Parsha Bo: Finding Freedom in the Bread of Blah

This week the Exodus story continues as G-d rains plagues down on Egypt to defeat Pharaoh and free the Israelites from slavery. This week’s parsha, Bo, meaning “Go,” begins with G-d’s telling Moses to go to Pharaoh and warn him of the eighth plague, locusts. The warning, of course, falls on deaf ears, and the […]

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Parsha Va’eira: On Using Our Breath and Opening Our Ears.

Va’eira, meaning “and I appeared”, recounts Moses’ conscription to be the leader of the Israelites and the first seven of the ten plagues inflicted on Egypt in response to Pharaoh’s refusal to free the enslaved Hebrews or even allow them the freedom to worship. The parsha is ominous and frustrating: it catalogues the obstinance of […]

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The Wisdom of the Simple Child – Passover Kavanah

This week, we are stepping away from the weekly Torah portion to focus more closely on the Passover, or Pesach, holiday. As my connection to Judaism and spirituality has grown, changed, faded, and then evolved entirely, so has my understanding of Passover and how it relates to my modern day life. Such is a struggle […]

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Passover as a birthing story

I have to admit I’ve avoided writing this for a long time. Not because I didn’t want to write about it and not because I don’t love the topic – as a long-time meditator, longer-time Jew, Jewish Meditation Center Board member and sit leader in my local community, I’m pretty involved. It’s just that when […]

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JMC Passover Roundup

Passover starts next week… Click below to get in the mood for the Passover holiday: JMC’s 2011 Passover Haggadah Insert is here! Download it, print it, and use it at your seder. Please share it with your friends and family! Click here for instructions and download (and you can access last year’s insert, too) Google […]

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The task at hand – Parsha Beshalach

This weeks Torah portion, Beshalach, conveys some wonderful insights into the contemplative practices that we have been exploring together at the JMC. The story opens as the Israelites have embarked on the exodus from Egypt following a long and painful process of liberation. The text tells us that Pharaoh expressed regret for allowing the nation […]

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Counting the Omer

I’ve been reading a lot about the mitzvah (commandment/good deed) of “counting the omer.” The word “omer” translates to “measure,” and the practice began with the measuring of grain to be offered at the ancient Temple. Now, we’re not counting grain, but we’re counting days- from the second night of Passover to Shavuot, when the […]

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Zissen Pesach/Gut Yontif/Chag Sameach/Happy Passover!

This year, my reflections on Pesach took me back to some learning I did last year, with Rabbi David Silber at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education. A piece of his analysis of the biblical text inspired me to prepare a class on this topic last Shavuot; over the course of the past year, the […]

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Let Your Pharaoh Go!

Passover is approaching. This weekend, during a picnic on a beautiful Spring day, I was explaining to a friend who doesn’t have much knowledge of Jewish holidays why Passover is my favorite: “It’s an easy metaphor. No need to invoke the mystics, you don’t need to get all hippie about it, it’s perfectly set up […]

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