A prayer for those affected by Irma

God, please be with the rescue workers and keep them safe as they make heroic efforts in dangerous situations to rescue those in trouble. God, please be with everyone waiting to be rescued, keep them safe, and bring help to them soon. God, bless each and every person affected by this storm and surround them with Your love, protection, and …

Why Pharoah Is Like The Kardashians

This summer at URJ Camp OSRUI, I’m segel (faculty) for Tiferet, a program for budding artists. I wish I had gone when I was a kid! These middle school chanichim (campers) spend hours a day in studios pursuing their passion in music, dance, theater, visual arts or digital arts, under the guidance of talented specialists who are masters of their craft.

Reflections on the World Zionist Congress

I got back from Israel two weeks ago already. Everyone asks, “did you have a good trip?” They are excited to hear about my adventures and I desperately want to give them an uplifting and life-affirming response. But the truth is that it’s taken me a while to process everything I experienced. And it’s difficult to answer with the expected, “yes! What an amazing experience…I had such a good time!” My answer is more like, “well, things are crazy right now. The situation is upsetting. The congress was nuts. Yes, I was there when Bibi spoke. No, it didn’t really stand out to me at the time as all that crazy in the context of all the other crazy sounding things he said.”

When It Comes to the Middle East, It Can’t Be All Black and White

As a community, we feel deeply the recent acts of violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank. It is painful to see these senseless attacks being repeated day after day. Many of us feel both angry and sad as these events continue to unfold. As fears and tensions rise, the outcry is getting louder and the filters that keep discourse civil are being peeled away.

The Tikkun Middot Project for Nisan: Bitachon, Trust

Bitachon may be one of the most difficult middot to acquire. The Hebrew root for Bitachon is .ח.ט.ב which means to be at ease, to trust and to be confident. In modern Hebrew the word Bitachon also means security and thus the Misrad HaBitachon is the Defense Ministry and Bituach Leumi is the National Insurance system. In classic Jewish literature the ultimate source of this sense of security is God.

Tikkun Middot: Wonder, a book for our young adult congregants

Wonder is the story of ten year-old Auggie, who is born with a severe facial deformity. In Augie’s words, “whatever you imagine, it’s worst.” He is homeschooled for many years because of his ongoing need for extensive surgery and his parents’ fear about how other kids might treat him. When his parents decide it is time for him to experience a traditional school, he enters fifth grade, “like a lamb to the slaughter.”