For sermons, teaching and discussions "To Save One Life..." Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Sources on Orphans and Adoption
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Sources on Orphans and Adoption
Multicultural Hanukkah inspiration
The journey to Judaism was not easy. After about two and half years of regularly attending services, on January 1, 2006 both my son and I went to the mikvah and took on Jewish life on a higher level.
"Hey Buddy!” Whenever I hear that term, so common coming from the lips of dads in my generation, I invariably pause to reflect on the Fifth Commandment which instructs children to honor their parents (“kibbud av va-em”).
I was merely expressing who I am through art, and how the many pieces of me — the Jew, the Chinese, the lesbian — come together and become one.
1 in 6 contemporary Jews are new to Judaism. How are we supposed to welcome these converts? Rabbi Juan Mejia, a convert himself, provides a modern reading of the biblical story of Ruth to find some guidance.
We must remember that our continuous desire for clarity and comfort amongst each other, and even those who are foreign to us is acquired through common ties, and universal morale, stating clearly, that even in Gondar, Ethiopia, we are in this together.
Out of all of the things I have learned (so far) in this capacity, the most compelling is that the fragility of life calls to the healthy to breathe deeply, laugh loudly. Let the sobriety of personal grit and ambition keep you sensitive to what life has in store for you.
In this week’s Torah portion we see the absence of Shalom as the greatest recipe for destruction.
My mother, once Tanya Maria Robertson, now Shulamis Geulah Rothstein, taught my brothers and me so many things! She, like a great lioness, raised us to think, to feel and to respond to the needs of our people, regardless of religious affiliation, skin color or garb.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” –Viktor E. Frankl
Given the strength their love for each other is, it seems like these two were meant to be together. But as for many Jews of Color, finding a match was by no means guaranteed. The path to matrimony was part luck, part technology, and a whole lot of Torah. Romance was really an afterthought.
This past summer, I also read a modern Ecclesiastes in the book Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Much like Ecclesiastes it is not presenting the best of the world, but the unfortunate realities of it.
During my childhood, I never understood why I found myself needing to adapt differently depending on which parent I was walking with: my black mother, or my white father. But then the stares grew longer, the presumptuous comments and questions never seemed to fall-short of an insult, and well, as a family we learned to know when to guard, deflect or just turn around and walk out the door.
Yes…it was arson…
It begins like an old Hasidic story. A reluctant maskil is strong-armed into visiting a chasidic rebbe. In this case, the rebbe was Reb Zalman and the maskil was myself. I was to serve as the translator for a virtual yechidus, an intimate one-on-one meeting, between Reb Zalman and a grateful Latin American student, Dr. Juan Jimenez Bravo.
This past week I had the pleasure of attending the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference. As I walked out of the convention center, dozens of people with their anti-Israel sentiments, signs, and slurs called me a murderer, called me a Nazi, called me a an animal.