In April 2016, I was tasked with writing a D’var Torah for my Wexner community on Parshat Tazriah. This is the dreaded parshah filled with rashes and skin ailments (Leviticus 13), where the Priests hold the responsibility of examining members of their community to determine if they need to be removed and isolated. In 2016, the context for my reading of the parshah was the end of a tough academic year (Greek life scandals, divestment resolution and a

People with disabilities account for 20% of the population in Israel and include those with physical, sensory, cognitive and mental disabilities. In recent years, many actions have been taken to promote equality for people with disabilities. At the beginning of the Corona crisis in Israel and around the world, this group was left behind. People with disabilities and their families often found themselves in high-risk groups. Access to information was

Mindfulness teacher Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn wrote that “Just stopping, is a radical act of sanity and love.” This stopping is happening on a grand scale in our society with self-quarantine and with the orders to “shelter in place.” This is a hardship for all of us, especially those who are losing wages, needing to balance work and family in a new way, and those who need to “shelter in place”

As the coronavirus health crisis takes the wind out of every sail, leaving us all locked down and wondering when life can restart, it is easy to forget that some of the most important public ventures are very long-term affairs, which, however seriously disrupted, cannot be neglected. This is the story of one such venture, which, as soon as the health crisis is behind us, will once again loom large

03

Jun 2020

Reorienting

From wherever you are reading these words today, outside your home the city is stunning in its silence… part eerie and, when considered apart from the source of the quiet, part beautiful. The entirety of this moment is disorienting. I have long been drawn to the unique silence found in nature. Once upon a time, as a teen explorer scout, I aspired to attempt a solo survival trek in the

By On January 3rd, I became a living kidney donor. Since learning of the donation, people have been effusive with their praise in ways that I find humbling, but mostly that I find incredibly uncomfortable. Kidney donation is called heroic, courageous, brave. I myself would have used all these words before, but when talking about other people. There are many days since the donation where I have wondered if it

For the last seven years, I have woken up each morning determined to bring attention to a crisis in plain sight: tens of thousands of children in New York attend Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox yeshivas that provide little or no general education – that is, instruction in English, math, science and social studies. My initial motivation for this work was personal: I am a Hasidic yeshiva graduate. I grew up in

There is a debate, much discussed in Jewish spaces where the topic of innovation is celebrated, about whether newer is by definition better. This tension is best described in the language of our ancient texts: “There is nothing new under the sun,”(Ecclesiastes 1:9) which claims that every idea to come has already been, and its opposite, “There is no Beit Midrash (House of Study) without a hiddush (a new idea,)”(Babylonian Talmud Eruvin

The world is in transition from an old reality in which growth was based on expanding physical territory, to a new reality based on the expansion of the human mind, science, technology and innovation. The late President Shimon Peres believed that this new world could be more peaceful, as it is not based on the zero-sum rationale of old paradigms, in which countries needed to conquer new territory and exploit

Moses said to the children of Israel: “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. S/He has imbued him with the spirit of God, with wisdom, with insight, and with knowledge, and with all manner of craftsmanship to do master weaving, to work with gold, silver and copper, with the craft of stones for setting and