face to face

שלום button produced by habonim

virtual and real life relationships

If you are reading this, you know that I believe in the value of “virtual” or “Internet relationships“, though not of the intimate kind. In fact, it’s written over there in the upper left corner that “For many years I have worked hard, and struggled with mastering virtuous. Now, in addition, […]

#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. […]

6 on a scale of 1 to 10?

judge everyone, how?

In Pirke Avot 1:6, R. Joshua ben Perachiah says:

והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות

The phrase is variously translated as:

judge every man in the scale of merit
judge every man towards merit
Judge every person favorably
Give all individuals the benefit of the doubt
Judge the whole of a man to the side of merit

It is hard […]

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 […]

it's very clear

our love is here to stay

While preparing a wedding drash for this past week I learned that Ira Gershwin channeled Isaiah 54:10 in this week’s haftarah portion.


For the mountains may move
And the hills be shaken,
But my loyalty shall never move from you,
Nor My covenant of friendship be shaken


In time the Rockies may tumble,
Gibraltar may crumble,
They’re […]

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 […]

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” […]

esther’s song

purim in november

On Thursday night, November 19, 2009, Debbie and I went to see the opera Esther at the New York City Opera in Lincoln Center.
The opera, the last one by composer Hugo Weisgall is based on the biblical Book of Esther. It uses the basic storyline (with some modifications in the sequence […]

steve’s song

jews and judaism in american elite culture .01

On Sunday evening, November 8, 2009 I attended “Steve Reich Talks about his Jewish Music at JMF“. I was a bit surprised (after being told to reserve my free tickets in advance) that there were perhaps fifty people in the hall waiting to hear the words […]

How did the על חטא (al ḥet) begin?

I don’t know.However, I imagine it something like this

[…from the archives (with minor updating)]:
Bethami knew the way down the narrow windswept alleyways of Tiberias blindfolded

The lapping of the tiny waves of Galilee offered a constant guide. She had walked this path many times, since her earliest years, when she went with her mother to visit […]