Parenting By Parsha: Bereshit

My first thought when I finished reading this week’s portion was, “Wow, that was a lot.” In one Torah portion, the Bible takes us through two iterations of the creation story, the naming of all the creatures in the world, the tragedy of Cain and Abel, and a litany of descendants spanning from Adam to […]

Parenting By Parsha: Chol HaMoed Sukkot

Tdhis week’s Torah portion is a throwback — way back to Exodus, when the Israelites were about to receive the Torah at Mt. Sinai. This seems a little strange. What is so important about this section of the Torah that makes it worthy of rereading? And why this section, of all the truly important moments […]

Rosh Hashanah with a Persian Twist

As an American with both Persian and Jewish roots, I have the privilege of celebrating new beginnings three times each year on New’s Year’s Eve, Nowruz, and Rosh Hashanah, marking each occasion with its unique traditions. Much like Rosh Hashanah, Nowruz incorporates various symbolic foods to welcome sweetness, prosperity, health, love and other desired attributes […]

Parenting By Parsha: Vayeilech

This week’s Torah portion is short and sweet — just one chapter of the book of Deuteronomy — which suits me just fine. Who has time to be reading long portions of Torah during the first two weeks of Tishrei, anyway? We have plenty of extra readings on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur without worrying […]

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, […]