JBC Talk Ep 2 Part 1: Observance & Going Along to Get Along

Note: This is a truncated (yet still long!) version of the original Episode 2 recording. Why is that?, you might be wondering. Despite our going into this episode with the intention of keeping things short, it ended up running nearly two hours.  So we have decided to split Episode 2 into two, separate podcasts which will air (well you know, go live!) a week apart. As a result, there are a few breaks in continuity.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.   Podcast … [Read more…]

JBC News of Interest – 03/13/11

Several recent news stories may be of interest to our readers, so let’s dive right in… Apparently putting on tefillin in the airport or on an airplane can still cause you some trouble in the USA.  Once again there has been an incident in which observant Jews in morning prayers have caused panic in flight, this time on an Alaska Airlines flight to LA from Mexico.  Shmarya over at Failed Messiah has a story with links to similar ones from recent history. Arnold Eisen, the Chancellor of … [Read more…]

Book Review: Making Prayer Real by Rabbi Mike Comins

I recently read Rabbi Mike Comins’ Making Prayer Real: Leading Jewish Spiritual Voices on Why Prayer is Difficult and What to Do about It (published by Jewish Lights). I recommend the book highly. Rabbi Comins comes at things from a perspective that resonates with me. He has been deeply involved in the experience of Jewish spirituality in wild places. While living in Israel, he founded Ruach HaMidbar Desert Trips and Retreats, an organization that leads Jewish spiritual journeys into the … [Read more…]

Turning Aside: Signposts & Channelmarkers

In my first “Turning Aside” post, “The Burning Bush,” I mentioned the special obligation “that each of us has, as human beings and especially as Jews, to turn aside from all manner of popular cynicism, groupthink, and bad behavior, and to strive through our actions and our study to elevate – to ‘make holy’ – every day.” I take this responsibility seriously; I strive to be conscientious, kind, ethical, curious, and open-minded….and I’m forever falling well … [Read more…]

5771: My First Sukkita

You shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are home-born in Israel shall dwell in booths; that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; I am the Lord, your God. (From (Lev. 23:39-45) I never got to build a tree house growing up. Living in a lower-middle class suburb, surrounded by cement and cookie-cutter houses, there was not a tree to be found that would have been strong enough to hold up my little … [Read more…]