When the Planets Aligned

According to my cursory Google search, the last time five planets aligned was in February.

According to my life experience, the planets were perfectly aligned yesterday.


I was rushing from place to place when I became lightheaded. Realizing I hadn’t eaten a proper meal all day and knowing I could make it to my next appointment with five minutes to spare, I stopped at Whole Foods for coffee and a muffin. Let me be clear about something: I hardly ever go into Whole Foods. I can’t remember the last time I was there, but I’m certain it was more than six months ago.

I was looking down at my wallet on the counter to see if I had enough cash when I heard a familiar voice say, “I’ll call you back. I have to hug a friend.” I looked up just in time to throw my arms wide to receive Natali’s greeting.  A few days ago we were Facebook messaging back and forth, lamenting that we hadn’t seen each other since May and wouldn’t see each other before mid-September.

This would be unremarkable, a mere coincidence, if three hours later I hadn’t run into another person just moments after mentioning their name in an even more unlikely place.

Two hours after the second incident, a person I’d met only once before–who was sitting a few feet away from me– looked up and told me she’d suddenly realized my sister-in-law had mentioned me to her earlier in the summer, shortly after we’d first met. She pulled out her phone to show me a picture from when they were together.

I stayed up late into the night, into the early hours of this morning, pondering what Force in the universe brought these three people into my life yesterday.

Do you think God intervenes in the personal lives of humans?

Is it fate?

At dawn, I still don’t know what to believe.


Back to School

One great thing about going back to school is it presents an opportunity to return to routines, though I will allow that I’ve had only moderate success. My eating and sleeping habits may have deteriorated this past week. On the plus side, I’ve reaffirmed my commitment to writing weekly and, so far, I’m on a winning streak.

rwb_logo196Here’s an excerpt of my post at the Rabbis Without Borders blog on I hope you’ll read the full reflection and share your reaction in the comments section. Let’s see if we can keep the Conversational Torah going through Rosh HaShanah:

Reasonable Risks: I spent the summer thinking about how to discuss risk-taking with teenagers. While teens generally have a reputation for taking unreasonable risks, my experience in teaching them is that many are anxious or risk-averse in a classroom setting. I empathize with these students, because Read more →