Torah-landia – Parshat Nitzavim 5775

As we prepared for our move to Portland last year, the question nearly every person asked us was “Have you watched Portlandia?”  We did actually catch some of the series to see what it was all about, but it’s after having lived here for over a year that the humor in the uniqueness of our city has become perfectly clear.

The Not-So-Fast Lane – Parshat Ki Tavo 5775

I am a suburbanite through and through. While other people live and die by the big city and the need to be part of it, as Steve Perry knows, I’m just a small town girl. I like being big-city-adjacent. I feel much more at home in my personal vehicle than taking public transportation.

Playing Favorites – Parshat Ki Tetzei 5775

If you’re like many Americans, you spent some time this spring living vicariously as citizens of the Commonwealth, anticipating the arrival of a second child to Prince William and Duchess Kate.  Though we can assume baby Princess Charlotte will be her older brother’s equal in the eyes of her parents, in the royal line of succession, she will always be behind him.

Context Clues – Parshat Shoftim 5775

Is there anything more unnerving than walking into a room while people are having a conversation, and at the moment you enter, the conversation stops?  There’s a good chance the conversation just hit a natural pause or lull, but it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that the conversation must have been about you.

Touchy-Feely – Parshat Re’eh 5775

Two friends are out walking their dogs, and one friend says to the other, “Yesterday I taught my dog to whistle.” The second friend turns and says, “That’s incredible! Can I hear it?” The first one says, “Of course not. I only taught it to him – he didn’t learn it.”

Stubborn and Stiff-necked – Parshat Eikev 5775

I can be stubborn. It’s innate, and it’s among my less than desireable qualities. My mom will tell you I was a stubborn child, and I have no doubt she’s right, given the stubbornness Shiri exhibits more and more as she approaches two years old.

Seeing is Believing – Parshat Vaetchanan 5775

The Shema is the crux of monotheism: “Hear O Israel, Adonai is our God, Adonai is one.”  It’s one of the first prayers our children learn, and we assign it a variety of rituals.  We might ask the children to make the Hebrew letter shin (showing 3 fingers) with their hands as they cover their eyes to teach that Shema begins with shin.