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 […]

The People of the…

We have been called a People of the Book for nearly 1400 years. We did not invent the term. It was given to us (as well as to Christians) by our cousins the Muslims. Nonetheless, even as our technologies move us beyond the physical book, the text remains. We return to the text that has […]

Hiroshima 広島市 Day ☮

The first nuclear weapon “Little Boy” was dropped on the city of Hiroshima on Monday, August 6, 1945.

nuclear disarmament lapel button

calling for nuclear disarmament then

I have a clear memory from long ago, sometime around 1959: walking with my family down Hollywood Boulevard, somewhere near Vine. We were part of a demonstration calling for […]

Faye Avrunin Hurvitz ז

…from the archives (with minor updating), reposted on what would be her 4th Yahrtzeit

Faye Hurvitz celebrates her 90th birthday a bit early with her family gathered, August 2003

21st of Tevet 5674 – 8th of Tammuz 5765
December 20 1913 (the winter solstice) – July 14, 2005

Our mother, Faye Hurvitz, died July 14, 2005 (8th of Tammuz […]

weaving together fringes of Jewish life“?">What is the meaning of:
weaving together fringes of Jewish life“?

Do you wear a Kippah and/or Tzitzit?

On September 24, 1996 I asked my rabbinic colleagues… in particular, those who wear Kippot (and request/require the students in their congregations to wear Kippot when either studying or entering the synagogue), whether they wear Tzitzit as well, and if not, why.
My original question was not so much about […]

19th Century Jewish Cultural Hero

I collect (American) Judaic lapel buttons.
I have approximately 3000 unique items. Each one represents a different moment in the American Jewish experience.
Periodically I share them here.

My uncle was named after Mendele Mocher Sforim (the “Grandfather of Yiddish literature”). His older brother, my father was always called Nathan or Nate, though he was named Nechemia. I’ve […]

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 […]

Why Wine?

[cross posted at the Jew and the Carrot].

At Pesach we drink a lot of wine. Why is it called the symbol of our joy?

In an arid environment, wine can be seen a method of preservation. If you do not live or work near a well or a spring or some other source of […]