Speech for Nava’s Bat Mitzvah

I delivered the below speech on the occasion of my eldest daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. The formatting/pacing is designed for my delivery, not for reading – so I offer my apologies in advance.   It is so wonderful to have so many smachot (joyous occasions) that we had to bring the Torah readings into extra innings […]

Chana Cox Funeral Service Video

The service was engaging, entertaining and rewarding with an overflow crowd. She was an impressive woman and I’m delighted we managed to honor her in this way. I’m producing another playbill with memories from the service and beyond…

The Loss of my Mother (my older brother’s eulogy)

Chana Cox created her legacy as she lived: she wrote, passionately, reflexively, and with deep intellectual rigor. I have endless childhood memories of waking up in the morning and finding my way to my mother’s room. She would be at her desk and typing, at a speed that always impressed the heck out of me […]

A Woman of Words (my eulogy)

My mother, Chana Berniker Cox, passed away this Shabbat at dawn in her mountaintop home. I want to share a few things about her. It will, of course, only be a small slice of who she was. My mother was born in Detroit, Michigan. My mom grew up with Yiddish as a first language, only […]

My Mother’s Books

My mother is why I am a writer. She passed away this morning (as I write), March 3, 2019. Please, take a moment, read the below and learn from her. If you want, buy or borrow a book and learn some more. She lived a rich life steeped in the real world – and she […]


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 […]

Nitzavim-Vayeilech: The Minneapolis Lakes Savings & Trust

There are no walls in my new offices. Instead, each of my team’s desks is shaped like a donut with a seat in the middle. They make me think of the battle stations on some sci-fi star cruiser; everybody’s tools are close at hand, and there are no impediments to communication. All it takes to […]

Understanding Circumcision (non-fiction)

I’ve been reading about efforts to ban Brit Milah (circumcision) in Scandinavian countries. There is enormous support for these initiatives and so, as a religious Jew, I felt it was important to explain *why* we do circumcision. I’m going to skip all the tradition-based, health-based, and religious-freedom-based arguments.   I’m going to skip to the […]

Chukat: Pete and the Felon

A kid? What the heck was a kid doing in here? I just stared at the boy in front of me, absolutely stunned by what I was seeing. Who in the heck would bring a kid to this place, much less expose him to me? I sat there, confused, while the kid looked around the […]

Naso: The Tapestry of Michael Jr.

There’s a small crowd gathered in the church. They’re all black people, like me. The place is a run-down corner kinda outfit. The bricks are weathered, but they were never particularly nice. It’s like they were recycled from some other building that got burned down. There’s a cement cross plastered onto the side of the […]