Summer is here. The sun is high and hot, the days are long. All I want to do is sit back and relax with a good book. What to read? –Nothing too weighty but still something that will keep my interest. I asked around and these are the summer reads my rabbi friends recommend and my notes on why they make my list! Let me know if you have others I should add to my list.
The summer months usher in vacations from school and shul. We tend to lose the weekly Torah portions from Shavuot (early June) through the High Holy Days. Thus we lose the dog days of the books of Numbers and Deuteronomy; Israel’s trudging through the wilderness in search of the Promised Land. In doing so, we also lose some of the most valuable lessons brought about from the narrative.
I’m getting married next week. Most of the wedding planning is done (but, oy, the table assignments, they continue to plague me!) and now the fun conversations are not about planning a one-day event, but rather planning the rest of our lives together.
Anyone who has ever traveled has, at least once in their life, gotten lost. We all know that sinking feeling – that moment when we realize that we missed a turn, or that the directions were faulty, or that we shouldn’t have relied on our memory. When it comes to our lives, though, there’s another, deeper way we get often find ourselves lost.
I have felt particularly blessed lately. I just celebrated 10 years of service at my congregation. Thankfully, these 10 years have been replete with depth of connection, spiritual growth, and accomplishment for both the synagogue and me. Indeed, we feel blessed and so we celebrated and renewed the vows of our covenantal connection.
Are you one of those people who envies teachers for having summers off? It’s okay…I used to be like you, because I was one of those teachers who worked every summer at camp. I learned quickly that teaching hours at camp are even more intense than in school, and when the camp session ended I needed at least a week to recover before returning to my classroom.
An unexpected house guest arrived at our home in Israel two weeks, right off the plane from America. A woman abandoned by her husband and at the very end of her pregnancy, 49 years old and carrying twins. High risk. With no place else to go and nowhere else to turn.
I received a hate call two weeks ago.
This past Monday, exhausted from the stress of the Orlando tragedy and its reverberations of grief, my husband and I went out to dinner at a lovely neighborhood restaurant and had a miserable time. A large party of Americans with a distinctive regional accent were seated in the same nook of a room, and at that table there was raucous laughter in response to a series of “gay” jokes, the jokes becoming increasingly cruder and the laughter wilder. Soon they shifted to misogynistic jokes. At the table of 12 were two women and one man of color.
Shavuot has become the Rodney Dangerfield of Jewish holidays. It gets no respect. Maybe even worse than not getting the respect this holiday deserves, it is often completely ignored by the Jewish community.