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Rosh HaShanah

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During the height of the recession, I moved to Switzerland. I had already lived in France, Japan, India and Israel, and traveled much of the rest of the world.

I’d gone global for work, love, spirituality, and cultural infatuation, but this last time was for cash: As a teacher in the recession during a hiring freeze, like thousands of other Americans, I became an economic expat.

In the land of chocolate, cheese, bankers and income, my fellow New York native teachers and I were able to afford taxi rides, apartments on our own and meals out, living the American Dream - only...

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Genesis 22:1-24, the story of God testing Abraham by instructing him to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah, is known as the Akedah. We read this story on Rosh HaShanah, but it is also part of the Torah portion of Vayeira, which we read this Shabbat. This original poem is based on the Akedah.

Walk with me, he said. Walk with me in the quiet of the mountain and we will find God.

How will we know when we find God?

God smells like rope and iron- Sharp, Like blood, said my father. And God sounds like the absence of rain, Like dust and heat That ripples across this narrow...

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Last Shabbat, I fell asleep to the voice of Julie Silver singing the words “L’Dor V’Dor: From Generation to Generation” in my ear. I woke up to those same sounds on Saturday morning. The odd thing about it was that I was 3,000 miles away from Julie and hadn’t actually heard her voice for months – nor had I been to Shabbat services that evening and experienced any of the other wonderful contemporary musicians or their musical arrangements that often fill my heart and soul and keep the music on repeat in my brain. 

What had I done on Friday night to lead to hearing Julie’s voice,...

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Like many Massachusetts families, the Boston Marathon is very much part of my family’s lives. Every year we gather to watch, volunteer, or run, as my wife and I did in 2008. Drawing thousands of diverse souls from all over the world, the event represents the best of American civil society.

This year, all that was shattered with the murderous blasts of two terrorists’ crazed cruelty. What you saw on television only begins to depict the horror of the tragedy. Scores of victims were maimed, families’ lives forever changed. Amidst the suffering and chaos, people rose to the occasion...

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One of the most distinctive dimensions of the High Holy Days in our tradition is that among the major observances of the Jewish calendar, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are experienced primarily in the synagogue. Whereas most of our festivals are celebrated mainly in the home, with family gatherings and ritual ceremonies, these "Days of Awe" are shared in the temple, as a congregation, through the worship service. Consequently, for most of us, the prayer book takes on the central role in our impressions and perceptions of this most sacred season of the year.

The development of the...

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