Modern Day Philosophers

Modern Day Philosophers

I sit down with comedian Danny Lobell for a hilarious session on umbrella stabbings, Harvard rowing, bad performance art and Mexican weed. 

Murder At A Purim Feast

What is going on here? A holy Sage declares we must get whopping drunk on Purim. Another Sage obeys and gets so drunk that he slaughters a colleague, and yet the killer merits to have his resurrection prayer answered by G-d?

A Miracle So Obvious The Skeptics Looked Silly

One of the tragedies of my misspent youth is that I missed years of meaningful connection with the wisdom of my tribe because I thought I was “spiritual” and Judaism was not. Lacking that ancient connection, I sought spirituality in meditation, rowing, martial arts, and the Grateful Dead.

Christmas In Jerusalem With My Beautiful Mom

Good Shabbos! Ten years ago today, I toured the Old City of Jerusalem on Christmas Day with Mom. My film "When Do We Eat?" was playing in the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival, and Mom seized the chance to visit Israel with me - something we'd never done together.

The 10th Commandment, Tony Kushner, And Me

The Ten Commandments prohibit murder with just two words, while the prohibition on coveting includes fifteen. The no-coveting rule is the 10th Commandment - the climax of God's revelation at Sinai. Why?

My Beliefs About God In 100 Words

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.

The Extraordinary Death Of Eddie Dinkowitz

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.

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.

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...

Getting High In The Holiest Place on Earth

Getting High In The Holiest Place on Earth

Israel in general, and Jerusalem in particular, is a tangibly holy place. During my recent journey, I connected with its spiritual energy everywhere I went, and I was changed by it.

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.

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.