Slowing Down and Building the Mishkan

In this week's parsha, we talk about the actual building of the Mishkan, the moveable tabernacle that the Hebrews carried around with them in the desert wanderings.  Up to this point, we've talked about why there needed to be a Mishkan and we even had a rather long parsha that explained in great detail all … Continue reading Slowing Down and Building the Mishkan

Teachability, Conversion, and Life

I have a couple of really wise friends that I listen to and always learn something from our conversations.  Today, we were talking about the power of teachability and it seemed to fit exactly with a lot of what has been going on in my life recently as well as struggles I have seen around … Continue reading Teachability, Conversion, and Life

Plot Twist!

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!

Soon, My Children Will Not Be Mine

Orthodox Jewish conversion has a lot of fascinating quirks that a lot of people aren't aware of unless they've dealt with the process directly.  One of them, which I mentioned in relation to my husband yesterday, is the fact that once you emerge from the Mikvah as an entirely new, Jewish person in the eyes … Continue reading Soon, My Children Will Not Be Mine

How a Trip to the Ends of the Earth Helped Me Make Peace with Christmas as a Jew

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

Shabbos, Cold and Dark

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

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

Simchas Torah From My Side of the Mechitza

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

An Alaskan Kind of Sukkos

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

Yom Kippur

Like Tisha B'Av, Yom Kippur is sometimes a difficult holiday to explain to my non-Jewish friends, family, and coworkers.  For most other people, holidays in general are associated with only happy events, but Jewish holidays really are holy days...and not all holy days are fun or easy.  There is also the problem that the idea … Continue reading Yom Kippur