Jews and Campaign Buttons: A Time-Honored Tradition

a selection of Jewish-themed campaign buttons 1940-2016

A briefer version of this blog post, with fewer illustrations, was published as “Ten Minutes of Torah” on October 27, 2016 on

Strangers don’t often interact on New York’s streets. Yet, this election season, I am often stopped and asked about my political lapel button.

Generally, I have found […]


through a sea of sound

Shabbat Shirah usually marks the beginning of Jewish Music Month. However, I’ve not seen any reference to it this year. Nonetheless, it is appropriate that this week marks the celebration of a significant anniversary in American Jewish music.

from חזן to opera star

The family in which I grew up was (to put […]

#blogelul : counting


the numbers’ game
[Note: not all of the buttons used to illustrated this game represent the concept expressed in the numbers; some are used because they display that number.]

The children played by the shore, allowing the ball to bounce lightly on their finger tips before they popped it over to the other side of the line. […]

first they came for the canary

what are the police doing in egypt?

At a certain point during the recent (2011) Egyptian revolution it was not always clear with which side the police identified. These Police are different. They’re singing about canaries in coal mines. They offer a personalized variant of the old metaphor.

First to fall over when the atmosphere is […]

let us make light

a candle lighting kavanah in honor of shabbat of bereishit
As our week ends, we focus on how our own lives mirror cosmic events.

Shabbat now begins.
We have completed a full week of creation.

Now we focus inward for a short time;
of what has this week consisted?

We bring to consciousness aspects of our week just passed:

Was there […]

Hiroshima 広島市 Day Again (may we have many)

Last year at this time I wrote about the “MAD”ness of nuclear armaments. In essence:

There does not seem to be much value in having nuclear weapons.

They may exist for a MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) purpose. And yet, many people tell me that Israel’s enemies don’t care about MAD, because they (as well as dispensationalist Christians) […]

מזל טוב

queen city of the west

When Debbie and I decided to continue our rabbinic studies at the Cincinnati, Ohio campus of HUC-JIR rather than at the New York campus, a number of our friends made fun of us. They joked that we’d spend all our time in rocking chairs on the porch of our apartment. We […]

Elul Homework 2 (I've done that too!)

confirmation and verification

Sometimes we think that we are the only person who has done such terrible things to others. It can be liberating and forgiving for us, and those others like us, to learn that we are not alone. It also often feels good to have others “sign off” on recognizing that we may have […]

Sho'a Nightmares

In April of 1997 I wrote (as an aside) to a forum of colleagues:

I think every teenage Jewish child ought to have a week of Sho’a related nightmares. If we can reenact the Exodus and living in Sukkot, why not the Sho’a?

Only one person responded. However, that response was quite intense. I will not quote […]