Life, Liberty, and the Promise of Peace

Readers may have noticed a long silence on this blog. But I have not been entirely silent. At start of June 2015, I began an additional blog, #SayThisName, to mark those lost to homicide and police action in the District of Columbia. Since then, I have personally typed out and said aloud the names of […]

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In All Your Gates

Instructions to appoint judges “for yourselves,” in “all your tribes,” or, more literally, “in all your gates,” opens the Torah portion Shoftim [judges] (Deut 16:18-21:9), and the famous line, “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof… [Justice, justice you shall pursue…],” follows: שֹׁפְטִים וְשֹׁטְרִים, תִּתֶּן-לְךָ בְּכָל-שְׁעָרֶיךָ, אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ, לִשְׁבָטֶיךָ; וְשָׁפְטוּ אֶת-הָעָם, מִשְׁפַּט-צֶדֶק. Judges and officers shalt […]

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Heavy Heart in Hand (Beyond 21)

A story is the easiest, and, I hope, clearest, way for me to convey this thought to open the week of Netzach [“eternity,” also leadership] in the omer journey away from oppression. (apologies for length) At this morning’s worship service, Temple Micah‘s Rabbi Zemel pointed participants’ attention to the following note, a kavanah [focusing intention] […]

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Heel-dom: gods of comfort and power

“Every 28 hours across America a black person is killed by security guard, police officer or some other executive of the state,” Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson said on the recent “Face the Nation,” adding that President Obama needs to use his “unique position” to explain the rage emanating from Ferguson, MO: [Obama needs […]

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Exploring Kaddish: Some Resources and an Invitation

UPDATED 7/27 : See clarification on Aramaic and names of God below. Also see post-Siddur Study “More on Kaddish” resources and notes. Is Kaddish — in its various forms — “prayer,” as in some combination of praise, request and/or submission to God? Or is it a recitation, more like the Shema? Is it a mystical […]

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Stragglers on the Road Away from Bondage

Remarks before Mourners’ Kaddish, Temple Micah (DC) Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath (March 13-16, 2014) Hadiya Z. Pendleton lived in the Kenwood neighborhood of Chicago, my hometown, not far from where I lived for several years and where friends still live. She liked Fig Newtons, my favorite snack when I was a teenager. She and I […]

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Collecting Feedback

First, a note about the password-protected post which appeared earlier tonight: That post is a survey for participants in Temple Micah’s Siddur Study Group seeking preferences for future studies. My apologies to subscribers and other readers who are not in that group for annoying you with something irrelevant. However, a number of recent posts here […]

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“You set the patterns of the moon”

El Adon and Another Pinchas Addendum … (5) Glory and honor they give to You glowing praises to Your rule You call to the sun and it gives forth light You set the patterns of the moon (6) You are honored throughout the heavens with songs of glory and praise [the Seraphim, Ophanim and holy […]

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More Gratitude: Waking Up in Real Life

It is an age-old Jewish practice to start a day with gratitude and thanks. The question was raised in a recent study session about why tunes for the earliest of morning prayers tend to be very peppy, while not all of us awaken like that. One associated teaching is that we should approach each day […]

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