Thursday, May 5, 2016

Stuff I've Saved - Week of 5/5

Did you know that you can "save" links, videos, pictures, and even posts on Facebook in order to read or share later? It's one of my favorite new-ish features of Facebook, and helps me to keep track of what I'm reading and what I want to save/share/use later.

And yet, it's a pretty eclectic list. Recipes, articles, silly stuff....it's all there. So I thought I would start to curate this list on a weekly basis. Hope you enjoy my list!






What have you saved this week?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Count Up: The Omer

Countdown:
three
two
one
blastoff!
Taking one away
as we move
forward.

Counting up,
we add:
plus one
plus two
plus three
building
increasing
improving
growing

Filling our lives
our hearts
our selves
with the blessing

of Torah.


The second day of Pesach begins the Counting of the Omer, the period between Passover and Shavuot, a 49 day period.

The period between these two holidays represents the journey between them - from the Exodus from Egypt (celebrated on Passover) to the Revelation at Sinai (celebrated on Shavuot). Receiving the Torah isn't something that can just be done at the drop of a hat, it takes preparation and work. The period of the Omer gives us that time to reflect and consider, to pay attention to each and every day, and to literally "count up" until the Torah comes into our lives.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

#BlogExodus 4: Grow


"Said Rabbi Simon: 'Every single blade of grass has a corresponding mazal (star) in the sky which strikes it and tells it to grow." Midrash Rabba, Bereshit 10:6

Usually this quote appears with a sweeter tone, something like "every blade of grass has an angel leaning over and whispering 'grow!'"

Sometimes we need something sweet to help us grow.

But more often we need a good solid smack. 

Growth can be painful, difficult, hard. 
It often seems like it would be easier just to stay the same.
But growth is inevitable, right? We have to grow or we'll fade away....

So sometimes it takes an extra bonk on the head.

Want to join in? We're sharing #BlogExodus for the 2 weeks leading up to Passover. All you have to do is use the hashtag and there are suggested prompts on the graphic above (feel free to grab it). Maybe you just want to post on your Facebook or Twitter about these topics...or maybe you want to try #Exodusgram, posting photos related to these themes? I'll be posting my #blogExodus posts here, at this blog, my #Exodusgram pictures on my Instagram and also my tumblr site, imabima.tumblr.com, and who knows what else!? It's going to be a busy fortnight!

Monday, April 11, 2016

#BlogExodus: Purify


At the Seder we wash our hands twice.

It's not about a overly- developed sense of cleanliness, although that does seem to pervade the Pesach holiday. 

But it's about a kind of holiness that comes in a ritual purification. What does it take to make ourselves holy? Is it truly a physical act? I don't necessarily think that I need something physical to remind me to be holy. And yet....there's something powerful about ritually washing the hands, about pouring the water and thinking, considering, remembering, and yes, knowing, that there's something special, something unique, something different, and even something holy about THIS moment, this hand washing. 

So we wash our hands to purify them, to make them holy, and to set this moment apart from all others.

Want to join in? We're sharing #BlogExodus for the 2 weeks leading up to Passover. All you have to do is use the hashtag and there are suggested prompts on the graphic above (feel free to grab it). Maybe you just want to post on your Facebook or Twitter about these topics...or maybe you want to try #Exodusgram, posting photos related to these themes? I'll be posting my #blogExodus posts here, at this blog, my #Exodusgram pictures on my Instagram and also my tumblr site, imabima.tumblr.com, and who knows what else!? It's going to be a busy fortnight!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

#blogExodus: Honor


There are so many ways to celebrate Passover. More, perhaps, than any other of our holidays. It is more subject to personal traditions and preferences, it is more subject to different cultures and customs.

We read in Pirke Avot: "Hold the honor of another as dear as your own."

And so a gentle reminder to honor the customs of each Jew as we observe in our own ways this year.

