#blogelul - act

american jewish world service — judaism in action around the world

values made real

How will you act to make your Judaism real in the world? Consider becoming involved with one of these:

American Jewish World Service
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Uri l’Tzedek — Orthodox Social Justice
Bend the Arc; a Jewish Partnership for Justice
Jews for Racial and Economic Justice
Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps
Jewish Community Action
Jewish Community […]

jewish environmentalism and tu b'sh'vat

a thought regarding the history of Jewish environmentalism

In January of 1970 I needed to make (what for me then was) a significant personal decision. I was born on January 22 on the Gregorian calendar. However, the year I was born, that date corresponded with Rosh Jodesh Sh’vat. I noticed then, that in 1970 January 22 […]

time for pruning

the days grow short, the moon fills and begins to wane.

The date clusters hang ready.
Come with me to the oasis.
The late summer harvest has begun.
I sort the fruit of my past year’s labor.

The fruit is full and sweet.
I look back on my year’s efforts with satisfaction.

The time for pruning has come.
Much dross weighs down my […]

love humanity, & bring them close 2 #Torah

studying pirkei avot during the omer

During the period of the Omer I have been studying Pirkei Avot. This is a traditional activity for the period, but I have been doing it in a non-traditional manner. I take each Mishnah and break it down into as few words as I can, yet still express a meaningful […]

beyond the straits and narrow

a growing haggadah

We printed a private new edition of A Growing Haggadah last year for personal use. We will use it again this year. If you are interested in having a PDF version of the text to print and use (in whole or in part) at your Seder you can download it here:

A Growing Haggadah […]

pirkei imahot

I am not the first to use the phrase, but beginning on March 15, 2000 I began a file in which I collected our mother’s sayings. I will periodically share them here. One of her primary expressions was:

if you can’t say anything nice about someone,
don’t say it

It’s that simple.

Our mother was not a learned person. […]

giving and taking


On May Day, The New York Times published an article about how to determine how much money you should donate, suggesting that “God Knows“. The article states that “Americans gave away 2.2 percent of their personal disposable income to nonprofit groups of various sorts in 2008”. It reviewed the usual amounts suggested by various “Western” […]

Shake a Biblical Bouquet

[…from the archives (with minor updating)]:
The cool blankets act like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest [Isaiah 18:4]

During which we share a Biblical Bouquet:

Our rabbis tell us this bouquet is like our people:

Some with many good deeds,
others with much learning;
Some with neither…
Some with both.

The Four Species Table


is like good deeds.


is like […]

In spite of everything, would she still believe?

If she had not been murdered by the Nazis in early March 1945, Anne Frank would turn 80 years old on 12 June 2009.

Anne Frank in an age progression image at 80 years old

What would you say to Anne Frank if you were to meet her on the street? …that she transformed your life? […]

Be Happy, It's Adar

On 23 February, 2009, in honor of Rosh Ḥodesh Adar 5769:

The Hebrew text around the edge says: MiShenichnas Adar Marbim BeSimcha(When Adar Comes, Joy Is Increased)
משניכנס אדר מרבין בשימחה

Why should joy increase when the month of Adar begins? Because this is the true end of winter which was heralded by Tu b’Shvat two weeks […]