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.
Where Have You Been?! It's true...I haven't been writing much lately. Teaching every morning at The Weber School has definitely curtailed my screen time, which isn't a bad thing. It just requires my adjusting to new routines.
My students are on a class trip today, so I'm working from home—catching up on writing, emails and studio time....
The Weber School In the spring of 2008, I announced to my students at The Weber School that I was taking a sabbatical to complete the manuscript of Found in Translation: Common Words of Uncommon Wisdom and to be more available to my family. I planned to spend a year replenishing my spirit and reorienting my rabbinate to focus on adult education...
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...
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...
I’m at the Rabbis Without Borders blog this week, sharing some things I’ve learned from friends and colleagues I meet at political protests and rallies. I hope you’ll visit and leave me your comments at the website. Here are a few lines to whet your appetite:
Showing Up: I remember asking, just before the photographer took the picture, “Should we smile, or look serious?” My rabbi quipped, “I only have one facial expression in photos.” I remember thinking, just after the photographer took the picture, “I’ll have to check Facebook when I get home to see if it’s the same as mine.” And when I did, Read more →
Shlepping Boxes: These are some pictures taken yesterday morning at the Capitol, where we delivered 75,000 letters from Georgia citizens opposing HB 757, the so-called First Amendment Defense Act, to Governor Deal. You can see more on Facebook, especially at the Georgia Equality and Georgia Unites Against Discrimination pages.
I’m at the Rabbis Without Borders blog this week, sharing some of my students’ wisdom with the world. At the end of first semester, students wrote poems of tribute and eulogy to a family member who influenced their lives. Visit the blog to read my reflection about what I’ve learned from my students at The Weber School, as well as read Isabel’s poem about her great-grandfather and watch her slide show, which includes beautiful photos and documents related to his immigration. You’ll also find links there to the Jewish Writing Project, where Ruthie’s poem about her grandmother was published on Monday. Finally, you may view videos created by Danielle, David and Jack below.
Exceeded Expectations: There is a famous story in the Talmud that describes several rabbis arguing about… Read more →
An introduction to Jack’s video:
On the first day of school, when I shared my goal of studying Torah with my students in order to help them find wisdom in its pages that would help them flourish as human beings and 21st century Jews, Jack told me he was an atheist. I think he was surprised when I validated his point of view and challenged him to search for wisdom in the stories nonetheless. Throughout first semester Jack shared his views with an unusual mixture of critical thinking and good humor, but never got especially excited about writing assignments. When I announced the final project would be a multimedia presentation of their poems, Jack expressed delight. He brought all of his passion for music and making videos to this project. His creativity and generosity evident in this work–he included every student and the teacher who shares our classroom in the credits–inspire me. Watching his video, I cried while laughing and thinking about what a privilege it is to teach and learn from my students.
Last Sunday at this time I was driving home from a powerful art exhibit at the Roswell Community Masjid. It was cold and rainy, and I was exhausted from a long week. But I wouldn’t have missed it, because the exhibit was conceived, curated and displayed by my friends with the express purpose to goal “to increase public knowledge and to promote understanding of the Muslim community through art.”
Friday I heard part of a news broadcast about a suicide bombing in Beirut. I was leaving town for 2 days in the mountains where I would be disconnected and unplugged. Still, on Friday night and Saturday, a few people who heard the news told me of the attacks in Paris. When I asked if there was a connection to the attack in Beirut, no one had heard about that incident.
Today, as I scroll through my newsfeed on Facebook, I’m struck by the number of posts by friends that mention only the Paris attacks. Some friends from the interfaith community, those who work for social justice and attempt to build bridges of peace between disparate groups, note the dearth of news coverage of terrorism outside western Europe.
I understand why Paris hits closer to home for some citizens of the United States. But now, when people all over the world are dying at the hands of other people, I pray for all of us to find peace.
Now, more than before, we need to reach toward our neighbors who seem different and embrace them. We need to work together.
My friend Khadeejah at Inflections, Islamic Arts Exhibit