#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 Rela­tions […]

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 would coin­cide with Tu b’Sh’vat. […]

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 […]

& bring them close 2 #Torah">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 thought. Then, most of the time, I add […]

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 (for fam­i­ly use)
A […]

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. Though she grad­u­at­ed near the […]

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 learn­ing.

The willow’s […]

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 […]