What is God – Part 4: Creator

One of the most common metaphors we use to refer to God is “Creator.” God beheld the chaos and, with a breath and a word, creates the heavens and the earth, creates us and all that we know.

Do I believe that this is really what happened? No. But I also reject the choice presented by some atheists: either the stories are true as is or they are false, and therefore there is no God. My experiences are much more complex. I am moved by one of the meditations in the Gates of Prayer:

A Game Day Salad – Meatless Monday’s at Temple Sholom

As summer progresses and the temperatures start inching higher and higher the less likely I am to want to cook anything, especially after I have been working all day. Don’t get me wrong I love cooking, but sometimes it’s hard to motivate myself to make an actual meal just for myself and it’s even harder to find that motivation when the temperature is in the high 80s. During the hot summer months I often find myself looking for different salad recipes or attempting to create my own salads. For me salads are the perfect summer dinner. They are quick, easy, and don’t require standing over a hot stove on a warm summer night.

Why Belong to a Synagogue?

At a recent Friday night Service, we watched with joy as a little baby got a Hebrew name and as the rabbi blessed a couple about to be married. It reminded me of a column I wrote almost ten years ago for the D’Var. I thought I would share part of it again.

Why do you belong to a synagogue?

Because, if you don’t belong to a synagogue, someday your child or grandchild may ask you if they are Jewish or not, and it will break your heart.

You belong to a synagogue because someday –

Wednesday’s “Jewish Joke of the Day” – Evening Prayers

Evening Prayers
Young David was asked by his father to say the evening prayer but he realized he didn’t have his head covered.
He asked his little brother Henry to rest a hand on his head until prayers were over.
But after a few minutes Henry grew bored and took his hand off.
The father said, “This is important…put your hand back on his head!”
And Henry cried “Come on Dad… What am I? my brother’s kipah?”

Grillin’ Veggie Style – Meatless Mondays at Temple Sholom

For many of us, as we head into Summer, our thoughts turn to cookouts. In my family, this was especially the case, and I have distinct memories of my dad firing up the grill many times during the warm summer months. Sometimes he would do this for a larger family picnic like Memorial Day or the Fourth of July, but often we would grill out just on an ordinary night. Cooking and eating outside always made the meal feel special, even if we were just having hamburgers and hot dogs.

What is God – Part 3: God as a Metaphor

What is God – Part 3: God as a Metaphor

For part 1 go to http://www.sholomchicago.org/blog/what-is-god-part-1/
For part 2 go to http://www.sholomchicago.org/blog/what-is-god-part-2-is-god-a-person/
How hard is it for Jews to think of God in metaphorical terms? After all, we don’t even speak a name for this entity, instead using descriptions like Adonai, Elohim, Shehechinah. Yet, does God really demand that we think of Him as Lord? Or, as one book says about our use of Adonai, “It is we humans who ascribe lordship to God, out of our need for submission. Lordship is a projection from human society onto the mysterious, unknowable, divine Being.”

Our liturgies are filled, abundantly, with efforts to express our experiences of the holy through metaphor. Says a meditation from Gates of Prayer (p. 174):

L’Dor V’Dor – how does your past speak?

A couple of weeks ago I went to a luncheon at the Spertus Institute of Jewish Learning and Leadership with my colleague, Lisa Kaplan. As the theme of the event was L’Dor V’Dor, from generation to generation, people were encouraged to attend with their family and bring an heirloom that reminded them of their family history. Participants even had the chance to have their portrait taken with the heirloom they brought. In my photo, I was wearing my Great-Grandmother’s wedding ring. To me, this ring holds a great deal of sentimental value. My grandmother had given this ring to my mother and it was passed down to me. Someday I will likely give to a daughter of my own. It is the birthright of the women in our line – something that binds us all and holds our spirits together. I am so excited to send my mother a copy of that photo, and wish that she could have been there when it was taken.

Wednesday’s “Jewish Joke of the Day” – The Plotkin Diamond

Sylvia went to a charity event wearing abeautiful diamond the size of a pigeon egg. Everyone oo’d and ahhh’d over it. Finally, someone asked her about the diamond.

“This,” she said, “is not just any diamond.. this is the Plotkin Diamond.”

“Oooh” said an admirer, “is it famous?”

She said, “Oh, yes, the Plotkin diamond is very famous… and it comes with a terrible curse”

The nearest woman asked, “So, what’s the curse?”

“Plotkin.”