The Darker Side of Purim Graggers

It’s every Jewish kid’s favourite activity: each year on Purim, while the megillah is being read, we gleefully shake our graggers and shout aloud, drowning out the name of Haman. Haman (yimach sh’mo – may his name be erased) is, of course, the bad guy of the Purim story. The perennial enemy; the face ofContinue reading “The Darker Side of Purim Graggers”

Go Ahead and Try: Why Pesach (and Judaism) Aren’t All-or-Nothing

I’m going to risk the wrath of the Star Wars gods and disagree with Yoda. In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker is required to lift his ship out of the Dagobah swamp using only his mind. Skeptical of his own ability to wield the Force, Luke says, “Alright, I’ll give it a try,” toContinue reading “Go Ahead and Try: Why Pesach (and Judaism) Aren’t All-or-Nothing”

My Father Was a Syrian Refugee: Pesach & Freedom in 2016

NOTE: This essay was cross posted at Kol Ami. In the Passover seder, we are commanded to tell our story of freedom beginning with the words: “Arami Oveid Avi – My father was a wandering/escaped Aramean.” There are differences of opinion regarding whether this line refers to Abraham or to Jacob. But either way, itsContinue reading “My Father Was a Syrian Refugee: Pesach & Freedom in 2016”

A Meditation for Selichot

On this night of forgiveness, we think about the wrongs that have been done. There are people we have wronged. There are people who have wronged us.   Our tradition teaches us to be like God, to be “rachum v’chanun erech apayim v’rav chesed v’emet” – compassionate and gracious, forgiving and slow to anger and filledContinue reading “A Meditation for Selichot”