Hanukkah: Defying Darkness

You might remember the story of Hanukkah in Billings, Montana in 1993. Years of anti-Semitic rhetoric, pamphlets, and talk from the local Ku Klux Klan chapter culminated in someone throwing a cinderblock through a Hanukkah-decorated window of a 5 year old Jewish child. There were about 50 Jewish families in this town of 80,000 mostly-white, […]

An invitation.

There’s a famous story about a brilliant young man who entered Harvard Law School at the age of 18. It was 1875, a time of anti-Semitic discrimination and quotas. The young man was repeatedly told he could have an extraordinary legal career – maybe even serve on the Supreme Court – if only he were […]

When the Barber Shop Gets Spiritual

When the Barber Shop Gets Spiritual

Every year I discover new dimension in the Jewish calendar, sparking my curiosity about some ancient custom or ritual and looking for meaning and application in my everyday life. Enter Lag B’Omer. This year, my next haircut is getting spiritual. Lag B’Omer? Say What? Lag B’Omer is a Hebrew calendar date, the 33rd day of […]

Marking Yom HaZikaron

The full name of Yom HaZikaron – Israeli Memorial Day – is “Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism.” What began as a time to remember Israeli soldiers killed in the line of duty later expanded to remember victims of terrorism as well, and as of today, there have been […]

Passover Pro-Tips

A not exhaustive but decently comprehensive list for seder hosting By: Rabbi Jeff Stombaugh   Plan Ahead The beginning of the seder should not be the first time you’re picking up the Haggadah. Get to know the book, and make some decisions about what you want to do and not do for your seder. You […]

The Love You Give

People don’t know this, but Judaism is ALL ABOUT LOVE. The word in Hebrew is ahavah. Say it with me: inhale…, exhale a-ha-vah. Do it again! Feels good to say it, feels good to breathe it. I spent a lot of decades of life being single, enjoying Valentines’ Day vicariously though other peoples’ romances. I watched […]

The God I Work For

By: Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann (As told at Light and Heat: Stories of Hope and Defiance, December 2018) A rabbinic mentor gave me this piece of advice when I was applying to rabbinical school: in any school, any movement within Judaism… you’re banging your head against a wall. The question is which wall. A movement is defined […]