Longform


To Forget And To Remember

There are some dark times that we commemorate in a ceremony with the reading of names. And there are some that result in celebrating with oily foods and candles. And there are some where we were so terrified, and now we are so out of our minds to have averted the decree, that we drink. We drink to forget. We don’t ever want to remember it was so awful. Blot out the memory. Forget the darkness. This is Purim. We tell our story of what we went through, and we are commanded......

Continue Reading


Don't Try To Be the Hero of Your Story 

With two elementary-school-aged kids, we hear a fair amount of sibling fighting, with only some of it unprovoked. When one of them is getting a little too wild, and, say, someone’s limbs smack into someone else’s body, their first reaction is to say, “I didn’t mean to do it!” And while my wife and I do draw a distinction between purposeful versus accidental actions, we try to focus more on the consequences and how to make it right afterward. That’s what’s so striking about this week’s Torah portion, Vayikra. It outlines the......

Continue Reading


Moral Leadership

The last few weeks have been strange in Canada. A convoy of angry citizens has taken their tractors, semi-trucks, and construction vehicles and established illegal blockades of border crossings in Ontario and other provinces and occupations of the entire neighborhood outside Parliament in Ottawa, as well as protests in other major Canadian cities. This development is anathema to much of what Canadians think of themselves – nice, friendly, reasonable people governed by prudence and shared responsibility. It seems like a sudden shock to many. Where did this come from? In this week’s......

Continue Reading


We Have Returned...

 …even though we never physically left our homes. As in my other post, I want to offer in the same-immediacy-writing commitment a glimpse of where I am now sitting, how I am now sitting, and the hope I feel while being here in this fragmented and polarizing era we find ourselves in, in reconsidering citizenship. I honor that it will be, at some level, incomprehensible or easy-to-dismiss from outside the experience. I honor that only a percentage of the 24 students who engaged in this trip will share in what I have......

Continue Reading


Freedom to Give

“A contract is a transaction. A covenant is a relationship. A contract is about interests. A covenant is about identity. That is why contracts benefit, but covenants transform.“ In these terse words of enduring wisdom, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks draws our attention to the covenants we might long have overlooked and the contracts that we mistook for something more (see Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times for additional wisdom). Such was certainly the case for the Israelites, as becomes evident in this week’s Torah portion, T’rumah (Exodus 25:1 – 27:19). It......

Continue Reading


When Faith Preempts Facts

Our Torah is filled with stories of remarkable courage, leaps of faith, and ventures into the unknown. From Abraham leaving his homeland at God’s behest to his near-sacrifice of his son, we learn from our very first patriarch the ways that faith – often of the “blind” variety – is central to our collective story. But for all the dramatic leaps taken by our ancestors in scripture, one of them stands out among the rest. One of them, in fact, that isn’t even explicitly mentioned in Torah! After a treacherous race out......

Continue Reading