Month: January 2018

God Talk and Sixth Graders

The best conversations I have about God are with eleven-year-olds. Unlike most theological conversations I have with adults, the students in these conversations speak without fear or anxiety about sharing their beliefs. Typical adult fears about discussing religion — sounding ignorant, seeming inconsistent, or offending someone — do not surface in our classroom discussions. The students are eager to share…

Choosing the Hard Right over the Easy Wrong: The Moral Legacy Netiv HaLamed Hey

In a place where there is no humanity, strive to be human. — Rabbi Hillel the Elder Seventy years ago (to the day in fact), thirty-five Israeli soldiers made a fateful decision. On January 15, 1948, the Mountain Platoon of the Palmach, one of the forerunners of the modern Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), received word that Kibbutz Gush Etzion near Jerusalem…

Being a Dad, Being a Rabbi

As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be like my dad. I started running because Dad was a runner. I love baseball because Dad loves baseball. And I wanted to help people for the same reason. As I went through school, though, it became apparent to me that I would not be exactly like Dad. He managed to…

The Teachable Moment

In my capacity as director of The Spark School for Experiential Jewish Education at Northern Hills Synagogue, I’m used to being stopped by my teachers before class. “The kids were asking about this, so I decided to bring in more about it, is that ok?” My answer is almost always a resounding “Yes!” I am blessed with creative and innovative…