This morning, I saw a particularly timely cartoon come across my Facebook feed. When something goes wrong in your life, just yell, "PLOT TWIST," and move on! My life has been full of plot twists. Interestingly, I've always, in the moment, reflected on the fact that bad news, or a major life change, never seems … Continue reading Plot Twist!
Slowly at first, then increasing in speed the light returns to the arctic first weakly, it crawls across the mountains thin rays barely scratching the snow the ravens unaware It sneaks up on me, quietly without fanfare it begins to creep up earlier it meets my days later it takes its leave lingering over sweet … Continue reading The Sun Returns
It is fitting that the celebration of Chanukah comes so close to the winter solstice, the darkest part of the long dark winter of Alaska. Chanukah reminds us that we can always add light and the story of Chanukah is one of Jews bravely sticking to their traditions and refusing to assimilate, even when the … Continue reading Chanukah Sameach from Alaska!
Last week, I traveled to the north slope of Alaska, about as far north as anyone can go, and I spent almost a week in an oil camp. This was probably the most unlikely place for an Orthodox conversion candidate. As part of my work there, I had to walk through every dorm room unless … Continue reading How a Trip to the Ends of the Earth Helped Me Make Peace with Christmas as a Jew
At the northern edge of humanity hidden in a polar embrace forbidden candles flicker and dance outside wind howls in the hallway, workers trudge day and night Inside, there is an island, tiny and fragile my lips whisper blessings my cup holds only water, not wine my table only matzah, not challah my family far … Continue reading In the Darkness of a Blizzard
Tomorrow I board my flight to Kuparuk, to spend a week in one of the most remote, most extreme parts of the world. I will most likely be the furthest north person celebrating Shabbos in the world this week, in a land where the sun will not rise for months. I've consulted my Rav about … Continue reading To the Edge of the World
I remember vividly watching Apollo 13 for the first time, particularly the nervous part where the endangered astronauts pass to the dark side of the moon. Because the moon is between them and earth, there is radio silence. They're unable to communicate with the world outside and are left in an anxious state of separation, … Continue reading The Dark Side of the Moon
All things must live in darkness before they are born. Seeds sprout underground, hidden in the dirt and animals live either in their mother's wombs or in eggs until they are ready for the world. Today, the sun doesn't rise until 9:12am and it will set at 4:16. Candle lighting time is earlier than that, … Continue reading The Deepest, Darkest Winter
Last Shabbos, I was curled up in my arctic sleeping bag. Granted, that particular sleeping bag was a little overkill for the night we were having. The temperature in the RV was only in the 40's, not below zero. Still, it was a taste of things to come as we each did what we needed … Continue reading Shabbos, Cold and Dark
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
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
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