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February 2015 Workshops Prayer Beads in Three Faiths Thursday, February 5, 2015 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon The Atlantic Institute (Istanbul Cultural Center) 591 N Main Street, Alpharetta Meet Cathy Crosby of the Neshama Interfaith Center, Addie Schneider of Temple Kol Emeth & our friends at The Atlantic Institute for informal...

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American Guild of Judaic Art New Vision. New Website. New Year. This new “virtual” home for the Guild was created by dedicated  members from all over the country with different talents and skills, who worked diligently to make the site easy to use, informative and—most importantly—the best venue to display AGJA members’ art.  I stand...

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Neshama Interfaith Center Marian Monahan, a founder of the Neshama Interfaith Center, speaks in the voice of a prophet. She preached these words on Mother's Day at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Atlanta, and has graciously allowed me to share them here: Those of you who know me are aware that I'm quite involved in the interfaith...

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Encountering Angels: Reading Genesis with my Children In this book, my children and I blend traditional Jewish learning and personal experience in our commentary on Genesis, making it unlike any other book written about the biblical text and rabbinic literature related to Genesis.  Like most books of biblical commentary written by rabbis, it examines the text through the...

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Pamela Jay Gottfried is an ordained rabbi, teacher, mother, and self-described wordie. An inveterate Scrabble player and New York Times Crossword Puzzle fanatic, she credits her love of words to her third grade teacher and her parents, who encouraged her to develop her vocabulary through reading and using the dictionary...

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Christmas Music

“A Season to Remember”
for Miriam*

Some wounds,
old wounds,
with their ragged edges,
with their hardened skin,
never fully heal.

We sat in the dimmed living room,
lights twinkling on the tree,
listening to Christmas music,
and she said,

“My mother loved this time of year.”
I caught a glimpse
of her mother’s face,
saw the flame of the scented candle
reflected in the lens of her eyeglasses.
Her mother took care of me,
after I was fully grown
and already a mother.

Some wounds,
never fully healed,
reopen.
I daub at its soft center,
applying gentle pressure,
collecting the droplets of blood
with a damp napkin.

Santa looks up at me
from my dessert plate,
and winks.

I love this time of year.
The car radio is tuned
to the Christmas music station,
as I drive to the supermarket.
I walk the aisles humming Christmas music.
I carefully check my groceries for Kosher certification,
before loading them into the cart.

“I once wrote about how much I love
Christmas music,”
I tell her.

“I remember that blog post,” she replies.
Temporarily silenced by my memories,
by her loss,
I fail to say,
“I remember your mother.”

tiferet logo 2

*Thanks to Miriam for reminding me that I’d written this poem (in December 2012), which originally appeared on the Tiferet website.

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Book Giveaway: The Fool Returns

Congratulations to Jan R. of Atlanta, GA! Jan won a copy of The Fool Returns in the Hanukkah Book Giveaway. Thanks to everyone who participated.

I could telthe fool returnsl you the story of how I met Tom Block—author whose eclectic body of work defies classification, playwright and visual artist—but I would rather tell you about his latest book and first novel, The Fool Returns. Like the story of how we met, this story winds its way across continents and collects an unusual cast of characters in its path. Bill, the book’s hero, travels through time, as well, in a quest to discover his family’s connection to a centuries-old mystery. Tom’s creativity bursts through on every page, in his detailed descriptions of people and places that Bill encounters as he approaches his final destination. You will want to follow Bill’s every step along the journey; that’s all I will tell you about the book, because I do not want to risk divulging any secrets.

Order additional copies of The Fool Returns (available from Amazon): it’s a great gift!

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Why I Turned off the Television

eyesDid you watch the video of Eric Garner’s death? Do you want to know why wish I hadn’t?

Visit the Rabbis Without Borders blog on MyJewishLearning.com to join the conversation and to read words of wisdom posted by my RWB colleagues.

Do My Eyes Deceive Me? I prefer to get my news by listening to public radio….Because I’m sensitive, I try to avoid graphic pictures and videos on television and social media; when I do see a disturbing image, it tends to get stuck in my mind. Read more →

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