Grass Roots: a holiday question and memorial reflection

As we approach the high holidays, grass shows up in two haftarah readings. What do these verses tell us in this season of repentance and return? I am pondering. Meanwhile, a recent yahrzeit called to mind the sweetness of grass as well as its transient nature. Does that, too, carry a message for the high […]

Are We Ready Yet?

Are we ready yet, as multi-racial Jewish communities, to ask God to “renew our days as of old”? Have we, as U.S. Jews, thoroughly “searched our ways” for the racist systems in which we participate? Have we wept for the results in our own country and around the world? Milwuakee 2016 “The joy of our […]

What formed the background assumptions, about race and justice, of your life?

“Let us search and try our ways”: Trouble to See prelude

The lowest point of the Jewish calendar, the day of mourning known as Tisha B’av, commemorating destruction of the Temples and other calamities, calls us: “Let us search and try our ways, and return to the LORD” (Lamentations 3:40). As we move on from this day, through the season of repentance and beyond, I invite […]


Trouble to See #4: Peeling Back Some Tricky Layers

A few more layers of racial-justice-related issues to peel back in taking “Trouble to See,” using the fictional world of “Dirty Dancing” as an aid (see “Beyond the Romance“). Consider that the integrated dance floor — where¬† non-Jewish staff mix after hours — is moving to Otis Redding, The Contours, and other African American performers. […]

Peeling back another layer....

Trouble to See #3: Beyond the Romance

I never visited the Catskills in the heyday of Jewish resorts. But Eleanor Bertstein’s portrait of one liminal summer there reflects something essential in my own experience, albeit in a non-Jewish neighborhood of Chicago, and in the story of “Jews and Racial Justice.” Thus #3 of “Trouble to See,” my singular excursion — with background […]