Rockets Fall in Israel

A branch not yet fully grafted to the tree fragile, only just beginning to be connected looks back at the trunk, solid and strong drawing strength knowing it is there once a strange land, now home the branch wavers in a strong wind fearful of the coming storm the trunk stands resolute having weathered many … Continue reading Rockets Fall in Israel

Converts, BT’s…Heck Everyone – You Can’t Control What Others Will Think Of You

An interesting discussion wandered across my social media feed this week.  It began with a post suggesting "Comebacks For Converts," basically a list of ideas for dealing with nosey questions that converts often encounter.  The post itself is pretty good and has some good ideas.  The discussion that ensued, however, made me think for a … Continue reading Converts, BT’s…Heck Everyone – You Can’t Control What Others Will Think Of You

The Darker Side of Kiruv

I hesitated writing this post.  I never want to speak ill of the Jewish people, even isolated parts because I understand how someone reading my words might take that to be all Orthodox Jews, particularly if they've had little to no experiences with other Orthodox Jews.  I also hesitated because I kept wondering if what … Continue reading The Darker Side of Kiruv

Welcoming Strangers?

I've been fortunate to travel to different Jewish communities during my years as a conversion candidate and it's always interesting how different different Orthodox communities can be.  Every single one has its own personality and subtle differences and it's neat to see all the different directions people in different places take their Judaism. The downside … Continue reading Welcoming Strangers?

Wandering Jew-ish? Traveling Kosher!

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!

Snow Instead of Flood and Paddling Your Own Canoe

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

Conversion Advice – You’ve Gotta Love BOTH

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

Discouraging the Convert

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

Thinking of Houston From Alaska

Alaskans and Texans share a bond, created both in the common oil industries that support each state and in the pioneer spirit that the inhabitants of both states seem to possess.  Alaska is often filled with Texan transplants, both companies and workers and we often playfully tease each other, with Alaskans pointing out that while … Continue reading Thinking of Houston From Alaska

In Search of Jewish Minimalism

I have probably been a minimalist my entire life, before I knew what to call it.  I've never been much attached to heirlooms or possessions and I've always found a great pleasure in getting rid of things.  Even as a child, when my mother would decide it was time to cull the herd of stuff … Continue reading In Search of Jewish Minimalism

After the Ground Shifts

Alaska has a lot of earthquakes.  Not everyone knows this, but Anchorage, Alaska, my current hometown, was leveled in the 60's by the largest recorded earthquake ever to hit North America.  It was a 9.2 in magnitude and hit on a friday evening in 1964, Good Friday for most people.  It destroyed most of Anchorage … Continue reading After the Ground Shifts