Living A Fully Jewish Life

Six months after the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh where 11 people were killed and six wounded, I sat in a Twin Cities synagogue with my family. We were witnessing a Bat Mitzvah, a beautiful tradition when a young person commits to the religious, moral, and spiritual obligations of Judaism. It’s supposed to […]

I’m Sorry: The Importance Of Tashlich

All of us need to apologize from time to time. I love that Judaism has a compelling and tangible ritual of personal accountability, each year during Rosh Hashannah. Our family has observed the tashlich ceremony with groups and on our own, by a pond near the gravesides of beloved relatives, on a beach with many […]

When School And Work Collide With The Holidays

I have been in school basically my whole life, first as a student, then as a teacher, now as a professor. Every year (except for when I taught at a Jewish day school), I have had to navigate asking for days off for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. I have been lucky, in that I […]

Twistees, Technology, and T’shuva: An Elul Reflection

A new word has entered our popular lexicon courtesy of the Olympics and Simon Biles: a twistee. A twistee occurs when a gymnast experiences a lack of alignment between their body and their mind in executing a gymnastic routine. Biles experienced this in the preliminary warm-ups of the team gymnastics competition in the Tokyo games. […]

More Than A High Holiday Mailer

I just spent two hours with my synagogue’s High Holiday guide which arrived in the mail last week. Two. Hours. Longer than any Pottery Barn catalog I’ve memorized, and I’ve cuddled up with many over the years. I smelled the pages like I would a well-loved, dog-eared Nancy Drew novel in my Grandma’s musty attic. […]

Parenting By Parsha: Ki Tetzeh

When I first conceived of this column, I ran it by an editor friend who told me it was a bad idea. “Aren’t there a lot of weekly portions that won’t connect to parenthood?” she asked me, obviously skeptical about how long I could keep this thing going. I admitted that this was a concern, […]

Parenting By Parsha: Re’eh

This week’s portion is chock-full of interesting things to write about. So full, in fact, that I had to read it a few times before I could choose something. We’re getting into the weeds of the Torah, that section before the Pentateuch wraps up in blazing glory as we get near to Shemini Atzeret this […]

Parenting By Parsha: VaEtchanan

A few weeks ago, my cousins came to visit us from Boston. It was a joyous day — we hadn’t seen one another for ages due to COVID-19 regulations. We hugged, and caught up, and ate cherry pie. Also, they brought a birthday gift for our little one — magnetic tiles to build with.  Our […]

Parenting By Parsha: Dvarim

My kid is a risk-taker. While there may have been some question about this (Does he understand what he’s doing? Did I make the boundaries clear?) it’s now undoubtedly true — this kiddo enjoys pushing the envelope.  I shouldn’t be that surprised to discover this, I suppose. I wasn’t exactly a shy-and-blushing wallflower myself. I […]

From Devils Lake To The Shores Of Devils Lake

I spent the first 14 years of my life in Devils Lake, North Dakota, population about 6,000. Until my brother was born, I was the only Jewish child in town. There were enough adults to gather a minyan for a Yahrzeit. No one kept kosher any longer.  My parents wanted me to have a Jewish […]