Headed to your congregation's Independence Day-themed Shabbat oneg? Brighten your holiday buffet and celebrate Old Glory with this festive, healthy dessert. Kids will love helping to assemble it!
When I was a principal in Jewish day schools in the U.S., it was not uncommon for schools to outsource the teaching of certain difficult topics to outside contractors; e.g., drugs, bullying, sex education.
I assume this is still the case.
In American Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest, award-winning author Hannah Nordhaus treats us to a genealogical detective story that combines memoir, cultural history, and ghost hunting in her quest to discover the truth about her great-great-great-grandmother.
“I have a son with special needs. I would love to feel like there might be a place for him at Camp Harlam.” The words stood out to me on the page as if they were wrapped in neon lights.
I hired an ancestral DNA expert to analyze my Jewish blood but, frustrated with my demands for details, he sent a curt email I will never forget: “You’re either Jewish or you’re not,” he wrote. Maybe this search was as much about my faith as it was about my heritage. Maybe I really was a Jew at heart, too.
The scourge of gun violence is one that has affected so many of our neighbors, and we are commanded by Jewish tradition to act.
It was summer 2014, and Israel was at war. Tourists were sparse and so were volunteers. I was in a field outside Rehovot, picking daloriyot (butternut squash) alongside a dozen other visitors. And I was thinking of Ruth the Moabite.
In the Book of Ruth, which is read on Shavuot, Ruth and Naomi return to Bethlehem from their tragic sojourn in Moab, and Ruth goes to the fields to collect grain for herself and her mother-in-law. Leviticus (19:9-10 and 23:22) and Deuteronomy (24:19) state that the gleanings of the field belong to people who are poor, immigrants, orphans, or widows – and Ruth belongs to at least three of these categories. As a Moabite woman, whose husband died and who has arrived empty-handed in Bethlehem, Ruth is among the most vulnerable people in the land.
Recently, as I was leaving the sanctuary on Shabbat morning, a man who was a guest of the bar mitzvah family approached me. Warmly shaking my hand and thanking me for a “lovely service,” he asked several questions about the music I sang, during both the morning service and the Kabbalat Shabbat service the night before.
My little guy and his siblings, like so many children, are full of questions about God. All day, every day, their inquiring minds want to know: Where is God? Why is God? Who is God? And the most oft-heard question of all: Is God a boy or a girl? Or neither? Or both?