Want to join in? We're sharing #BlogExodus for the 2 weeks leading up to Passover. All you have to do is use the hashtag and there are suggested prompts on the graphic above (feel free to grab it). Maybe you just want to post on your Facebook or Twitter about these topics...or maybe you want to try #Exodusgram, posting photos related to these themes? I'll be posting my #blogExodus posts here, at this blog, my #Exodusgram pictures on my Instagram and also my tumblr site, imabima.tumblr.com, and who knows what else!? It's going to be a busy fortnight!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

#BlogExodus: Start


Dawn
Kickoff
Onset
Inception
Inauguration
Takeoff

Start...

Ready, get set, go!

We're so good at the beginning, aren't we?
Good intentions, ready to get started.

This is the year that I'm going to clean all the crevices.
This is the year that I'm going to write the fabulous new haggadah.
This is the year that I'm going to create stellar menus for every night of Pesach.
This is the year that I'm going to write beautiful, thoughtful, erudite #blogexodus posts every day.
This is the year that every child will fully immerse him/herself into the story of the Exodus.

And then reality hits, doesn't it?

I'm so good at the beginning.

So I'd better get started...

Want to join in? We're sharing #BlogExodus for the 2 weeks leading up to Passover. All you have to do is use the hashtag and there are suggested prompts on the graphic above (feel free to grab it). Maybe you just want to post on your Facebook or Twitter about these topics...or maybe you want to try #Exodusgram, posting photos related to these themes? I'll be posting my #blogExodus posts here, at this blog, my #Exodusgram pictures on my Instagram and also my tumblr site, imabima.tumblr.com, and who knows what else!? It's going to be a busy fortnight!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Yes, We Still Need an Orange on our Seder Plate


This week, my colleague, Rabbi Stephen Fuchs, wrote an essay on the ReformJudaism.org site about the inclusion of an orange on the Seder plate.

To quote him in order to explain this custom:
In addition to the traditional symbols, many families and communities will include an orange on their seder plates. The most prominent myth behind this custom is that, years ago, a man confronted Professor Susannah Heschel and told her, “The idea of women rabbis makes as much sense as an orange on a seder plate."
Rabbi Fuchs reminds readers that Professor Heschel has actually debunked this "myth," and explains that her real intention was to put the orange on the plate in honor of gay and lesbian Jews who have been marginalized.

All true.

But then Rabbi Fuchs suggests that the time has come to eliminate this symbol. He says:
But I believe our focus at the seder should be on telling our story. Though that story can and should reference other struggles for liberation, our seder plate is full enough without symbols that do not explicitly reference our liberation from bondage.
And this is where I disagree. Yes. The focus at the seder should be on telling "our story."

But how can we tell that one story, that story of long ago, without connecting it directly to as many other stories that we have? How can we make this long-ago-tale of slavery relevant and understandable to each generation, to each individual participant at the table, if we don't remind ourselves of continued oppression in our midst?

I deny the idea that we have "arrived" in terms of gender equality, especially when taken on a worldwide level. I deny the idea that the presence of women on the North American Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist bima is "enough" when held up to other movements, other countries (read: Israel), and other aspects of society. Telling the story of the brave women who participated in the story of the Exodus is good. It is an important step in restoring equality to our storytelling. But merely to place those women back into the story without acknowledging how long it took to get them there? Merely to place them into the story without pointing out that their presence alone is a milestone for our people? I think this is missing the point of telling the tale of liberation.

Yes, I agree. "Our story" is important. But the seder has retained its relevance for generations exactly because we have taken the once-upon-a-time story and made it our own in every generation. I agree that the orange does not need to merely refer to women on the bima, and it doesn't even need to refer only to the LGBTQI community. But instead, it stands out as a reminder of all people that, at some point in their history, might have felt that they "didn't belong." I like that my orange has to jockey for a spot, teetering on the edge of one of the other seder plate spaces. The orange never quite fits -- yes! That is exactly the point.

The orange will remain on my seder plate, as a sign that we are always striving to help everyone to feel included, a sign that we are always looking out for those who might not feel that they "belong," and a sign that we are full of juicy vitality: always growing, always changing, and always aware, keenly aware, that our history of bondage requires us to tell those stories.