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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How to Use (and Not Abuse) Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is soon upon us. It is a time in which we focus on teshuvah, traditionally translated as “repentance,” but the Hebrew root is more closely related to “turning.” Teshuvah is the act of turning from past ways and harmful habits to create a new and better future for ourselves. It also involves turning …

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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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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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Erev Rosh Hashanah 5775: “The 7 Things I Learned About Life from Legos”

I have, as many of you know, faced my share of physical challenges over these past few years. I have had to face surgery twice, both requiring about a month-long recovery with physical discomfort. And I suffered from serious illness, also requiring hospital stays, pain medicine, IV, antibiotics and a longer than hoped for recovery. …

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Pass the Ice Water, It’s Elul

If you are tied into social media, you are probably aware of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It is a viral phenomenon in which people challenge each other to dump a bucket of ice water on their head, in the name of raising awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the fatal degenerative disorder more commonly …

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The Amalek in Us

In this week’s Torah portion, Ki Teitzei, we are given a long list of commandments, many dealing with issues of economic justice and ethical behavior. The portion ends with the vehement exhortation about Amalek: "Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left Egypt--how, undeterred by fear of God, he surprised you on …

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