Honoring Two Sides of the Same Moon with Faith

As the moon arcs its cycle from new moon to full moon, we can notice our own cycles of darkness and light.  The moon has guided our ancestors in the planting, sowing and reaping of their crops and we can be inspired to observe and honor the same cycles which connect us to the natural […]

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Enter the ark and find the beauty within the storm – Parsha Noach

This week’s parsha (Torah chapter) is from the first book of the Torah, Genesis or Bereishit which is usually translated as, “In the Beginning.” It involves the famous story of Noah’s Ark. The story says that Noah was the only righteous man in a corrupted world. He is told by G-d to make an ark […]

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Jewel of Elul – Searching for Enlightenment

from Jewels of Elul VII Elul Day 7 – Searching For Enlightenment by Alison Laichter When I was a teenager, I read every book I could find on meditation. Almost all of the books talked about enlightenment, which fascinated me. I thought it meant that if I meditated enough, something would suddenly change. I would […]

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Making solo space within — Parsha Tazria

This week’s Torah portion, Tazria, explains that during specific periods in a person’s life, she or he must spend time in physical seclusion, truly alone, in order to return physically and spiritually to a balanced state of being; once a person returns to this place of balance, she is then ready to return to the […]

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Kosher on the inside – Parsha Sh’mini

This week’s Torah portion, Sh’mini, begins on the eighth day of the consecration of the tabernacle (or mishkan) which is the traveling dwelling place for God’s presence. Moses summons Aaron, his sons, and the elders of Israel and instructs them on the varied offerings they will be bringing before God with the hope of God […]

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Re’eh – See!

Parsha Re’eh – ראה – Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17 This week’s parsha, Re’eh, begins with the line “See (re’eh), I place before you today a blessing and a curse.” Basically, Moses is offering the Israelites two options: follow the rules and be blessed; abandon God and be cursed. Moses instructs the people on the laws of the […]

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MoMA, meditation, musings

This afternoon, I met up with a friend at the Museum of Modern Art. The main attraction right now is the Marina Abramović retrospective, “The Artist Is Present.” The piece that everyone is lined up to watch and/or participate in is on the second floor, with big lights, and a simple table and two chairs. […]

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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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Fear, vulnerability, a room full of seventh graders

Last night a room full of seventh graders sat silently, followed their breath, contemplated the Sh’ma, practiced listening, and asked lots of insightful and deep questions. Usually these classes are small- five to ten students, but last night the entire 7th grade class decided they wanted to learn Jewish meditation. I tried to get half […]

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Faking It

One of my core spiritual beliefs is the power of “faking it ’til you make it.” I was on a silent retreat recently, where I dropped out of the “advanced” class, because it felt too academic and intellectual for what I wanted at that moment. People in that class were debating about nondualism versus dualism, […]

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