L’Chaim! To Life!!!

One of the defining characteristics of Judaism is that it is a religion of life.  It doesn't focus on the afterlife or some eternal reward, but is grounded in what we do here and now.  There is little emphasis on martyrdom.  We are meant to live for Hashem and Judaism, not die for it unless … Continue reading L’Chaim! To Life!!!

Elul Workbook! And…my first Elul as a Jew.

When my daughter first got out of the mikvah after her conversion, she celebrated every tiny thing she did "as a Jew" for the first time.  (I'm combing my hair...AS A JEW!!!)  Actually, she still does!  It was such a touching and sweet expression of joy. I tend to be focused more on fewer, bigger … Continue reading Elul Workbook! And…my first Elul as a Jew.

Shavuos, Last Week in Alaska, and the Mystery of the Missing Rabbit

It's been an interesting week.  We had Shavuos, but first, we closed on our old house in a mad rush of moving boxes and furniture.  Through some coincidences, we found a place to live temporarily until our flight leaves Alaska.  An acquaintance living on the east coast reached out to us, asking us if we'd … Continue reading Shavuos, Last Week in Alaska, and the Mystery of the Missing Rabbit

Preparing for Shavuos and the Conversion that Wasn’t

Over a year ago, we sat in our Rabbi's office and he promised, honestly and earnestly, that our conversion journey would finally end in the mikvah the coming April.  This April slipped by with little fanfare and drama, peacefully but busily, as we prepared for our move.  At this point, there is no more timeline … Continue reading Preparing for Shavuos and the Conversion that Wasn’t

Eating Matzah as the Bears Awaken

There is one great comfort in the long, dark Alaskan winter and that is that the odds of being eaten by a bear go down considerably.  Bears hiberate during the winter, only occasionally stirring if there's a warm snap, but generally sleeping through the dark cold months in their dens beneath the snow.  About the … Continue reading Eating Matzah as the Bears Awaken

House Showings and Passover Cooking

I had just put a huge brisket for Passover in the oven, the kind that you have to cut just to fit in the pans.  Two glorious full sheet pans where covered and ready to go and the oven was heated.  My cell phone announced a text.  It was from our realtor. "Can you do … Continue reading House Showings and Passover Cooking

“Turning Over” My Kitchen…and Turning Over my Pre-Passover Anxiety

The same thing happens EVERY year without fail.  I always plan to "turn over" my kitchen (that is, clean and kosher it for Passover), as close to Passover as possible so that my family doesn't have to either eat kosher for Passover food longer than necessary or eat their floury, chametz-leaden food in the garage.  … Continue reading “Turning Over” My Kitchen…and Turning Over my Pre-Passover Anxiety

My Son and His Passover Sacrifice

One of the things my son was looking forward to most about 8th grade was the Advanced Orchestra trip to Hawaii that the 8th graders in his school take every year.  He had been thrilled when he'd first heard of it during his Junior High orientation and he'd fundraised last year to help send the … Continue reading My Son and His Passover Sacrifice

All That You Can’t Leave Behind

I used to be a big U2 fan.  I'll freely admit that as a child of the 80's, I was listening to U2 well into the 90's.  One of their songs that always stuck with me was the song, "Walk On," particularly the lyrics about "all that you can't leave behind" and the idea of … Continue reading All That You Can’t Leave Behind

The Non-Gebrokts Non-Jews

Passover is an interesting holiday.  It's one where traditions and customs really seem to come to the forefront in a way they don't always the rest of the year.  From how stringent each family is about their cleaning and prep to what they will and won't eat on the holiday, there is so much variation, … Continue reading The Non-Gebrokts Non-Jews

The Season of Letting Go

Passover must always fall in the spring.  It's a rule of the Jewish calendar and a whole leap month will be added to the calendar to make sure this happens.  For Orthodox Jews, this also means that Passover cleaning is a form of spring cleaning, with cabinets cleared out and all manner of pasta, flour, … Continue reading The Season of Letting Go