In darkness, I awaken the tune of Hallel in my ears I whisper words of another tune and greet the dark day Summer's light has fled the mountains flowers bloom no more only the raven and magpie remain winter's sky companions cold rain falls snow comes late this year a reminder of retreating glaciers the … Continue reading Winter Hallel
This week's parsha begins the story of Avraham, the father of monotheism and the spiritual father of all Jewish converts. His story begins with a command that's familiar: “Go from your land, from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you.” In some way or other, we all … Continue reading Parshas Lech Lecha – Go!
I've got some trips coming up down to the lower 48 and while I've written before about the logistics of backcountry camping kosher, I thought it might be good to write about traveling while observant, for those who might be new to it. Kosher travel really begins when we begin planning our trip, specifically the … Continue reading Wandering Jew-ish? Traveling Kosher!
We spent this past Shabbos in a hotel and wow did that feel positively decadent after so many Shabboses in the Shabbat RV 2.0! There was unlimited running water, heat, soft comfy beds with all the fixings, like smooth sheets. We had a mini-fridge I was able to stock with snacks and food and it … Continue reading Snow Instead of Flood and Paddling Your Own Canoe
I had one reader have a very negative reaction to a writing I did yesterday about the current state of conversion. Basically, by writing about my experiences and some of the other issues I have known about, this person was discouraged from attempting an Orthodox Jewish conversion herself and her image of the Jewish people … Continue reading Conversion Advice – You’ve Gotta Love BOTH
The times that I have fallen in love, I've had a tendency to lose myself in the man I've fallen in love with. It's a pleasant kind of loss of identity and it happens slowly, subtly until I realize that I suddenly have new habits, preferences, and tastes. Similarly, over the years, I have watched … Continue reading Don’t Lose What Makes You, YOU! Advice for Orthodox Jewish Converts and Baleei Teshuva!
My very good friend over at Jewish Thoughts wrote a great blog post today about Orthodox Jewish converts, questioning how the Orthodox community treats them. After detailing some of the painful things that she has seen with the converts that she knows, she asks some very good questions. So what exactly should we do? I’m not … Continue reading Discouraging the Convert
It's often when everything seems to be going along just fine with everything coming together when the unexpected happens. This time, the kids and I were in our truck, waiting for Mr. Safek and Sam the dog to arrive at the Synagogue with the Shabbat RV 2.0. All our meals were carefully packed up, our … Continue reading The Simchas Torah that Stole Our Simchas
I'm about to log off, finish my cooking, and prepare for another 3 day Yom Tov, this time including the holiday of Simchas Torah. Simcha means joy and this holiday is all about the joy that Jews feel when it comes to the Torah. Other religions certainly have their holy books, but I've never seen … Continue reading Simchas Torah From My Side of the Mechitza
It's there, lurking in the forecast for this week and the weekend with cute little gradeschool snowflakes to denote the days it might happen. Those innocent looking little snowflakes belie the fact that we don't yet have studded tires on the truck and that we'll be spending 3 days this week in the Shabbat RV … Continue reading Trust, Sukkos, and Snow
We opted to stay home for the 3 day Yom Tov and celebrate the beginning of Sukkos in our own Sukkah. Sukkos is a quirky holiday and one of my favorites. We built huts in our yards to remind us of our past as wanderers, wandering the desert with Hashem's protection. Men are obligated to … Continue reading An Alaskan Kind of Sukkos
A little known fact I learned this Yom Kippur, during Neileh services. Anchorage, Alaska, is, in fact, the final Orthodox Jewish community to say Neileh, sounding the shofar later than any other community in the world. As we davened, I couldn't help but feel a weighty responsibility, as if we were the last to leave … Continue reading The Last to Close the Gates of Heaven