When I was in fifth grade, my teacher, Mr. Lynch, told my class that he does charity for ALS. He mentioned he had two teachers who were diagnosed with the disease, one of whom unfortunately passed away. Mr. Lynch’s other teacher, Mr. Christopher Pendergast, has been battling ALS for 21 years, and started a nonprofit organization called ALS Ride for Life in 1997, which he still runs. Mr. Pendergast came to my school with his wife to speak about his charity with our class. Every May, he and his “PALS” (people with ALS) ride in their wheelchairs from...Read More
It is February so let’s talk about love.
What is love? How do you define a relationship? Do you call her nicknames like “The Homeland” or “Zion” or maybe even “ha’aretz (the land)?”
Do you send presents to her family and come visit for the holidays? What does she do to make you feel closer? Engaged? Mostly, how do you do all this when the object of your affection isn’t even a person but a country?
In the interest of full disclosure, I haven't always been the biggest Zionist, but Zionism is a big word. Realistically, I would say I didn’t always love or appreciate...Read More
Generally speaking, I'm not easily offended - but I did have a problem with this blessing the first time I stumbled upon it:
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu, melech haolam, meshaneh ha briot. Blessed be the One who created us differently.
How dare the Talmudic rabbis direct others to offer a blessing because I am different?
During Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month, I consider this blessing. I now look beyond what seems like a judgment call toward others and embrace what I believe to be...Read More
I ask you, is this a sheyn punim (a pretty face)? I’ve been dying to say those words for the past four years, ever since I came to China to work as a teacher of oral English at Nanyang Normal University.
Sometime around my 50th birthday, I was hit by wanderlust, and though I’ve met many Jews throughout my travels, as far as I know, I’m the only one currently living in Nanyang. I’ve spent Shabbat in Shanghai, Passover in Kaifeng, and...Read More
My son has a very ordinary-for-his-age obsession with stuffed animals. Little (and some not-so-little) animals have been placed lovingly in every corner of his room. When we leave the house, we bring as many as we can carry. That’s why my mother and I were shocked on Hanukkah, when my little boy took a stuffed bear out of the Hanukkah gift bag and unwrapped him from the Hanukkah blue tissue paper in which he’d been carefully wrapped. My son gave a quick glance at the bear, dressed in a kippah and tallit, and simply said “...Read More