Theology in a Time of Anti-Semitism

Paying attention to dreams is an ancient Jewish spiritual practice. Our biblical ancestors Isaac and Jacob dreamed of God. Jacob’s son Joseph was a skilled interpreter. He would analyze dream symbols with reference to current events, and articulate truths the dreamer was afraid to face directly.

Posted on March 20, 2017

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Passover and Questions for All

Matzah

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.

Posted on April 29, 2016

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Claiming Our Spiritual Ancestry

This seder plate belonged to my husband's grandmother, Miriam Rose.

This seder plate belonged to my husband’s grandmother, Miriam Rose.

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.

Posted on April 7, 2015

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The Cruelty of a Cheeseburger

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.

Posted on March 6, 2015

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Treat Every Person with Dignity

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.

Posted on August 26, 2014

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Ask Not What Your Judaism Can Do For You

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