I live a very unrooted life in which I have limited attachment to place. My profession takes me around the world on assignments of two to four years as a condition of my employment. From Montreal, Vancouver, Dallas, Europe, Toronto, New Delhi, Beijing, Los Angeles, Accra: None of these places feels like home in the traditional, tangible sense, particularly because I know I will leave each new place for another place in relatively short order. When I feel lost or alone, there is no place I yearn for nostalgically as a place to return and feel the safety of home.
I suppose this...Read More
I've been ruminating on something that happened late last month.
I was on stage at an interfaith concert in Toronto on a Saturday night. Multiple faith groups were represented in a community gathering to honor an incredible rabbi (Larry Englander of Solel Congregation in Mississauga) who has given blessing upon blessing to the larger Toronto community.
We were about to sing the finale. A gospel choir, amongst other groups, joined us at the stage. I took a moment to address the crowd.
I'm not sure what I said, but I do know that I spoke different words than expected...Read More
The holly and tinsel are once more in store windows. Lights are strung on houses all down the lane. Carolers are warming up their voices. Those jingle bells are jingling again. It’s beginning to look a lot like... Hanukkah?
The anecdotes are classic. Our friends and neighbors gear up for the celebration of the year. The weather chills, and many Americans retreat inside for a season of family and gift-giving. Meanwhile, the Jewish community soldiers on, making Hanukkah as bright and joyful as we can. Some of us spend Christmas Day in Chinese restaurants and empty movie theaters....Read More
Even though my wife has visited the mikveh (Jewish ritual bath) and my daughter is the executive director of Mayyim Hayyim, a community mikveh in Massachusetts, it never occurred to me that I would go to a mikveh and immerse. That was something women do, not men. It never occurred to me until I retired.
It was not about being closer to the end of life than the beginning, although at 68 that was undeniably true. It was the awareness that I was embarking on a transition that took 44 years of hard work to reach, and the recognition that it was not just hard work and lucky breaks that...Read More
It’s not impossible, but it is difficult this year to avoid calling the beginning of Hanukkah by its special, one-time name: Thanksgivukkah! For any family that has, in the past, exchanged Hanukkah gifts or lit an early hanukkiyah while they were together at Thanksgiving, this year is for you. On November 28th, we’ll light candles and share Hanukkah on time while also enjoying a holiday at which Americans extend their hospitality to relatives, friends, and neighbors for a massive feast. Sweet potato latkes are in order!
In late October, I led a Shabbat discussion about Rebekah’s...Read More
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