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Royal wedding cookies on a plate with the British flag in the background

So darling, darling Stand by me, oh, stand by me Oh stand, stand by me, Stand by me -- Ben E. King

Though I’m not a particularly engaged Royals fan (no slight to Kansas City baseball aficionados), I did record and watch much of this past weekend’s nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The wedding was lovely and the coverage fascinating.

Almost as colorful as the Queen Mother’s suit were the vibrant outfits, fascinators, and enthusiasm evident throughout the chapel. Typical of many weddings, family and friends had gathered to bask in the aura...

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Small boy holding empty bowl signifying hunger

This week’s Torah portion, Naso, is about blessings and offerings.

Upon the creation of the Tabernacle, God instructs Moses to share God’s blessing with the people of Israel. In one of the most famous passages of Torah, God outlines the Priestly Blessing, which we still recite today:

May God bless you and protect you May God cause God’s face to shine upon you, and may God be good to you May God lift up God’s face to you and grant you peace.

In return, the Levite clans offer a...

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Wheat growing in a field; blue sky and white clouds above

No story in the Bible demonstrates more fully than the Book of Ruth the extraordinary power of love, channeled as hesed– kindness or generosity – that goes beyond the expected obligation.

No book better models what it means to love the stranger and what it means to demonstrate hesed in a way that not only repairs a ruptured family history but also creates a community into which one wants to bring a child.

Megillat Ruth (the Scroll of Ruth) is about kindness and audacity. Through its depiction of Ruth, her actions and influence, the book illustrates just how one can...

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Small candles lit in the shape of a heart

On a bus-stop bench in my Jerusalem neighborhood this morning, a couple in Muslim garb spoke softly to each other. On the same bench, an ultra-Orthodox man sat studying Talmud. Signs of hope for peace, for coexistence, are abundant in this city. They’ve been overwhelmed by images and emotions from actions at the Gaza border fence. What do we say to God in these moments of anguish? We cry in pain, we beseech heaven with our lamentations, and we beseech each other with our wailing. We ask, isn’t there a better way?

Crafted to avoid politics or accusation, it’s for everyone who has...

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Torah text with silver had and tallit fringes

“Bring it close!” I urge my students, reading from the prayer book familiar words from the Torah service: “It is a tree of life to those who hold fast to it.” 

They look at me with a mix of wonder, uncertainty and straight-out stress. “Do what?!”

“Write a d’var Torah– a short interpretation of Torah. Yes, really. Choose a piece of Torah that speaks to you or your life and write about it. Tell us what speaks to you personally!”

And so, the process unfolds, replete with worried looks, Google documents emailed from an octogenarian, encouragement to talk to children and...

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