If a Tree Talks in the Forest, Does it Make a Sound? (On Tu Bishvat)

Today is Tu Bishvat, the new year of the trees. Originally an ancient holiday used to determine the age of trees and the fitness of fruit for Temple offerings, the day in contemporary times has become an opportunity to reflect on Jewish views of nature. Adopting a mystical tradition, we hold a Seder (as on …

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Here We Are Again, For the Very First Time

This was one of my favorite phrases to come out of my recent 18-month program on mindfulness and embodied spirituality for Jewish clergy, run by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. One of my teachers, Rabbi Jonathan Slater, spoke them as we came to one of our last mediation sessions of the program. I echoed these …

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The Significant Anonymous

As a rabbi, people often ask me who my favorite character from the Torah is. Well, actually, no one has ever asked me that. But I will answer anyway. And while it is hard to choose, my vote for one of my favorite characters is the mysterious man in the Joseph story. Who, you may …

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God Tested Abraham. And Abraham Returned the Favor.

This week in our Torah reading cycle we come to parashat Vayera. While in the first couple of portions we have discrete stories being told each week-first about creation, then about Noah-and later in Genesis we will tell the Joseph saga over several weeks, this week’s portion is packed with several very dense and powerful …

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