A Funeral for a Friend

Dog funeral pet loss death

In my second year of rabbinic school, I was asked to officiate at the funeral of a friend’s dog. I am embarrassed to admit that I thought of the request as a bit foolish. I hadn’t officiated at a human being’s funeral yet and my first funeral was to be one of a dog? I wasn’t sure what Jewish law said on the matter. I wondered if I was acting in a sacrilegious manner.

Posted on July 20, 2016

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Meet Me at 10th Street


Tonight at 6 p.m. we will gather at the 10th Street entrance to Piedmont Park, in spiritual protest of police brutality and in honor of black lives. We will bring our “spiritual tools and gifts to usher in love, peace, and clarity for the road towards justice,” as the Facebook event page instructs. We will assemble in the park to share these gifts, to chant the words #BlackLivesMatter.

Posted on July 19, 2016

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Trusting in the Big Hands of a Gentle Giant

Hanan, Sana and Shaul

When the facilitator announced that we would be silently working in clay with our partners, I felt a bit of panic well up in my gut. “How could we decide what to create together without even a word of consultation?”, I thought to myself. But without missing a beat, before I even realize what is happening, Fadi’s big hands are molding the small block of clay that sits between us on the table. I am confused. “How can he start without telling me what he wants to make?” Ah yes, he cannot. No words.

Posted on July 18, 2016

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How My Writer’s Workshop Class was Hijacked by a Colleague

Rabbi Jason Miller Teaching at Kenyon College

This will be my final post for the Rabbis Without Borders blog as I have chosen to focus my time on some of my other writing opportunities. For my final post I intended to write about how critical the Rabbis Without Borders program has been to my rabbinate and my thinking in general about the future of Jewish communities. I certainly could have written about that two days ago and I would have articulated how Clal’s fellowship program has benefitted me in myriad ways and helped to expand my understanding of the “beyond borders” approach we religious leaders should be taking in 21st century Jewish life.

Posted on July 13, 2016

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A Kavannah on White Privilege

By Fibonacci Blue from Minnesota, USA - Black Lives Matter protest against St. Paul police brutality, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44807674

By Fibonacci Blue from Minnesota, USA – Black Lives Matter protest against St. Paul police brutality, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44807674

I see the sirens appear in my rearview mirror as if out of nowhere. I quickly scan the road ahead of me, looking for the errant motorist who was being pursued, but it is empty. It takes me a few seconds to realize that the police car was actually intended for me. Had I been speeding? Did I accidentally run through a stop sign? Panic sets in as I pull my car over to the side. Awash in adrenaline, my mind racing and my hands shaking, I barely hear the policeman when he demands my license and registration. I say a quick prayer for the registration and insurance information to still be in the glove compartment, which, thank God, they are. As I hand the materials over to the policeman, I ask him, politely, why he had pulled me over. He tells me that he saw me looking at my cellphone while I was driving.

Posted on July 12, 2016

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How to Fall on Your Face: The Spiritual Art of Leadership

029-moses-food-water 2

This post is for you if you ever felt small after receiving critique or challenge, or that a leadership burden is too heavy, or that no good deed goes unpunished. (Essentially, this post is for everyone.) And of course, this post is for me and my own roles in government, congregational life and a national nonprofit organization. If we teach what we most need to learn, then this post is especially for me.

Posted on July 7, 2016

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