I am Proud to be a Jew…especially today.

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Today as I think about Martin Luther King and his impact, certain rhetoric of his magnificent “I Have a Dream” speech immediately echoes in my mind and gives me chills.

“I have a dream that all men are created equal.”

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character.”

But I often forget that towards the end, he quoted from the book of Isaiah Chapter 40 verses 4-5 from our Bible when he said that he has a dream that, “Every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain and the crooked places will be made straight; and the glory of God shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

What is disturbing is that when these words were written, most likely by an anonymous author of the sixth century, but attributed to the prophet Isaiah ben Amoz of the 8th century BCE, they were articulating the same hope back then that we still desperately need today.

On the one hand, it is infuriating. Why hundreds of years later there are still crooked places that need to be straightened? Why are there too many to mention? Why is this the plight of humanity? Why can’t we get it right?

On the other hand, it is profoundly moving. From the time of Isaiah to the civil rights movement until today, it is our tradition that continues to instill dreams in all people regardless of the color of their skin, the beliefs […]

What’s Your Opinion on Rosie O’Donnell selling Anti-Israel Artwork

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Rosie O’Donnell got caught red handed, but I am seriously worried about all the people of influence and power who don’t.

Just about three weeks ago on December 11, 2014, the Washington Post reported that Rosie O’Donnell was selling artwork on her website that was deeply critical of Israel’s actions towards Hamas. The problem with the collage like photo pieces were that they were taken in Syria. Yes. You read correctly Syria. She even had the chutzpa to comment with political messages on the anti-Israel pieces.  The blogger who writes for Israelly Cool under the pseudonym Aussie Dave said it most succinctly, “My first reaction was equal parts disappointment and WTF?”  Once her lies were made public, the “controversial pieces” were no longer available for purchase on her website.

Rosie O’Donnell is not my problem (although I think what she did is beyond the pale).  She is not the first nor the last celebrity to push her political beliefs on her fans banking on their trust. My problem is that every day we are fed tons of information that is frankly speculative or just plain false. We don’t have the time or the desire to verify every fact that we read. So we don’t. And then these lies shape public opinion and deepen the divide between us.

My husband’s favorite quote is “Trust but verify.” When you see anti-Israel propaganda by a celebrity, you may want to look for its validity. Or more broadly when you see someone inciting a controversy with no expertise or background in it and claiming it is in the name of peace, you may want to do a little background research.

You can’t research everything. You have to pick. So pick […]

Advice from the New Year’s Scrooge

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Call me the New Year’s Scrooge. I don’t stay up to watch the ball drop. I never drink champagne (it just makes me sleepy). I could care less about the bowls (unless of course, Ohio State is playing). That said, with all the ad nauseum talk of resolutions, I can’t help but contemplate what I want to do differently in 2015.

Here are my BIG THREE (I hope they will inspire you and that you will share yours in the comments below).

I WANT to stop WANTING to lose those ten pounds. I have yet to remember a year that I did not think that this is the year I am going to lose ten pounds. Even the years that I was ten pounds less than the year before, I still wanted to lose those ten pounds.  I want to accept and embrace me – all of me – today.  When my mother was near death, she said to me, “I just wished I spent less time worrying about my weight and more time realizing how amazing my body worked.”

I want to STOP SAYING, “GIVE ME A SECOND” every time one of my children asks for my attention. My response has become so ubiquitous that now when I ask my five year old to brush his teeth, he says, “Give me a second.”  This year when one of them asks for my attention, before I react with my habitual quip, I want (at least some of the time, or at the very least once) to stop right then and give them what they need – my presence and my love.

I want to REDEFINE SUCCESS and […]

2014 Hanukkah Giveaway!!!

Happy Hanukkah! I am giving away three Mod Dot Dreidels from one of my favorite artists – Jonathan Adler.

For a chance to win, enter below.

Winners will be randomly selected. Limit one entry per person.

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God Goes Hollywood in Exodus: Gods and Kings

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Spoiler alert: Morgan Freeman does not play God in Exodus: Gods and Kings.  And this is only one of the many courageous risks that director Ridley Scott took in bringing the story of Moses to life in the just released movie. Instead of trying to depict the literal text of the Bible as we saw in the 10 Commandments with Charlton Heston, Ridley Scott does midrash - Hollywood style.

For those of you that have read the Bible and for those of you that have it in your ibooks queue, what you may not know is that it does not read like Gone Girl. There are a lot of gaps, duplications and conflicting stories in the ancient text. Since the 2nd century AD rabbis have added Midrash – commentaries, stories and interpretations – to try and fill in the gaps and make sense of these teachings. These midrashim have become essential to the body of work known as the Jewish tradition because they bring the stories to life and make them applicable to our modern lives.

Exodus: Gods and Kings is Midrash in the year 2014. The movie was clearly trying to answer some of the unanswered questions of the Moses story:

  • What was the relationship between the brothers in the palace growing up? Were they competitive or were they close?   
  • How did Moses talk to God? Was he delusional? Did he have visions? Did he see angels?
  • How did the Red Sea part? Was it truly miraculous, or was it just low tide that day?

I am not a movie critic so I did not evaluate Exodus: Gods and Kings […]