Feeding While Fasting – A New Beginning

Across the world yesterday or today, Jews celebrate Simchat Torah, the conclusion of the Festival of Sukkot. Simchat Torah is our day when we roll the Torah from the very end of Deuteronomy to the very beginning of the Book of Genesis. For many, it symbolizes new beginnings, new opportunities and new ideas for living life to its fullest. Perhaps Simchat Torah can serve as the symbol of a new cycle, a new year of learning, of stretching and of ‘living new’ and ‘acting different’.

Posted on October 25, 2016

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Do you love me, or not?

Towards the beginning of the Tractate Berachot  (27b-28a) in the Talmud, there is a story about Rabban Gamaliel (the second one, the first person to lead the Sanhedrin after the fall of the second temple) in which he repeatedly humiliates one of his colleagues, Rabbi Yehoshua, leading to Rabban Gamaliel’s removal as head of the community.  The whole of the story is scattered throughout the talmud, but as one follows it throughout the various sections, it is clear that Rabban Gamaliel is engaged in a protracted fight over the leadership of the community and which direction it will go in the future.

Posted on August 10, 2016

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Towards A More Perfect Union

It’s Monday evening, July 25, and I’m watching the Democratic National Convention. Senator Cory Booker, a dynamic and powerful speaker from my state’s neighbor, New Jersey, is just finishing his speech. Near the beginning of his speech, he said he wanted to share an African saying, which goes: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I’d never heard that before, and I thought it was amazing. (It may not actually be an African proverb, but it still moved me.) It applies in so many ways.

Posted on July 26, 2016

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What Does It Mean To Be A Teacher?

Picture yourself as an Educational Director or Educator search committee. There is a position open, and you have narrowed the field to two possible candidates. One is dynamic, outgoing, and will be able to involve the students in the educational experience. Unfortunately, his knowledge is suspect and inconsistent. He will make mistakes when he teaches. The other applicant’s knowledge is thorough and deep. However, he is quiet, meek and passive. He lacks the charm and charisma that will engage his students. Whom do you hire?

Posted on July 24, 2016

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