I recently read an article in the New York Times about Charles F. Feeney, whom the headline calls the “James Bond of Philanthropy.” I had never heard of Mr. Feeney previously, but I was so impressed by what I read, that I took some time to learn more about him.
As Passover draws to a close this weekend, I’m thinking about two things: a pizza binge on Friday night and the theme of questions. (In the Reform movement, Passover and other festivals end one day earlier than they do among other Jews in the Diaspora.) A central part of Passover observance (particularly at the seder meal) is retelling a story, and that storytelling kicks off with the four questions.
You have shared some of your intimate emotional struggles with a colleague and close friend. Very soon afterward you lose your job. Later you discover that your friend had betrayed your confidence by informing your boss that you are under the care of a psychiatrist.
In the year 2000, I was still a newly-minted Jew, having completed my conversion in March of 1999. As Passover approached, I was in a quandary. I asked, “Am I allowed to say during the Passover seder, ‘God brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with signs and wonders (Deuteronomy 26:8)’”? After all, as a Jew by Choice, I’m pretty confident that my ancestors were not Jews. I was most likely not related by blood to any of the Israelites who came out of Egypt in the Exodus.
This week’s Torah portion commands us to swear off cheeseburgers. Well not exactly. It was the rabbis that created the prohibition against mixing meat and milk products, but the foundation of the matter is indeed found in the Torah. Parshat Ki Tissa contains one of three instances in which the Bible warns us not to boil a kid in its mother’s milk.
“Ever tried, ever failed,” Samuel Beckett once wrote. “No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. “ (in
I was a college student doing about 78 mph on my way from Pittsburgh to New York City to visit my boyfriend. Suddenly flashing lights appeared behind me, my stomach flipped over, and I was busted. The officer sauntered up to my window. He asked questions that I felt were intrusive, like where was I going, where was I coming from, who was I going to see. He made a comment about my “pretty face” being smashed if I crashed at that speed. I wanted him to just give me a ticket and go away. Finally he did.
This past week in synagogues throughout the world we rolled the Torah scroll forward and began reading from the Book of Leviticus. Each week during Shabbat services congregations all over will be reading the account of the sacrificial system that encompassed the ritual life of the Jewish people throughout their wanderings in the desert with the Tabernacle, and