It is the season of latkes, which means you will hear many arguments over which condiment is the best to accompany your latkes – sour cream or applesauce. They appear to be as different from one another as two things can be, and yet, they both compliment the latke and make it taste delicious.
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’.
“The whole earth trembles and dances when the God of freedom appears.” (Psalm 114)
The month of Elul – and thus the season of repentance and forgiveness that culminates with Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot – began just this week.
“Are you an angry feminist?”
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.
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.
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?
I love this video.