Showing posts from 2014

This sermon is making me uncomfortable

Last spring my friend Portlyn talked me into lifting weights.
At first I said no.
I am not a gym person and it is so far out of my comfort zone I can barely see it from here. I do not enjoy exercise, I don’t get that endorphin rush that  even casual athletes talk about, but I know it is good for you and Portlyn persisted and so I eventually gave in and called the gym.
The first time I walked in the door I wanted to turn around and walk out again. It seemed that everyone around me knew exactly what they were doing: what to wear, what kind of water bottle to have, where to stand and how to move… Everyone looked like they had a purpose, whereas I had no clue and I was sure everyone could tell that I didn’t belong. 
I was so uncomfortable that I could feel it on my skin, that sense of unease that everyone was staring at me and finding me lacking. I did, in fact turn around, and there was my friend, blocking the door and reminding me that nobody was looking at me or even cared about what shoes…

Shalom from Camp Newman

Shalom from Camp Newman
Last Tuesday was the day campers arrived for the first day of the first session of Camp Newman 2014, and we greeted the arriving campers with cheering and song; by Tuesday night camp was already in full swing.
The days at camp have a rhythm. They have to in order for the schedules of so many campers to work together. Kids quickly learn the flow of meals and swimming and menucha (rest time) and tefillah and chugim (electives) and programs. By Thursday it’s already become routine, so everyone notices when things shift on Friday afternoon and we begin to prepare for Shabbat.
The rhythm of camp changes for Shabbat. During the week campers spend most of their time with their age group, so when on Shabbat the whole Camp Newman community comes together — starting with the CIT vs. staff frisbee game — it’s a big change. It continues with all-camp clean-up, when campers have extra time to clean up their cabins and to take a shower and dress in white. Shabbat is welcomed in…

Memory and Action: Reflections on the Jewish World Watch Walk to End Genocide and Yom HaShoah

Yesterday my congregation, Temple Ahavat Shalom, participated in the Jewish World Watch Walk to End Genocide. The TAS team was the largest it has ever been, with more than 70 participants raising more than $2,000 for Jewish World Watch. 
This year there were more than 3,000 participants, all gathered in Los Angeles’s Pan Pacific Park to start the walk. It was such a joy to see so many Jews gathered in one place, working together to make the world a better place and to alleviate the suffering of others. “Never forget” means not taking our power for granted and remembering that together we can make a difference and save lives. 
But it was not just Jews participating. There were many other groups walking with us, including “Burmese Muslims Against Genocide.” That others would participate in an event with Jewish in the title (though this was not a Jewish event, but a human one) gives me hope — hope that we can come together and remember that the things which connect us are more important th…