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
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
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
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?
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
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!
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
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
The times that I have fallen in love, I've had a tendency to lose myself in the man I've fallen in love with. It's a pleasant kind of loss of identity and it happens slowly, subtly until I realize that I suddenly have new habits, preferences, and tastes. Similarly, over the years, I have watched … Continue reading Don’t Lose What Makes You, YOU! Advice for Orthodox Jewish Converts and Baleei Teshuva!
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