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Black and white image of Cantor Katie Oringel teaching students outdoors in Israel with only her rainbow kippah appearing in color

An Israeli teen visiting Toronto recently told me, “It is easy to be Jewish in Israel but hard to be Reform. In Canada, it is hard to be Jewish but easy to be Reform.”

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately.

When I arrived in Toronto 10 years ago, wearing a kippah (head covering) was not part of my practice, nor did it seem to be for most women. I decided the best way to teach young women they could wear one was to begin to do so myself. In time, it became a reminder of the holiness of my work as clergy, from enjoying laser tag with youth group kids to...

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The author with Kim Wheatley, a member of Shawanaga First Nation

Certain Torah portions stand out as a timeless call for our people. Acharei Mot falls into this category of essential themes on which to reflect. After the death of his sons Nadav and Avihu, Aaron struggles deeply, striving to cope. He initially does so in silence, steadfastly present but unable to find the words to speak. Over time, we get to know Aaron and gain an appreciation for his cautious use of words. Sometimes it seems there really is nothing appropriate to say. In these instances, we too...

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Police car with people in the background

A prayer on behalf of the people of Sri Lanka following the Easter Sunday coordinated attack on three churches and three five-star hotels that killed and injured hundreds.

How can it be, That day of prayer, A day of reverence and love, A day of worship and communion, At the hand of killers, Can become a day of blood?

How can it be, That a day heralding the message Of peace on earth And forgiveness for all, At the hand of murderers, Can become a day of wailing in the streets?

Author of life, Man has turned vicious and cruel, Cutting down innocents in Sri Lanka With...

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Large elephant standing in tall grass against a bright blue sky

One afternoon last January, I took a walk alone so that I could spend time with the elephants. I was in midst of my week-long volunteer adventure at Elephant Nature Park, a nature reserve outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand, that spans more than 300 acres and houses rescued Asian elephants.

Asian elephants are frequently used in the tourist industry, illegal logging, and in street begging. In order to get them to safely interact with humans, elephants are snatched from their mothers in infancy and subjected to an unnatural and abusive...

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Aerial view of an empty chair at a wooden table

When we gather on April 19 and 20 to mark the first two nights of Passover, we will pray. And we will ask aloud: What makes this year’s seders different from all others?

These two nights will mark the first seders since two African-American individuals were killed at a grocery store parking lot simply because of their race; their murderer wanted to shoot up a church.

What makes these seders different from last year’s?

These two seders will be the first since 11 people were killed in a Pittsburgh synagogue simply because they were Jewish.

What makes this year...

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