Tag Archives: Tradition


Is Law a Kind of Love?

In an implicit polemic against Judaism, some strands of Christian theology suggest that Jesus replaced law with love, supplanting countless rules from the Torah with an all-encompassing love as expressed in God’s incarnation. But we do not need to shy away from this critique of Jewish law entirely, even if it is also associated with the central figure of a religious tradition now separate from our own — and even… Read Article →

Name Tag

These Are My Names

When my husband and I made aliyah last August, I was looking forward to bringing my name with me to Israel. I felt confident that my name would feel at home here immediately, even if I did not. While “Minna” is not a common name in Israel, it’s easily understood and certainly not the oddity that it is in the US. Unlike the stories of immigrants having their names mangled… Read Article →

jay's family

An Unexpected Family Tradition

As most parents know, when you have small children, your social life takes a major hit. Gone are the days when Friday night meant going out and blowing off steam at the end of a hard week. But just because you have to stay home, does that mean that you can’t have fun on a Friday night? The answer, I am happy to say, is no. My wife and I… Read Article →

Tzedakah Box

To Give

Recently, as we prepared for our end of year appeal, a colleague asked if it was appropriate to solicit donations from those who receive tuition assistance. It is a frequent question, asked with consideration for those in need. My answer is always the same: in both Jewish tradition and fundraising best practice, it is not only appropriate but an obligation to make the same request of all members of the… Read Article →


Sukkot: Staying a Little Bit Longer

My sukkah, my little holiday booth, is up. A few of my students came by today, pulled the old wooden frame with its lattice-work sides out of the garage, and put it together.  The whole construction job took about 15 minutes, but created a moment of great significance and joy. Sukkot is far and away my favorite holiday of the Jewish year. It forces me to spend time outdoors, something… Read Article →


Divine-Human Partnership

It’s hard to know which should make us more afraid: the notion that the human being or God is the absolute master of history. It is difficult to decide in the name of which of these attitudes more blood has been spilled, or which is more likely to destroy the world first. As I write, war rages across much of the Middle East; from afar one can only weep and… Read Article →


Eser to the Rescue: Passover Edition

Passover has always been my favorite Jewish holiday. The story of freedom, the props – 10 plague finger puppets, the inflatable matzah beach ball, the food (you know your yearly serving of gefilite fish was something to complain about BUT also an awesome way to get an extra dose of horseradish), the fashion (when your childhood dining room includes the stairs to the kids bedrooms, you have a perfect runway… Read Article →


Eser Discusses Interfaith Relationships

“How Jewish are you?” is how religion first came up in our relationship. Bart asked me on our second date. Even though I thought it was an odd question for someone whose JDate profile read “willing to convert,” I played along and answered. Bart “came clean” immediately: not a J. Two years later, we’re enjoying discussion and debate in our Monday night Eser group. Though we come from different backgrounds,… Read Article →


The Power of Stories

This month our Rising Voices Fellows explore their relationships to Passover traditions. Be sure to check theJWA blog each Tuesday for a new post from our fellows—and check out the great educational resources provided by our partner organization, Prozdor. When I was younger, if you had asked me which of the many Jewish holidays is my favorite, I would never have said Passover. The restrictions that Passover requires made it hard for me to… Read Article →


Recreating Passover Memories for Our Children

Scallions transformed into the whips of Egyptian task masters, an imaginary suitcase for a journey from Egypt to the Promised Land and someone in an embroidered Egyptian ensemble—these are my childhood memories from the Passover seders my family and I enjoyed with friends in their very eclectic home. Our friends had nine children; the father was from Brooklyn and always ready for a debate, and the mother was from Egypt… Read Article →