Category: Uncategorized

Why We Need Another Jewish Holiday

While we celebrate our religious High Holidays in the fall, this week marked the contemporary “secular” Jewish observances of Yom Hashoah and Yom Ha’atzma’ut—Holocaust Remembrance Day and Israel Independence Day. Both of these days mark fundamental aspects of the contemporary Jewish experience that are worthy of recognition. And both of these days challenge us. Yom ...

Remembering to Remember

On this week in which we commemorate the Holocaust, a disturbing report came out: memory of the events of the Holocaust are fading, and fewer people in younger generations know basic facts about the destruction of European Jewry and Nazi Germany. It is disturbing, and on one level not surprising—the more we temporally move away ...

Slow Down to Speed Up

With sunset tonight we welcome not only Shabbat but the first night of Passover. It is a seemingly interesting juxtaposition: the weekly day set aside for rest and slowing down, and the annual celebration of the Exodus, of movement. Indeed, unlike the challah we eat on Shabbat, which takes time to rise and bake, the ...

The Real Lesson of the Olympia Food Co-op Boycott Lawsuit (Hint: It’s Not About Israel/Palestine)

Without much fanfare, the lawsuit against the Olympia Food Co-op regarding the boycott of Israeli products has seemingly come to a close. Two weeks ago, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Carol Murphy dismissed the suit, finding no injury on the part of the plaintiffs. The suit has gone on for a long time, with motions ...

“You Have Attained Your Position for a Time Such as This”: An Invocation

The invocation I delivered at the Washington State House of Representatives on March 6, 2018. You can watch the video clip here: Last week Jews around the world celebrated Purim, a festival that commemorates the story told in the biblical book of Esther. In this story, Esther, a Jewish woman, becomes the Queen of Persia, ...

Community Before Self

A late post this week as I have been distracted, as we all have been, by the events in Parkland, Florida, where a gunman last week killed 17 people in a high school. And while this is not the first time this has happened, this one has hit me particularly hard for a variety of ...

Trees and Sacred Taxes: Vote “Yes” on The Home Fund

Tu Bishvat teaches that taxes are holy. Tu Bishvat, which we just celebrated this week, is the Jewish new year of the trees, and opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge our interdependence with the natural world, and with trees specifically. It is generally observed through a seder, a ritual meal which—like the Passover seder—is marked by ...

The Fear of Freedom

I did not write last week because I took a trip out of town for a few days to Los Angeles. What brought me to LA (though I did tag on a few days of family vacation) was a two-day immersive learning experience at Beit T’shuvah, a Jewish residential treatment center for addiction that also ...

“And We Win”: A D’var Torah and Invocation for MLK Day

This year I was honored to be invited to give the invocation and benediction at the annual Martin Luther King Day banquet held at the South Puget Sound Community College. It was an inspiring evening, honoring the life of Dr. King by invoking his legacy, by honoring local educators and awarding scholarships, and hearing from ...