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Pair of hands holding two puzzle pieces

When I was a college freshman, I began embracing Judaism to reconnect to my Jewish ancestry. Although I was raised as a Christian, I come from a multi-ethnic background, which includes German-Jewish heritage. I found great joy in learning about Jewish culture, enjoying food and song over Kabbalat Shabbat, and bonding with my peers at Hillel. But despite my love of Judaism’s cultural and communal aspects, I couldn’t bring myself to fully acknowledge God.

I couldn’t get over the seemingly paradoxical nature of a loving...

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Small flat gift wrapped in light pink paper and decorated with a homemade bow and handmade card; pink and white ribbons and small cut-out hearts are in the background

February 13, 2017 – a day I’ll never forget. The day my life changed forever. I was completely taken by surprise as I became a member of a club in which I had no interest. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I heard words like “invasive,” “aggressive,” and “chemo.” I will never forget those moments.

I went through a year long treatment – chemo, surgery, and radiation. While the cancer was killed early on, I had a full year of treatment because of its aggressive nature, lest “one of those little suckers got away from us.” The treatment was brutal and for the first time in my life, I...

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The author, Phyllis Dorey, with two others in front of the closed ark on erev Rosh HaShanah in Lisbon, Portugal

Earlier this year, while I was diarising our summer cruise dates, I realised we would land in Lisbon the morning before Rosh HaShanah. I knew we had a Progressive/Reform k’hilah (community) there – Ohel Jakov – as I had had the pleasure of meeting some of the community members four years earlier.

I contacted their passionate leader and champion – Adriana de Souza – and arranged for us to join them...

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Shadows of a four person family cast upon a cement wall

Remember the feeling you had when you got on an airplane alone to study abroad, or when you packed up everything you owned and moved to a new city? All the emotions that might have come up for you - fear, excitement, trepidation -could very well have been Avram’s response to the famous line from the Torah portion of this year’s National Refugee ShabbatParashat Lech L'cha:

“Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I...

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Bedouin village

Sukkot ended last week and I was not displeased.

As an “avid indoorsman,” a term coined by Ben Fountain in his new book, Beautiful Country Burn Again: Democracy, Rebellion, and Revolution, Sukkot is my least favorite Jewish holiday. While one can imagine a beautiful sprawling sukkah filled with family, delicious food, and warm songs, their imagination...

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