Parsha Vayetzei: Fear, Flight, and Freedom

For most people, Thanksgiving is about food, football, and family. For me it has more in common with the themes of this week’s parsha: fear, flight, and freedom.                 The portion begins with Rebecca and Isaac’s concern over Esau’s interfaith marriage. There have been some hard feelings between brothers and the situation is rapidly deteriorating.Continue reading “Parsha Vayetzei: Fear, Flight, and Freedom”

Parsha Vayetzei: Fear, Flight, and Freedom

For most people, Thanksgiving is about food, football, and family. For me it has more in common with the themes of this week’s parsha: fear, flight, and freedom.                 The portion begins with Rebecca and Isaac’s concern over Esau’s interfaith marriage. There have been some hard feelings between brothers and the situation is rapidly deteriorating.Continue reading “Parsha Vayetzei: Fear, Flight, and Freedom”

Kol Isha: Music as Faith

Perhaps the oldest bit of musical liturgy we have is Miriam’s Song. Parshat Beshalach notes both a stanza of lyrics and the antiphonal (call and response) form.  While this song is the oldest recorded Jewish song, it certainly wasn’t the first. What led up to that moment of spontaneous praise on the shore of theContinue reading “Kol Isha: Music as Faith”

Song & the Jewish People

“The importance of music in the life of the Jewish people is found almost at the beginning of Genesis. … [Musician] is mentioned among the three fundamental professions…. Music was viewed as a necessity in everyday life, as a beautifying and enriching complement of human existence.” Pasternak, Velvel (2003) The Jewish Music Companion p. 9. TheContinue reading “Song & the Jewish People”

Perspective

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to make a pre-birthday, and pre-High Holy Days pilgrimage. I almost didn’t go. I could think of a hundred reasons to stay mired in the darkness I was experiencing, to do the easy and familiar thing, to give up on myself. In fact, I was so downContinue reading “Perspective”

Shabbat: Our Hitting Points

I’ve recently begun to take an interest in NASCAR. I was invited to my first race by a season ticket holding fan, and while it was certainly entertaining, I missed out on a lot of the experience because I didn’t understand what I was watching. Over race weekend at Kentucky Speedway, Sparta Kentucky was theContinue reading “Shabbat: Our Hitting Points”

Parsha B’reishit

Bereishit “[Beginning] God created heaven and earth….” Genesis 1:1 Growing up I spent every summer with my maternal grandparents. I cherished that time to build intimate, meaningful, complex relationships with them. It wasn’t always easy to be a child in a senior household. One summer my parents surprised me with a pottery wheel and aContinue reading “Parsha B’reishit”

Parsha Matot

This week’s parsha is more than a little confusing. The Israelites, standing at the edge of the Jordan, are commanded to form an army and commit genocide. That’s right; God says wipe out ALL the Cannanites. God threatens them that, if they don’t follow through, there’s a comeuppance. Spoiler alert: the Israelite army can’t bringContinue reading “Parsha Matot”