Messages for Elul #5

A twelfth grader in the house is all excitement, stands in the place where all is possible. Futures spill out like waters in a fountain, filling every crevice where doubt likes to linger. His unled life is ahead and everything shimmers on the water’s skin, like he did when I held him at three days old.

Messages for Elul #4

“Silence of the lips means not speaking. In contemplative silence, even the inner dialogue is stilled.…The tongue is the pen of the heart and to be silent demonstrates a high level of self-mastery. To be inwardly still, however, is to abide in a suspended state of receptive reverence.” -Alan Morinis

Messages for Elul #3

"It's worth remembering that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change.”- Queen Elizabeth II

Messages for Elul #2

"It is often believed that anger can be both noble and essential, helping the oppressed to assert themselves and pursue justice.…Anger is not only unnecessary for the pursuit of justice, but also a large impediment to the generosity and empathy that help to construct a future of justice." Martha C. Nussbaum, Anger and Forgiveness

Messages for Elul

“Before one turns the potential into the actual, the two are tied together and nothing separates them, for as it says in the prayer L’Ka Dodi, ‘What comes to pass first existed as a thought…’ “[Therefore] don’t be frustrated by obstacles you encounter on your path. These are there by design, to increase your desire for the goal you seek. The greater the goal, the greater the yearning that is needed to achieve it.” -Rabbi Nahman, Likutei Moharan Part One, 66

Salman Rushdie and the Religious and Cultural Blasphemies of Today

It’s been a week since the celebrated author, Salman Rushdie, was stabbed on the stage of a Chautauqua lecture hall, where, ironically, he was planning to discuss protections for writers who are persecuted. It’s a topic in which he has the deepest expertise ever since he was forced to go into hiding after an Iranian mullah issued a fatwah on him back in 1989.

Part II: Abortion, the Holocaust, and the Archbishop

Last week in this column, I passed along some information about a meeting that the Oregon Board of Rabbis held with Archbishop Sample, who had made a disturbing comparison between abortion and the Holocaust. The archbishop received our concerns and removed the offending statement from his YouTube video. This past week, he also indicated that he would offer a more formal apology in the press. I have been moved by his willingness to learn and make adjustments in real time.