On this Tu B’Av, may we all seek out those people who are on our team through despair and delight, who can forgive and seek forgiveness, who see us for who we truly are and support us on the journey to becoming whoever we will someday be. And if your Valentine’s Day candy stash has run out, send those you love a note of sweetness and gratitude instead. Happy Tu B’Av!
A common sentiment among Jewish-affiliated teens seems to be, after your b'nei mitzvah, religious school is over, right? Sure, you might come back for confirmation in a few years, but there's no real reason to stay involved. You're Jewish. You know that, your family knows that, and your friends know that. Staying involved is kind of a waste of time. Right? Actually, no. Even if you've had your b'nei mitzvah, there are benefits to staying involved with your Hebrew School and your religious education.
Whether it is a lucky bracelet or a hamsa keychain amulet, superstitions believed to bring good fortune or ward off the bad are almost universal. They are the inspirations for a provocative new art exhibition: Magical Thinking: Superstitions and Other Persistent Notions.
Tishah B'Av is a day of mourning, commemorating the destruction of the first and second Temples. In recent years, it's also a day to mourn other tragedies that have darkened Jewish history - the Romans putting down the Bar Kochba revolt, mass murders of Jewish communities during the Crusades, expulsions from England, France, and Spain in the Middle Ages, and the Holocaust.
For the past two years, it has felt like much of what we have valued was sinking and all we could do was watch and grieve. But if we really look back, we realize that there is so much we've learned.
As the sun sets on these long, hot summer days, plans begin to return to school. Buying new clothes and a backpack, but perhaps the most important transition is the one of the child walking into a new classroom and starting a new school year. It can be scary for them and for you!
We have lost one of the G'dolay ha'dor, one of the rabbinic giants of our time. Rabbi Dow Marmur's life reflected the triumphs and tragedy of 20th Century Jewish life, beginning in Poland on the eve of the Shoah to his last days in the State of Israel. He was truly brilliant, incisive, and witty, with unshakable integrity.
This Pride Month, NFTY North American Board members Daniella Abbott and Cameron Samuels joined HUC rabbinical student Kelly Whitehead to discuss how their trans and non-binary identities have influenced their attitude toward systems of oppressions in the wake of new legislation aimed at attacking queer identities.
As we reflect on the United States' Independence Day, I am mindful that democracy also takes commitment and practice. Democracy takes practice because it still is not accessible to all.
I love seeing how our students at Temple Shalom of Newton transform throughout the process of becoming BMitzvah. It's the end of my first year coordinating the BMitzvah program and my colleague Allison Lobron, an experienced leader in inclusion and social emotional learning, and I are hosting an end of year celebration for our BMitzvah students.