Parshat Tetzaveh: The Secular Kohen

This Torah Short is about an avowedly secular man – who is unexpectedly chosen to be the next Kohen Gadol (High Priest). This story is available as a podcast (above) or text (below). Clock the headline to get to a printable version. I have to say, I was surprised by the knock on my door. […]

Numbers

I open the door to my new office and step in. A cardboard box is in my hand. It has everything I need. I look at the room, with its two walls of tinted glass, its clean carpet and its massive desk. It smells of industrial carpet cleaner, generously applied. It seems to perfectly match […]

Law and the Road to the Jubilee (speech)

This one is a bit technical, but well received. So I figured I’d share it here. In Parshat Yitro (Torah reading of Jethro), the people were told to be ready to ascend the mountain Bimshoch HaYovel.  They were to ascend the mountain when they experienced the transformative entry into the Yovel (Jubilee). But then the […]

Boulevard

The lights flash by on the Boulevard. A light rain has lifted oils off the road. They shine in the streetlights, giving the asphalt a rainbow hue. Their smell rises up from the road and mixes with the exhaust of the cars, filling the air with a gritty scent. As the cars pass by, all […]

Companions

It started when I found a body and discovered a man. I was eleven years old when I found him. My parents insisted that us kids get involved in talking to strangers. They’d sign us up to raise money or sell cookies or even ask poll questions, door-to-door. At first, we were scared silly of […]

The Dangers of Freedom (Speech)

Early in this week’s Torah portion, the Bnei Israel (Children of Israel) find themselves trapped by Egypt. Pharaoh has brought his entire army, and no fewer than 600 choice chariots.   It seems like the Jewish people are in a hopeless position.   But think about the numbers. The Bnei Israel have 600,000 men alone. […]

Busan

My chair is pushed back just a bit from the table in front of me. A low light hangs over it, piercing the cloud of cigarette smoke and illuminating the rough and desperate faces that surround it. Waitresses circulate, wearing clothes too close cut to be appropriate in any normal establishment. Of course, this place […]

The Haversham Trust

The view out the windshield of the car is dark and shifting. There’s no rain. My headlights pick up the shape of the uneven pavement as they bounce over it. My window is open, warm air rushing into the cabin of the truck – keeping me alert and awake. The air smells of evergreen forests […]

The Writ of Heaven (speech)

I’ve decided to publish my speech in Synagogue from last week. It was well received, so perhaps you might enjoy it… As children we read the story of Yetziat Mitzraim (Exodus from Egypt) in a very simple way: Hashem (G-d) chooses Moshe (Moses). Moshe ate a bunch of coals when he was a kid. So […]

The Contract

The thin material of the door thwacks weakly as I knock on it. I’m in the middle of a long hallway – made up of prefab building blocks linked together. The place looks decent, but the lines where the sections meet are marked by little bumps in the carpet and the walls. Nothing lines up […]

Dementia (Speech)

This is my speech on Parshat Vayechi – as delivered in Kehillat Lechu Neranena. — At the opening of this Parsha, we see Yaacov in an incredible state. His own son needs to be introduced to him. And then one moment he is discussing the future while the next, he seems to relive his wife’s […]