One of the great benefits of visiting communities where I once lived and taught is the opportunity to meet people who were my students long ago. I enjoy reconnecting with them and am occasionally amazed by how much they remember of my lectures and sermons. I recently returned to one of my former communities. I […]
Jews live their lives within the framework of the Jewish calendar. At this time of year, we identify strongly with the narratives contained in the weekly Torah portions that we read in the synagogue. Our thoughts are with the biblical characters of the current parshiyot. We live in the company of Abraham and Sarah, Lot, […]
I never thought that I would begin a discussion of the weekly Torah portion by referring to a person who was canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church. Never, that is, until I sat down to write this week’s Person in the Parsha column. The person in question is Sir Thomas More (1478-1535), the […]
Let us consider this scenario. You work for a company in which each employee has a detailed job description, which serves as the basis for his or her semi-annual evaluation. Promotions, bonuses, and raises all depend upon this evaluation. Now imagine that your fellow employee, with whom you are somewhat competitive, receives the bonus that […]
It was a magical summer, the kind that many of us experienced when we were very young and remember fondly for the rest of our lives. I spent that summer, as I did most of my childhood summers, with my family in the Rockaways, a beach resort in the outer borough of Queens, in New York City.
How does the poet get started on the process of writing a poem, or the songwriter as he sets about composing a song? Does he or she look at the environment, at what is going on in the world and seek inspiration from things external? Or does the creative artist look within, using introspection as a tool to uncover emotions out of which the poem or song can be fashioned? These questions can be asked about all creative processes, not just writing. They can be asked of the graphic artist, of the composer of music, of the sculptor.
We have all been brought up to believe in the importance of progress. For the past several centuries, the goal of philosophy, religion, culture, and certainly science has been to develop ideas and practices which advance humankind beyond its present state. Poets have acclaimed the superiority of progress; one of them, Robert Browning, put it […]