Tree of Life

2017 Omer Calendar: Experience the Omer as a Spiritual Pilgrimage

Each of the days from the second night of Passover, the festival of freedom, until Shavuot, the festival of receiving Torah (where we receive the principles for civilization as a spiritual practice) becomes a spiritual pilgrimage of self-refinement and expanded consciousness in the manner of the Kabbalists -- which we can follow, too.  

Visualization: Torah and Her Garments

B-Mitzvah (R)evolution

Imagine it is time for you to go up to the Torah, perhaps your bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. You are about to become a witness and participant in the reading and interpretation of Torah. Go ahead, approach the aron, the ark; it represents the Ark of the Covenant, in which the Israelites carried the carved tablets with the Ten Commandments in the wilderness. The doors of the ark are opened. You will cross a threshold in your life as an elder or leader of the community places the Torah in your arms. The sacred mantle of leadership is upon you.

Reframing the Chanukkah Christmas Dilemma

A Creative Strategy involving a Passover Twist

When almost all your congregants raise their hands to the question "Do you have a Christmas tree up this season in your home?" it's quite unsettling for a rabbi. This happened to me back in 1989 in a rural pulpit. The Hanukkah-Christmas dilemma full-blown. What to do, if anything?

A creative program came to mind during a night of troubled dreams. The president of the congregation, ever a supporter of my tendency towards R&D on behalf of the Jewish future, organized everything perfectly to my specifications. And the congregants came, almost all of them.