Jerusalem Old City and Mount of Olives at Night, Israel

Words Matter

I’d said the prayer a bunch of times before. But this morning, as the congregation recited a blessing for the state of Israel as a community, as my people’s safe haven, two words jumped out at me: eretz kadshenu. Land of our holiness, land of our sanctity. And as a word nerd, I was struck by the concept. The translation read Holy… Read more →



Today is That Day on the Jewish calendar when it all comes to pass. It’s the day when we take stock of how we’ve behaved, of our relationships, of our contributions, and we make amends, promise to do better, redirect. It’s a day when our tradition tells us to go without drink or food, to focus serious attention on a… Read more →

Live & Let Live

She’s always smiling, pouring coffee, bringing the dijon mustard before the regular customer even requests it. Leeza owns a popular breakfast joint near where my parents live, and she is a happy person, welcoming customers and asking how they are. Today, when Dan and I went in for an impromptu brunch, she wished us “a happy and healthy new year.”… Read more →

Hope Keeps Us Alive

A thousand people stood in the cavernous sanctuary, silent, facing the Israeli flag on a pedestal on the bimah. Light streamed in through skylights and side windows, the impressive sanctuary alit with the warm fall day that proved a perfect backdrop to our Rosh Hashanah reverence. And together, we sang in a foreign language about hope. Everyone seemed to know… Read more →