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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 a rabbi, parent, teacher, artist and author. An inveterate Scrabble player and New York Times Crossword Puzzle fanatic, she credits her love of words to her parents, who encouraged her to develop her vocabulary through reading and using the dictionary at an early age. Since her ordination from...

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Upside-Down Day

Today is Purim! It’s a holiday when things are all topsy-turvy with celebration. We begin the merry-making on the first of the month of Adar—this year it was on February 20th and marked my son’s 13th birthday according to the Jewish calendar. For me, it’s been a remarkable month of Adar.

Sharing a bit of my Purim joy with you today: I hope you enjoy these three links from the days leading up to my upside-down day:

waldman1. On my Purim Soundtrack: A song that makes me want to dance.

2. On my Purim Bookshelf: Megillat Esther, by J.T. Waldman: “In what may be the world’s first religious, scholarly comic book, Waldman tells the epic tale of exile and redemption in graphic form.”

3. My monthly post on the Rabbis Without Borders blog was about an amazing spiritual moment I experienced at a Bat Mitzvah celebration, just a few days before my son became a Bar Mitzvah:

rwb_logo196Bat Mitzvah Girl Speaks Volumes, Without Saying a Word: If I close my eyes and sit quietly, I can still picture the expression on her face. My breath catches in my throat. Read more →

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Overcompensation

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I’m looking out the window at mostly empty streets. The air temperature is not yet above freezing, but there are now puddles where there was ice overnight. Schools are closed again today; Ms. Ginger will not need to maneuver her bus through these hilly streets, holding her breath and praying for the safe delivery of her cargo, our children.

winter storm 2015

The dog goes out to take care of her business and I stand at the front door, examining the thin layer of wet snow and remembering last year. The crunching noise her paws make as she runs to her favorite spot are a faint echo of the sound of D’s van rolling into my neighbor’s SUV, parked there because even drivers of heavy cars and trucks found the hill impassable.

five collided cars street view webI remember D describing his desperate attempt to drive past the wreckage on my lawn. After hours of crawling through highway traffic, he arrived at the top of the hill at 11:00 p.m. and stopped the car. His 2-year old daughter was still at school, less than ½ mile away, waiting for a parent to take her home.

Seeing the abandoned cars lining both sides of the street and believing he could slide between them, he eased his foot off the brake pedal and began to coast. D knew his daughter was already asleep; he wanted to be there when she woke up the next morning.

I remember D’s friend telling me that D stayed in his car for about an hour after it slid to a stop and hit the SUV on my lawn. He didn’t want to ring our doorbell and disturb us so late at night.

When it got too cold to wait any longer, he walked the last leg of his journey—stopping at The Home Depot for several hours to get warm—to be at school before sunrise to greet his daughter.

Last year, the city, county and state officials underestimated the weather.  To our peril.

This year, they are likely overcompensating—closing school at every prediction of snow—to ensure our safety. I’m stymied by the angry response to this overcompensation. Why would I complain or condemn school officials on Facebook? I would rather watch the snow melt while my kids sleep, safe and warm in their beds, knowing that a few miles north of here D is probably doing the same thing.

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SOJOURN with me

Having a sojourn (noun, temporary stay) at the SOJOURN blog this week, where I share some thoughts about parenting, personal growth and prom dresses.

3littleblackdresses

For those of you who don’t live in the southeast, where school ends in the middle of May, you’re probably surprised to learn that shopping for prom dresses is a February activity in Atlanta. This ordinary experience sparked a conversation with my daughter and this reflection on our relationship.

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sojourn squareComing Out, Again: “Of course our relationship hasn’t changed. I haven’t changed. I was always this person, you just didn’t know it.”

We are shopping for a prom dress—something simple yet elegant—when she says this to me. We are having no success finding her a dress, which is frustrating but not causing any conflict. Our mother-daughter relationship… Read more →

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