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Flashback: Shabbat Katrina

The following essay was written in September of 2005, shortly after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf coast. I’m posting it now because themes of charity loom large at this time of year. I think that we are faced with a crisis that is at once larger and more intangible than a hurricane. There is no single geographic area to which we can point, no state border across which you can find “aid... read more

Shabbat Vayishlach (Gen. 32:4-36:43)

http://www.jtsa.edu/PreBuilt/ParashahArchives/jpstext/vayishlah.shtml I love this part of the Torah. There is so much going on. In this portion, Jacob’s story continues. He wrestles with himself, with an angel, or with God. (maybe that should be “and” instead of “or”) He meets and reconciles with Esau (although there is a questionable “embrace”) during their... read more

Remind me why we do this again?

I have something to admit: My family thinks Thanksgiving is a big let-down. I realize this is about as close to blasphemy as you can get in American culture. Give me a chance to explain, and to offer a solution. Facing the hard cold facts, my family and I do *A LOT* of Jewish celebrating through the year. From Passover (which is at the top of our list) to Sukkot, and all the various moments in-between... read more

Shabbat Vayaytzay (Gen. 28:10-32:3)

http://www.jtsa.edu/PreBuilt/ParashahArchives/jpstext/vayetze.shtml We pick up this week with Jacob traveling – running for his life, actually – to the home of Laban. On his way, he has a vision of a ladder that extends to heaven, angels traveling both up and down. He arrives at his mother’s home and meets Rachel at the well. He works 7 years to marry her, only to find on the morning... read more

Iron Chef Judaica!

Here’s my open letter to the Food Network. If you agree, feel free to send your own letter via the Food Network’s contact page. I would like to see a “Passover Challenge” on Iron Chef. The secret ingredient would be matzo (meal, crackers, full sheets, etc) and the challengers would have to cook within the limits of kosher-for-passover rules (nothing with leavening, wheat, spelt,... read more

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