At some point in his or her career, every member of the clergy is called on to defend the efficacy of organized religion as a force for good.
Doing the right thing paid off at the bottom line. How often can you say that about doing a mitzvah?
It is a truth universally acknowledged that it can be difficult to be Jewish at Christmas time. It has seeped into North American cultural consciousness so thoroughly that South Park even wrote a song about it, complete with trademark expletives.
My 6-year-old son recently staged a one-man play in our kitchen. It had a simple plot – a mom with her face buried in her phone, tapping away at the keys while a kid tries to get her attention. “Tap, tap, tap… Mom. Mom. Mom…. tap, tap, tap. Mom, Mom, Mom. Tap, tap, tap. MOM! MOM!
Even though “Crossing Delancy’s” Sam the Pickle Man and Tu BiShvat both are somewhat predictable, they also are filled with wisdom, poetry, hope, and faith.
Growing up, my family didn’t usually celebrate Shabbat at home. Only when I went away to college did Shabbat become truly meaningful.
May each of us, at this Tu BiShvat – the New Year of the Trees – refuse to be complacent in accepting the ills and sorrows of our lives.
In my past life as a cantor in Los Angeles, I was always facilitating the concept of “Jewish time” for others. Here in Jerusalem, it just sort of happens on its own.
In college, being outdoors and celebrating the natural world was an important part of my spirituality, so I sought out hints that other Jews felt the same way.