Relationships & Family


The Porn Belt and the Bible Belt Are One and the Same

In last week’s Week in Wisdom, Brad commented on a recent study by two Toronto researchers, Cara MacInnis and Gordon Hodson, that revealed states with higher levels of religiosity and conservatism have higher rates of online search for words like sex, sex images, gay sex, gay porn, and sexual content. Brad wisely pointed out that it is easy but not at all helpful to simply hurl charges of hypocrisy at conservatives or to make jokes about the Bible belt being the Porn belt. I appreciate Brad compassionately shifting the focus on the......

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My Experience with Why I Stayed: The Hashtag Bringing Domestic Abuse to Light

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice’s violent attack on his then-fianc?e Janay Palmer in February is very much in the news. It may cost Rice his career, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell his job, and it may invite us all to do more to address the all too common phenomenon of domestic abuse. It’s also a story I take very personally. If you haven’t heard about the hashtag #WhyIStayed, you should. It’s your passport to a deeper understanding of people suffering domestic abuse. Following this hashtag, or reading some of the responses to......

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Facing Fear with Love on One Family's Day of Tragic News

I walked into the living room of one of our close family friends. Sitting quietly were my friend’s 89-year-old father and mother. Just a couple of hours earlier, they had heard from a cardiologist – unfortunately, in a rather sudden and impersonal way, with no family around – the prognosis on how long he had to live, given his heart condition. There was a mix of sadness and fear. My friends, understandably, didn’t know exactly what to say. Who does? Over the years, as this family’s rabbi, I had shared many happy......

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 You Left Your Daughter Where?!

I just returned from a week in Israel. And yeah, that means that I was there during the war with Hamas. In fact, the morning that we landed was the day that Hamas leadership pledged to resume rocket attacks on Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport. I wasn’t traveling alone either. I was traveling with two of my daughters, one aged 13 and the other 18, who I was “dropping off” for a year of study at a Jerusalem seminary. So, am I some kind of crazy person who blithely wanders into war......

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Here's to Intergenerational Friends

In life, the most common friendships we form are with our peers – people who see the world as we do, and who are in the same age bracket. This is understandable; we meet most people at school or at work. But is there a certain limitation to surrounding ourselves with only those people who are very similar to us? To quote Albert Einstein, “If you only talk to people like you, you’ll never learn anything new.” When it comes to odd-couple friendships that run deep, I can’t help but think of......

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How a Ruling on Gay Marriage Gave a Lesson on Decision Making

Whether or not, as the saying goes, Virginia is for lovers, now that the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has overthrown the state’s ban on gay marriage, it will at least be for those more inclined toward marriage, including same-sex couples. But perhaps more interesting than the decision itself, which I admit I support, is the thinking that animated Judge Henry Floyd, writing for the 2-1 majority. The judge’s decision is striking because it speaks to something far bigger than the issue of same-sex marriage – as if that were not a......

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Making Travel Plans with Loved Ones: Why So Much Drama?

Ever make plans with someone, and then all of a sudden they switch things up on you? Of course you have! That’s life. Does it bother you? My guess is, even if you’re one of those people who pride themselves on your flexibility, if the plans were about something you consider a big deal, you’d find yourself annoyed. But why? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not challenging the legitimacy of the annoyance, because I experience it, too. It’s distressing when those around us depart from what we thought was an agreed-upon plan.......

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Vacationships: What We Can Learn from a Short Term Encounter

When can a one night stand be more than a one night stand? When, according to Kristin Newman’s slightly trashy, definitely sexy, new book – What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding: A Memoir – it’s a “vacationship“. Of course, hooking up while on vacation is hardly new or noteworthy. But Newman claims that there’s something so potentially elevated about these hook ups, something so real, that not only should they be accepted, they should be genuinely celebrated. Could she be onto something? What do you think? Personally, I think her......

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Love Is Elusive When You Don't Nurture Yourself

If you were asked to name who you love, what would your intuitive answer be? Your life partner? Your kids? Perhaps your parents? Would you even think to immediately include yourself on the list? Your answer can enhance or diminish your ability to give and receive the love you most want. Giving and getting love are about the most fundamental human needs there are. Can you fully imagine the pain of never having been loved or of loving another? I hope not! I hope instead, that we all find ways to deepen......

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Opening Day and My Father

Baseball season opens this week. Yes, hope springs eternal. We made it through winter even if winter wants to hang on a few more days. It is the start of new careers for players and the opportunity for new beginnings for players who had a bad season last year. What makes baseball so much fun is you never know how the arduous 162 game regular-season and three-tier playoff series system (that can extend the season by up to 19 more games for teams that reach the World Series) will play out. Underdogs......

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