Judaism was so unfamiliar to my son that he was wary of my Hanukkah gift. I felt as though, at such a young age, he was choosing to shun my religion, to identify with Christianity. Of course, if he chooses to identify with either religion later in life, that decision will be his own – but for now, I need to at least give Judaism a fighting chance.
Recently, I took my b’nai mitzvah students to the Knesset to see how liberal Jewish values are rooted in tradition and can inform Israel’s public policy decisions.
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.
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.
The wind and the smell of smoke woke us. We stumbled out of bed, joining neighbors in the cul-de-sac to stare at the red glow lighting up the hills behind our houses.