To Give Is to Receive: Lessons on Jewish Hospitality From the Book of Genesis

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Two of my favorite characters in the Book of Genesis are Avraham and his daughter-in-law Rivka. Avraham is one of my heroes, and I want to marry someone like Rivka.

Both Avraham and Rivka are famous for their hachnasat orchim, which means welcoming guests. Avraham is the first Jew, he thinks for himself, questions authority, and even argues with God. He is willing to be himself and do what he believes even if the whole world thinks he is crazy, which is why he is known as an Ivri, which means “he who stands on the other side.” According to the Kabbalah Continue reading “To Give Is to Receive: Lessons on Jewish Hospitality From the Book of Genesis”

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How Reb Shlomo Carlebach Got Me High on Torah (Even Though I Never Met Him)

For me growing up Jewish was bagels and lox, the Holocaust, and my Bar Mitvzah. I thought Judaism was an anachronistic, tribal psychology rule through fear religion. In 1998, I came to the Old City and discovered that Judaism was a lot more than that and more relevant to my life than I expected. That Judaism was actually a transformative spiritual path. One teacher whom I never met, but whose students, music and stories changed my life, was Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.  When I first heard Reb Shlomo singing, what I heard was a call. It was a call one man was putting out to the whole world.  A call to do Teshuva, to come home, to return to your true self. Continue reading “How Reb Shlomo Carlebach Got Me High on Torah (Even Though I Never Met Him)”