The Six Things I Have Learned About Life Since Last Year’s Election (Erev Rosh Hashanah 5778)

Well these are interesting times we are living in. It is always noteworthy how the High Holidays come in the fall, when so many of our other renewals and new starts take hold. In nature we transition from summer to fall, and are harvesting the last of our summer bounty. The salmon are running, making …

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Living into Your Strengths: A Cheshbon Hanefesh Worksheet for the New Year

As we pass Selichot eve towards the High Holidays, the work of self-reflection and introspection becomes all that more immediate. The act of cheshbon hanefesh--of taking a self-inventory--is the spiritual work we are called to do at this season. But it is not easy. Confronting what we did, or didn't do, over the past year …

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Erev Rosh Hashanah 5777: “The 6 Things I Learned about Life (and Teshuvah) from Losing a Binder Full of 18 Months Worth of Work”

You may know, as I have shared with you in the past, that I recently completed a program of study called the Clergy Leadership Program through the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. It was an 18 month program designed to give Jewish clergy—rabbis and cantors—the tools they need to develop spiritually, both individually and as communal …

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It’s Elul: You Have Permission to Change

This weekend we begin the Jewish month of Elul and officially begin the High Holiday season. The holidays themselves are "late" this year in accordance with the Gregorian calendar (they, of course, fall the same time each year on the Hebrew calendar), but no matter when they fall, we get a month warning with the …

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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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Rosh Hashanah Day 5776: “Heeding the Call–Both Papal and Jewish–For Environmental Justice”

This summer, I had the opportunity to head off to Camp Kalsman, a Jewish camp in Arlington, to spend a week as a member of the faculty. A rotating group of educators and rabbis and cantors spends a week to 10 days teaching, leading services, tutoring b’nai mitzvah and providing support alongside the full-time staff. …

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Erev Rosh Hashanah 5776: “The 8 Things I Have Learned about Life and Teshuvah from the Seattle Seahawks”

There are many things that come with growing older. As I completed my 42nd year this past July, I continue to note the changes that occur as we get older. Our bodies don’t bounce back like they used to, our hairlines don't bounce back like they used to. One thing I have noticed, though, is …

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It’s Rosh Hashanah. Don’t Drop the Ball.

The New Year is upon us. Tonight at sundown we will welcome in 5776. As a child celebrating the secular new year, it would become an annual challenge to stay up until midnight to watch the ball drop from Times Square in New York City. I would get anxious and excited waiting for that fateful …

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“Welcome Home” to Elul: A View from Camp

I'm spending this week at Jewish summer camp. I have returned this year to URJ Camp Kalsman in Arlington, WA to serve a week as faculty--a week filled with leading services, teaching and engaging with kids during activities. Camp Kalsman is one of the two main summer camps that kids from my congregation attend--Camp Solomon …

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