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
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
Whenever a Jew hears of a death, there is a blessing we must say. "Baruch ata Hashem, elokeinu melech haolam dayan ha-emes." It translates as "Blessed is the Lord, our G-d, the King of the world and true Judge." It's a really hard blessing to say, particularly today. A couple we are good friends with … Continue reading Baruch Dayan HaEmes
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
Yesterday, I began one of the harder parts of my process of teshuva (repentance). In Judaism, Hashem can only forgive those offenses that are against Him, not the mistakes we make that are against our fellow human beings and many people spend some time before the High Holidays seeking out those they may have wronged … Continue reading When My Yetzer Hara Tried To Be My Editor
In Orthodox Judaism, there is a blessing for almost anything. If you see a rainbow or a tall mountain, or a first fruit tree in bloom, or you are putting on a new suit, there is a blessing for each of these things. We continuously bless the world around us and each month, we look … Continue reading No Blessing for an Eclipse?
**That is a picture I took of Denali, just 2 days ago.** My daughter and I hiked up, up the mountain, our legs burning as we climbed. Both of us were in skirts and my sheitel (wig that some Orthodox married women cover their hair with) was soaked through, but we were grinning. My husband … Continue reading Caribou and Kosher Camping
In the past week's parsha, we read about Moses preparing the Jewish people for their next big challenge...entering the land of Israel and keeping the laws of Torah there. Over and over, he stresses how much better their lives will be if they follow the commandments and it's clear from the commentaries that he knew … Continue reading Leveling Up
We're deep into the 9 Days now, a period of mourning for the loss of the Temple in Jerusalem as well as all the other losses the Jewish people have endured. There are laws about what we should refrain from doing during this period, from not listening to music, to not washing clothes, eating meat, … Continue reading What Is Mourning?
6 years ago tomorrow, I made the decision to begin covering my hair. It was such a momentous decision to me that I noted it on my calendar the same way I noted the day I decided to convert, birthdays, and anniversaries. It is a mitzvah for married Jewish women to cover their hair and … Continue reading Haircovering
I write today because I don't know if I will tomorrow I know my mind will slow the words will crawl from my lips slowly, with effort dragging each thought behind them on a back bent and weary On fast days, I drift from this world closer to another, my mind stilled my focus blurred … Continue reading The Fast that Begins the Three Weeks
This has already been a year of firsts for our family. We were invited to our first Passover Seder and, last evening, we attended our first Bris. For many years, lifecycle events were something that happened around us, but we weren't invited. The primary reason was that there are some communities in which the custom … Continue reading First Bris