Your Feelings are Valid. Your Trauma is Valid.

Spanning from ancient history to modern times, the Jewish people have endured an abundance of trauma.  Every day there is a new anti-Semitic attack making the news. Additionally, many individuals continue to be affected by the Holocaust even 80 years…

Masked

As I strolled down Pico Boulevard on my second day back in America, I was struck by the friendliness of all the security guards I passed while en route to my destination. It took me a while to realize that…

My Maternal Grandmother is a Jewish Convert. So What am I?

Until she was a junior in high school, my maternal grandmother was unaware of the existence of Judaism.  It was not her fault– she had been raised in what she calls a “bubble:” a religious community in rural Michigan, where…

Disloyal: Anti-AntiSemitism

In October of last year, President Donald Trump, a non-Jew, accused Rep. Ilhan Omar of ‘virulent antisemitism’ for characterizing the State of Israel as ‘hypnotizing’ the world to hide its evils, implying that Zionists are motivated by ‘the Benjamins,’ and…

The Power of Prayer

I believe that our generation is craving a spiritual connection. We can sense the depth of our existence even though an epicurean mist has made our vision hazy. Last year while working for the UCLA Journal of Religion I read…

How Counting the Omer Makes Time More Real

When a baby is conceived, their parents excitedly count the days until their birth. After birth, each week is precious. During the first years of a child’s life, for a parent, each milestone is important and shared with whoever cares…

Loving or Hating a Jew: Which is Easier?

“I have never seen such beautiful blue water!” Jennifer proclaimed as she is telling you about her amazing spring break trip to Cancun. You could not afford to go anywhere. You feel the tremendous stress of your forced smile and…

Parashat Acharei Mot: A Lesson in Comforting

As Parashat Acharei Mot begins, Aaron is still dealing with the fallout of the tragic death of two of his sons. The Midrash in Avot D’rabbi Nathan (1:14) states that Moshe had already comforted Aaron in the immediate aftermath of…

Taste of Torah: Shabbat Hagadol — Community and Nationhood

Shabbat HaGadol (the Great Sabbath) is the name given to the Shabbat immediately preceding Passover. It is very fitting that Passover, the ultimate holiday of preparation, should have its own day honoring the very fact that Passover requires preparation. In his…

They tried to kill us. We survived. Let’s eat.

Many of our holidays deal with this same progression of events. Jews were confronted with an existential threat, we surmounted it, and now we indulge in symbolically relevant dishes. But what does this continued retelling and celebration of our near-brushes…