Why My Cat Loves That I Am Jewish and Other Habits

Growing up, we always had to feed our dog before we could sit down to dinner. I thought it was just our family practice. One day when the family hound had turned five or so, and I was particularly hungry, I tried to eat something first. My mom stopped me and said that in Judaism, we are required to feed our animals before ourselves.

Jews on Mars! And why curiosity matters

Rabbi Kosak reflects on some scientific advances and space travel and ties those back to some interesting Jewish legal papers that address the ramifications of these new technologies and the possibility of humans living on other planets.

Good News

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been sharing my thoughts about what Conservative Judaism is, and how a fundamental feature of Jewish culture is our embrace of change. This week, I want to look at the movement through a sociological lens. After all, for more than a decade, pundits have spoken about the death of the Conservative movement.

The Secret of Jewish Survival

At a recent dinner I attended, our two rabbis emeritus discussed what Jewish life in Oregon was like 150 years ago. Those early settlers were courageous pioneers, and rabbis were hard to come by for a new congregation. Despite difficult beginnings, our ancestors built a home for future generations of Portland Jews.

On the Beat: My Day as a Cop

This past Wednesday, I spent the day at Portland’s police academy. This six hour simulation placed senior clergy in the police training facility located in northeast Portland. This day of training that I attended was part of a program entitled “One Cop” which is short for “one congregation, one precinct.”

What is Conservative Judaism? Part Two—Paradigm Shifts and a God for Grownups

This past week, the New Horizons spacecraft beamed back to earth images of a small icy world, nick-named Ultima Thule. This oblong, “snow-man” shaped object orbits at the edge of our solar system, in the Kuiper Belt. While this 21 mile long rock may not seem impressive on its own, there is something stunning in the human accomplishment. Our species has sent a monitoring device four billion miles from the sun.