the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, which begins Saturday night at sundown) is among the least observed days on the Jewish calendar, despite its status of a “major” fast day shared only with Yom Kippur.

  • Article

    The Miracle in Sarah’s Tent

    In this week’s Torah portion we encounter Isaac deep in mourning for his mother, Sarah. The Rabbis suggest he was inconsolable until he met his future wife, Rebecca.

  • Article

    Travel as a Spiritual Practice

    It was a journey within a journey. We toured Sicily while also making the metaphorical and spiritual voyage from Egypt to Sinai during the 49 days of the Omer, the ritual counting between Passover and Shavuot. Each night, a traveler on my 2015 tour of Sicily and Calabria would recite the Omer blessing and offer a reflection about that day’s experiences or the next day’s plan, linking our own stories to the larger one around us.

  • Article

    The Perfection of Imperfection (Parashat Chukat)

    The author argues that the details of this ritual defy rational explanation. She reviews the different interpretations that ancient scholars came up with to understand this ritual, ultimately arguing that as the “perfect” cow is slaughtered and destroys any false sense of our own perfection, also destroyed is the notion of any single definition of perfection towards which any of us might strive.

  • Article

    It’s Time For Conservative Jews To Embrace Sexual Fluidity

    “Homosexuality, Human Dignity and Halakhah” was approved by the Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS) on December 6, 2006, representing a watershed moment for the Conservative Movement. Rigorous scholarship, moral clarity and rabbinic courage provided a compassionate religious response to a complex matter, epitomizing the ethical and redemptive power of halakhah. However, despite wide recognition, its finer details are often ignored or misunderstood, posing ongoing challenges for the lives it impacts, especially gay men and bisexuals.

  • Article

    Five Jewish Gifts for Valentine’s Day

    To give chocolate hearts and mushy cards, or not to give? For some, it’s a bold prospect, taking the relationship to another level. For others, it’s a question of Jewish identity and assimilation: is Valentine’s Day simply an innocuous American holiday or is it a Christian holiday that Jews should resist? I think our time would be far more wisely spent thinking about what our tradition has to say about love and using Valentine’s Day as a prompt, however you mark it (or not), to recommit to loving Jewishly –our spouses, siblings, parents, children, friends, colleagues, and others who capture our hearts. Though there are a variety of loves in life, our singular tradition has much to say about how to love them all.

  • Article

    Re-Membering: Moral Complexity as the Antidote to Moral Confusion

    While I was in Israel for a month to celebrate Pesach with my daughter, Nomi, who’s studying in Jerusalem, I had the added gift of being there for what some call the modern Jewish calendar’s three High Holy Days — Yom Hashoah v’HaGevurah, Yom HaZikaron, and Yom Ha’Atzmaut. On each of these days everyone goes to a tekes, or ceremony, whether it’s an official one at the Kotel or Rabin Square, or a smaller, community-based one. Israel does commemorative rituals well; they’re evocative, dignified, and brief. Some also are controversial. But it’s not their content that’s so troubling, it’s the behavior of those who feel it is.

  • Article

    Shavuot is about breaking the tablets, and putting them back together

    The festival of Shavuot, which begins at sundown May 30, focuses on Moses receiving the tablets of the law. But an even more fascinating part of the story is when he shatters them. In an astounding midrash, or rabbinic commentary, Moses’ act is portrayed as the epitome of loyalty to the people, but also teaches God about community and continuity.

  • Article

    Intermarriage, I Do!

    It was an intimate wedding at our local park where we take the dogs to run and where we throw our crusted sins into the stream each year on Rosh Hashanah. Between the couple, some of their friends and relatives, my wife, and me, we numbered just 10.

  • Article

    Hate Also Kills

    It’s hard explaining to my children why some people seek to do them harm simply because they’re Jews. It’s harder still that I can’t protect them from the violent hatred that stalks the streets of Jerusalem, Paris, and even New York. But they suffer no naiveté when it comes to the blessings and burdens of being Jewish.

  • Article

    Remembrance of Sam Harel Price

    On Nov 10, 2013, an email arrived in my inbox from Sam Price asking about shadowing me for a month to learn about the life of a rabbi, a life Sam thought about pursuing for herself. The Sam I met and spent a month with in January 2014 and built a friendship with over the next two years was bright and inquisitive, thoughtful and earnest; someone who could envision the future and her place in it.