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  • I Saw My Grandmother’s Soul Leave Her Body

    I know the soul exists. Perhaps that’s not a big claim given how often people talk about souls. Despite all that attention, however, it remains difficult to know what the soul is, and how it affects our lives.

  • A Peek Behind God’s Curtain

    I have had two deep mystical experiences that redirected my life. Without them, I would not be the man, husband, son, father, writer, director, or Jew I am today.

  • The Extraordinary Death Of Eddie Dinkowitz

    “A former member of our community has died. He had no family, so there will be no shivah. If anyone wishes to attend the burial, please see me after the meeting.”

    I heard this from my rabbi during a board meeting at our synagogue. It made me sad, and I felt worse when I learned more about the deceased.

  • Could Dementia Be An Extended Near-Death Experience?

    It’s been a year and a half since I first shared that my mom has dementia. At the time, I found comfort in in the words of two rabbis, one ancient and one modern. I learned to stop looking for what was missing in Mom, and started seeing the person before me…

  • A Jewish Journal Cover Story: The Accidental Talmudist

    My voyage through the sea of Talmud began with a miracle and ended in transformation. I joined 90,000 Jews at MetLife Stadium to celebrate the completion of the  7 1/2 year cycle.

  • I Sobbed For A Stranger

    The Jewish world is not one of half measures. The highs are Mt. Everest high – like dancing the hora at a wedding – and the lows are Death Valley low. 

    As a hopeless romantic and generally joyful Jew, I tend to race toward those highs. I know darkness exists. I don’t hide from it. I just try to counteract it with light.

  • My Mom Has Dementia, And Other Good News

    I needed to find meaning in my mother’s condition. I found two rabbis who comforted me, one from the Talmud, and one from Ohio.

  • My Beliefs About God In 100 Words

    My rabbi challenged me to write my theology in 100 words. This is both harder and easier than it sounds. I highly recommend the effort.

  • Can You Spot The Latino?

    My teacher called “Salvador Litvak” on the first day of class, and I told her I go by “Alex.” No one batted an eye, but deep down I felt like a coward.

  • A Torah Service In Geobbel’s House

    In every age they rise up to destroy us, but the Holy One [and the U.S. Army!] rescues us from their hands!

  • An Object Of War Became Her Wedding Dress

    One German parachute became a wedding dress for 17 brides in a Displaced Persons camp.

  • Rachel’s Tomb

    Our matriarch’s tomb looks tragically different today. Security walls, cameras and barbed wire guard the site from terrorism.

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