This has been a tough week.  Last Wednesday, we witnessed yet another horrific school shooting, but something was different for me this time.  It was different because it was personal.  I didn’t learn about it from watching the news.  I didn’t first hear about it from an alert on my phone.  I heard about it at 2:30 in the afternoon, when I picked my 16 year old daughter up from

The Wexner Heritage Program Montreal 17 Members held their first annual family Chanukah party.  This was our opportunity to meet each other’s children and families and enjoy Chanukah together.  After our fall session of learning, we have come together as a group in friendship and in leadership.  For our Chanukah celebration, we all purchased new clothes to be donated to the local Jewish women’s shelter and we were so happy

Thanksgiving dinner is a time to come together with your family and friends.  A time to enjoy and reflect on all there is to be thankful for.  But there is always that one niece or nephew or cousin or uncle who must bring up the most antagonizing conversations they can think of.  To help cut off any conversations that may lead to a food fight, we have put together a

Let every valley be raised Every hill and mount made low Let the rugged ground become level And the ridges become a plain Isaiah 40:4 I have always struggled with this passage from the Prophet Isaiah, but never more so than standing amongst the mountains of Aspen.  Hearing this passage in isolation, it always feels to me more like a threat than the consolation it is intended to be. In

Reposted with thanks to Larry’s Blog, Life and a Little Liturgy A Protestant pastor remembers preaching a sermon on loving God and being interrupted by a congregant who blurted out, “Love God?  Look at the problems God causes: devastating illness, hurricanes. earthquakes.  And look at the problems God doesn’t prevent: wars, cruelty, persecution.  Sure, this is stuff human beings bring about, but God just lets them happen.  Love God you

Ever since I can remember, we celebrated a communal birthday for my father, Danny Levonovski.  He is one of 25 that survived from a group of 131 children from Kaunas.  They were exiled from their hometown, separated from their parents and sent by train, in the cold, to Auschwitz.  When they got there, sequential numbers were branded on their arms.  Regardless of their own birthdays, they celebrate the day of

“We are on the map and not only in basketball but in everything!” said the Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Captain, Tal Brody, in his American accented Hebrew as the mike was pushed into his sweaty, beaming face, immediately after the team’s miraculous victory in 1977 against the formidable and then Olympic world champion’s team, the Red Army’s basketball team.   In life, each of us has an Exodus story, whether as

How’s your happiness? There is a well-known expression in the Talmud applicable at this time of year: “When the month of Adar enters, we increase in joy.”  During the Hebrew month of Av, the Talmud continues, when we mark the destruction of Jerusalem and the loss of our holiest sanctuary, we are supposed to reduce our happiness (BT Ta’anit 29a), what I call a halakhic (legal) seasonal affective disorder.  It

View the complete remarks of President Obama along with those of WGF alum Rachel Isaacs (Class 19) , during the evening Hanukah party. Rabbi Isaacs starts at about the 9 minute mark. To see a transcript of Rachel’s benediction, check out her own blog Jewish Waterville, by clicking here.      View the complete remarks of President Obama along with those of WGF alum Steven Exler (Class 17) , during the

Even in times of change and uncertainty there is always room for gratitude.  Last week more than 100 Wexner alumni came together for a video call of healing following the negativity and divisiveness of the 2016 U.S. election.  As we near the end of this difficult year, we look to the coming days where we will join with friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving. As with many Jewish holidays, Thanksgiving