It’s the darkest time of the year: a few days past Winter Solstice; one day after Christmas; and this evening is the third night of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. Many of us mark this season with traditions of coming together to share time, eat special foods, and light up the darkness.
As we gather with friends and loved ones this year, we are sometimes finding ourselves confronted with political conversations that seem weightier than they ever have before.
If we’re gathering with like-minded people, conversations can take on a hushed, serious tone. “How did this happen? People I know are afraid. I am afraid. What are we going to do?” Continue reading
In the wake of U.S. election results, Americans attending COP22 started getting a lot of questions from their global colleagues: What do we think of the president-elect? What positions will he take? Who will he appoint to be in his Cabinet? But mostly—since we were at a conference focused on international cooperation on dealing with our shared planetary climate crisis—the question was: “What does the election mean for U.S. action on climate change?” Continue reading
If a person of learning participates in public affairs and serves as judge or arbiter, she gives stability to the land… But if she sits in her home and says to herself, ‘What have the affairs of society to do with me?…. Why should I trouble myself with the people’s voices of protest? Let my soul dwell in peace!’—if she does this, she overthrows the world. -from Midrash Tanhuma, Mishpatim 2
I wish there was no need to protest, that there was no tar sands oil pipeline threatening to encroach upon sacred burial grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux or to imperil the safety of water for whole communities. But the strength, dignity, and purpose displayed by Native water defenders under intense pressure—including violence from highly militarized authorities—inspires my respect. The excited shouts from defenders as they see buffalo approaching on the horizon brings me tears of joy. Watching white religious leaders from across the country answer the call to stand in solidarity with Native leaders—knowing this nation’s history of systematic abuse, oppression, and extermination of Native peoples perpetrated by Whites—moves me deeply and gives me hope for something new. Continue reading
Last night, I turned in my final paper for my Biblical History & Civilization class. With that, I finished my first full year of the ALEPH Rabbinic Ordination program—and am withdrawing from the program for the foreseeable future. Continue reading
According to everything I read, the global climate negotiations (COP21) happening in Paris Nov. 30-Dec. 11 are the most significant chance the world has for coming to a meaningful and effective climate agreement this decade. With climate change, time is not on our side, so a positive outcome from these talks is crucial. To that goal, people all around the planet are planning fasts, prayer vigils, marches, coordinated social media, etc. to help raise a unified, global voice calling for #ClimateAction. Continue reading
The story of the Tower of Babel has always confused me. In it, humans are punished for working collaboratively together. But what kind of god causes confusion and separation, rather than illumination and cohesion?
If you don’t know the story—or even if you do—keep reading: Continue reading
I don’t like uncertainty. I doubt that anyone does.
Lately, though, I’ve been swimming in it. In early July, I had the incredible opportunity to study for two weeks with the Jewish Renewal movement. I immersed in community life; met smart, dedicated, and interesting people; and took classes on holy relationships, Hasidic stories, and medieval philosophy. I was there to learn, but also to evaluate…and be evaluated. Continue reading