Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, the Baal Shem Tov (Master of the Good Name), was a mystic and spiritual teacher who lived in the 18th century Eastern Europe and founded the Hasidic movement in Judaism. According to Hasidic teachings, a Jewish spiritual practice is a mitzvah, an opportunity for the soul to connect to the Divine. Rosh Hashanah is associated with the mitzvah of sounding the Shofar (traditionally a ram’s horn) to wake the soul from its spiritual slumber and during Elul (the month preceding Rosh Hashanah). It is customary to sound the Shofar every day during morning prayers to prepare for the Jewish New Year. Continue reading “How Blowing the Shofar Can Blow Your Mind and Awaken Your True Self”
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”
I feel violated
The gates of my sanctuary have been torn asunder
I have been defiled
Unclean, wicked, haughty ones laugh at my humiliation and I am powerless
Helpless to resist Continue reading “A Poem About Feeling Violated on Tisha B’Av”
The words to these songs are from the Torah and the Book of Psalms (both over 2,000 years old), and Jewish prayers going back many hundreds of years. Open your mind and listen to the soul inside these words as they are revealed through these incredible modern renditions. Continue reading “Erev Shabbat Playlist: 3 Forms of Ancient/Modern Mind Expanding Jewish Chanting”
When I worked at the National Library of Israel, I found a book of photographs depicting the graffiti covering the giant concrete slabs that make up part of what is known to some as the ‘security fence’ and to others as the ‘separation wall’. In big white letters someone had spray painted ‘we are not enemies’. These words haunted me. I wanted to meet the person living on the other side of that wall who wrote that. Continue reading “Grassroots Jerusalem: Fasting for Peace with Jews and Muslims in the Holy City”
I was at a poetry reading last night organized by the great people at Jerusalism. It was a nice sized crowd with a lot of ‘earworthy’ poetry and prose. Someone asked me for a copy of one of the poems I read so I decided to turn it into a blog and share it with the world. Here it is.
What Happened When I Realized My Date Was A Woman
I walked with you yesterday through the park. Continue reading “What Happened When I Realized My Date Was A Woman”
It’s the eighth night of Hannukah and I have been thinking about what I learned this chag. I want to live my Judaism in such a way that the holidays are not just a nice ritual of going through the motions but that I am changed. I had heard lots of different Torahs that effected me but I wanted something more I wanted a shift, I wanted an experience. Continue reading “How I got my Hannukah fix”