When a close family friend died, an old stack of our letters reminded me how I had been a teacher to him, even as he had been one to me.
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I’ve come to the conclusion we need to change the date of Simchat Torah. Our Jewish festivals must be re-envisioned as inspirational community gatherings of joyful spiritual Jewish celebration. Every single festival needs to be a time of great community involvement and meaning.
Every year, the season of reflection and renewal is culminated by the celebration of Simchat Torah (literally “the rejoicing of the Torah”).
I did not have a typical Reform Movement upbringing, and would say that the three years I lived on an island in Alaska are probably most emblematic of that.
One favorite dish of the Ashkenazim that survived the move from the shtetl to North America was the hearty mushroom-potato-barley soup called krupnick.