Author Archives: eng4820

Help with Hallel?

Lovely readers, I am working on a textual meditation of sorts for a Passover seder, and I would be grateful if you could share, by comment or privately, anything that comes up for you in response to the following: “Describe a … Continue reading

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Vayikra, And God Called Out: An Invitation to Gender Justice

Originally posted on Queering Jew:
The following is a d’var Torah I delivered at Hillel B’nai Torah this past Shabbat, at the invitation of Rabbi Barbara Penzner, on the occasion of International Women’s Day Shabbat.  A note of gratitude: All…

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Taking on the Akeidah

I had an opening, with the help and support of some holy chevrei, to take on Binding of Isaac and accompanying meditations that occupy a conspicuous space during the morning blessings. This is what came out. My God and the God of … Continue reading

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Psalm 147 — For Skeptics

PSALM 147 FOR SKEPTICS Loose takes on the themes and images presented in each line of the original text… 1. What does “Praise Yah!” mean? Think of a time – I know you’ve had one – maybe singing the one … Continue reading

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Psalm 126

This Psalm is straightforwardly post-exilic (for which see Sefer haWiki) but switches in its narrative perspective between before and after the return from Babylon, between gratitude and longing for return, helped by the profoundly non-linear mechanics of verbal tense and … Continue reading

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The Tower. A Midrash on Parashat Noah

I wrote this story four years ago, and it’s one I consistently love. Hope you also enjoy.  We thought we were special. Back when we were in Shinar, we could all understand each other, and everyone got along. But there … Continue reading

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“Though Broken Inside, I Am Grateful”

A Reading for the Days of Awe A few years ago, I started corresponding with a man named Maurice, who for several years has been incarcerated at different federal facilities, most recently in Massachusetts. Maurice is in his early fifties, … Continue reading


Avot v’Imahot

These days, I am a channel for loose, chatty, non-dualistic English-language riffs on traditional liturgy, responding line by line to ancient impulses. Here is #1 of 19. ברוך אתה יי אלהינו ואלהי אבותינו ואמותינ, אלהי אברהם, אלהי יצחק, ואלהי יעקב, … Continue reading

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Happy are those who dwell in Your House. Continually, they praise You. Selah. The Ashrei (“Happy”) is a heart|mind opener built into every traditional Jewish service. It’s an acrostic — each line starts with a sequential letter of the Hebrew aleph-bet, … Continue reading


Ki Tissa

Exodus 32:3-8 And all the people took off the gold rings that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. This he took from them and fashioned it and made it into a molten calf. And they exclaimed, THIS … Continue reading

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