Jewish Time

tools of the trade webSince its inception, my quarterly newsletter has always arrived in subscribers’ inboxes on or before the 10th of the month. I was well-disciplined about writing the articles and designing the layout during the two weeks leading up to the 10th.

Until a few weeks ago, when Hanukkah coincided with Thanksgiving. My children were on a longer school vacation than seemed necessary and my season of extensive travel was finally at an end.

Discipline gave way to indolence as I set my biological clock to Jewish time.

Jewish time generally refers to the fifteen minute delay that accompanies events and celebrations hosted by most Eastern-European Jews, or the thirty minute delay that is more common to Israeli Jews. I once officiated at a wedding at Stanford, where two graduate students were married in a Redwood Grove on campus. They had invited a friend who was originally from Mexico City to hold one of the poles supporting the huppah (wedding canopy), and he arrived nearly two hours late expecting to be early. Mexican Jews, he explained, never begin wedding ceremonies at the time listed on the invitation.

What I’m trying to say is this: I’m sorry to keep you waiting while I was getting in touch with my Jewish roots this quarter. I’m still putting the finishing touches on my newsletter and feeling optimistic that it will go live soon. Subscribers will receive a bonus gift in early 2014, a podcast of my award-winning story “Praying in Parking Lots.”

With this admission of Jewish guilt about being on Jewish time, I share this good news: You still have time to subscribe to my quarterly newsletter using this simple form!   Please be sure to check your email and confirm your subscription with MailChimp.


My Jewish Learning

flying onion 1 webMany of you will recognize the name of this website. If you’ve ever studied with me, in any synagogue or JCC class, chances are that you’ve heard me recommend as a fabulous resource for additional information about whatever topic we were studying.  In addition, hosts numerous blogs, including one written by alumni of Clal’s Rabbis Without Borders.

I was honored to be included in a recent conversation, initiated by Rabbi Rebecca Sirbu, Director of Rabbis Without Borders.  She wrote a post titled “Why Rabbis Should Talk About Israel,” to which our colleague Rabbi Ben Greenberg responded in a post titled “Why Rabbis Shouldn’t Talk About Israel.

I decided to take another approach and to write about why I personally do not talk about Israel.  This is not a blanket rule, nor is Israel a taboo topic for me. But, at least for the moment, I have chosen to talk about other things.  I am grateful for the suggested revisions by MyJewishLearning’s editor and delighted that they posted my piece, titled “Why This Rabbi Does Not Talk About Israel.”

Here’s an excerpt:

Israel is a topic that gets people’s blood pumping and, when emotions run high, impulsivity tends to override thoughtful and rational conversation. We sometimes allow ourselves to say things we later regret. As a rabbi who works primarily with adolescents, I strive to nurture the open-minded exploration of questions about Judaism…read more here

I look forward to your thoughts and comments!