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Single lit candle against a dark background with light shimmer effect

When we’re gone, how do we want to be remembered? These words flew through my mind that January day when I read about the death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash. This is the worst kind of senseless tragedy, and my heart goes out to the victims’ families.

In The New York Times obituary for Bryant, Marc Stein called him "a mammoth figure almost from the moment he arrived” in the NBA, going on to say a great many deserved things about Bryant.


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The author and her mother

My mother left this life two years ago this month. She died on Shabbat Shirah. On the Sabbath when Moses and the children of Israel sang while Miriam the Prophet led everyone in dance after crossing the sea to freedom, my mother crossed her own personal Sea of Reeds to go home. Home was where she wanted to go; and home she went.

But first, she lived.

Musically, Ursula Marx was a squib between two generations of wizards: Her mother sang; her daughter sang. In her case, however, "singing voice" was an oxymoron. If notes were nickels, my blessed mother didn't have two to rub...

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Hands holding a mound of dirt and a small plant

When the Zionist movement was newly blossoming in the early 20th century, a prominent group of cultural-spiritual Zionists insisted that that it was not only Jews who would be saved by a return to the Land of Israel; Judaism itself had to be renewed as well. A return to the Land would inevitably impact the ways in which Judaism was expressed – not just in the Palestine, but in Jewish communities everywhere.

Therefore, one task of the pioneering olim (immigrants) was to infuse the Jewish calendar with new meaning.

The tens of thousands of pioneers who immigrated to the Land...

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Dried fruits in the supermarket in Jerusalem

It’s been a rough winter in Jerusalem: cold, windy, rainy. And although winter is Jerusalem isn’t as severe as the winters in New York, Boston, Chicago, or Minneapolis, there is something about Jerusalem that makes the rainy, windy winters feel more miserable than they actually are.

Maybe it’s the slippery stone sidewalks that run around the city. Or perhaps it’s that so many of Jerusalem’s homes are poorly insulated. Possibly, it could be that we who live in Jerusalem are used to nine months of glorious weather and the brief winter months, by comparison, seem unduly harsh....

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Rabbi Stephanie Alexander leads a Havdallah service behind the bimah with two others

Rabbi Stephanie M. Alexander received her undergraduate degree from Tulane University, and ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She has been the senior rabbi of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim (KKBE) in Charleston, S.C., since 2010, having previously served at Temple Beth El in Dubuque, IA, Temple Isaiah in Lexington, MA, and in the Union for Reform Judaism’s youth department.


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