I came across a great quote today that stuck in my head. My manager at work is one of those people who is naturally intellectually curious about life in general, not just his specialty and he finds my observance fascinating. I enjoy our conversations because his questions challenge me to better define and articulate portions … Continue reading Hashem as a Life Coach
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
It's a question I get asked often, particularly when non-Orthodox Jewish friends and family learn just how long our conversion has been taking. I've even had Orthodox friends on the more left side of the Orthodox spectrum question our dedication to Orthodox Judaism. My answer usually depends on how much time we have to talk. … Continue reading Why Orthodox Judaism? Why Not Another Type?
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
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
I just completed a JLI class at my Synagogue all about communication and the power of speech. This morning, I had a perfect example of exactly what we'd been studying happen right in front of me in the grocery store line. A coworker and I were standing in line to pay for some small purchases … Continue reading The Power of Speech
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
This week is one of my favorite Jewish holidays. One of the very best things about Orthodox Judaism is that there are so many holidays and they're all so different in their observances and traditions. Purim is a particularly fun holiday for children, with costumes and candy galore. This year, though, as we read the … Continue reading Purim and Living Between Worlds
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
In this week's parsha, Yaakov famously wrestles with Esav's angel, gaining an injury and the name Israel. In the Torah, every nation has its own angel watching over it and we've already learned that Esav is destined to be a mighty nation in his own right. The struggle is dramatic and costs Yaakov, injuring his … Continue reading Parshas Vayishlach – Wrestling with Angels and New Names
In this week's parsha, Sarah, the spiritual mother of all Jews and particularly of converts, dies and is the first person to be buried in the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, the only piece of the land promised to Abraham that he would actually own in his lifetime, but a promise for more. Rivka … Continue reading Parshas Chayei Sarah – Big Shoes To Fill
This week's parsha begins the story of Avraham, the father of monotheism and the spiritual father of all Jewish converts. His story begins with a command that's familiar: “Go from your land, from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you.” In some way or other, we all … Continue reading Parshas Lech Lecha – Go!