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On September 28, 2019

The Jewish New Year – Why Now?

It’s a new year.  One of four.  This one is the new year we count foreign kings’ reigns  by.  (This is sort of like all race horses having January 1 for their official birthdays.)  A few months from now will be the new year for taxing trees.  In the spring, is the new  year for
On September 23, 2019

Missing from your wedding…

People are getting married later in life than they did 20 or 30 years ago.  Because of this, there are often dear relatives the couple would have loved to have been present at their wedding, but who are no longer alive.  Sometimes the couple would like to remember them at the ceremony but not in
On November 15, 2018

Professional or no?

I’ve performed a lot of weddings, but I’ve also been a guest at weddings, some performed by professionals and some not. The non-professional officiants are usually friends of the couple. They know them well and understand what sort of wedding ceremony the couple wants. Some of the ceremonies are terrific. Some are, well, lacking. They
On September 25, 2018

Judaism Unbound

I had a great time talking with Dan and Lex of Judaism Unbound. You can hear the podcast at here or at Judaism Unbound’s Facebook page.
On August 21, 2018

“Blindspotting”

Here’s an important article from the J – The Jewish News of Northern California. When I was in kindershule and mittleshule, there were black Jewish kids who attended, too. I don’t know what their experience in the wider Jewish world was – but this article might be a hint.
On May 6, 2018

Traditional/Not-traditional

“We want a Jewish wedding – but..: I hear that a lot from my wedding couples. What they mean, is they want to honor the Jewish heritage of one or both members of the couple, but they don’t want to hear words they don’t believe or be tied to specific ways of carrying out these
On April 21, 2018

My Favorite Wedding

From time to time, I’m asked, what was my favorite wedding. Sometimes I think maybe it was the one I did for my next-door-neighbor. Or maybe my first one, my sister’s, 30 years ago this month. Or a lovely outdoor wedding in Ann Arbor where the couple recited the verse from Walt Whitman, “I give
On January 31, 2018

Tu B’Shvat

Lessons from the Seven Species we eat at Tu B’Shvat. The date: The date palm is a tree that has no flowers and no smell to draw attention to it. But the fruit is delicious. The date reminds us that there are so many places in our world we might think unremarkable, so many plants
On January 4, 2018

Toxic nationalism is not new

My great-aunt and grandmother lived through the Petlurya pogroms. Their stories would give you nightmares. When I remember this, I fear for our increasingly tribalized world, and our increasingly tribalized country. Pogroms have happened here – not against Jews – and could again. We Jews have the obligation to defend our neighbors. We’ve seen this