As you may already have heard, I’m in the job market. I just want to share, widely, what I think I’m good at, and what kinds of work I’d be excited to do. Happy to talk with folks who may have leads, advice, or opportunities.
I would describe my top skills, experiences, and interests as follows:
teaching, especially making complex or often inaccessible cultural or religious ideas understandable to a general audience
organizing information and presentations
interpersonal communication, including strong people skills and cultural sensitivity skills
Hebrew (reading, writing, speaking)
French (pretty good but not as good as my Hebrew)
public speaking and presentations
social entrepreneur capabilities
Microsoft office suite, with strong Power Point / multi-media authorship skills
Biblical studies, rabbinic studies, and the ability to speak or write drawing on sacred texts
My passions include:
collaborative business projects that build positive bonds between Palestinians and Israelis
Jewish / Muslim coalition building and mutual advocacy
progressive approaches to religion (promoting non-fundamentalist, non-exclusivist,”first-do-no-harm” approaches to all religion)
Democratic party politics in the US
income inequality / poverty
interfaith efforts on issues like undocumented immigrants in the US, environmental advocacy, human rights, etc.
supporting and researching interfaith families within the Jewish community (my last job was focused on this work)
I think I’d be a good candidate for jobs like:
lead writer / media content developer for an NGO or advocacy organization
Executive Director of an organization that would benefit from my strengths, and that would have the staff needed to take the lead in the areas in which I’m inexperienced
speech writer for political candidates or issue campaigns
university chaplain with some teaching duties in religious/Judaic studies
Judaic studies prof at a Christian small college (problem: I have no PhD and I need a full-time position)
being hired to do a big research/writing project (like a book about a neglected historical figure or set of events, or a new curriculum, etc.), especially if it required some travel and use of my language skills.
Thank you Pres Obama and all in Congress who made Obamacare happen.
I’m sharing a screenshot of the adjusted insurance premium we will be paying even though it’s the kind of info I’d usually treat as very private. But because there are powerful political forces determined to get rid of the ACA should they ever get the chance, I feel it’s important to share our family’s concrete example.
We used the exchange for the 3rd year in a row last month to renew our coverage for 2016, and we received a modest subsidy based on our projected income, and we were very grateful. Then I lost my job unexpectedly. Our family was able to exercise the provision of the law that allows people who experience a job loss to re-submit their online
application and get a bigger subsidy to cover their health insurance costs. The amount of our subsidy has doubled, making our health insurance costs much more affordable during this uncertain and challenging time for us financially. If/when Melissa or I get our next job, we’ll have to report that change as well and then we’ll get a smaller subsidy, which is fair.
One thing I hadn’t expected to happen was that because our estimated 2016 income dropped from what I’ll call very middle class to lower middle class, not only did our subsidy to pay the insurance premiums increase, but our deductible and co-pays decreased dramatically, which I’ve learned is also part of how the law helps working families stay insured.
I can’t say enough about what this law has meant to our family. Before the ACA exchanges opened, we were only able to get coverage from one insurance company, and it was costing more than we could afford and rising unpredictably. We built up thousands of dollars in credit card debt trying to keep up with it. We tried shopping around for coverage, but no other company would insure us due to pre-existing conditions. With two kids, a mortgage, student loans, etc., we’d reached the point where we were seriously considering dropping our coverage to make ends meet, and hoping for the best. This law has saved our family’s butts.
To my conservative friends, please consider us and the millions of families like ours who benefit from this law, which is based on a model that originated with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative policy think tank, and which was promoted by Romney when he was gov of MA. I ask you to be open minded about it and not just oppose it because Obama shepherded it into law.
To my very lefty, Bernie Sanders enthusiast friends, please consider us as well, and please don’t refrain from voting for Hillary or any other Dem who ends up the nominee because you’ve been told they’re too centrist or corporate friendly and it “doesn’t make a difference.” You’re literally helping to screw my family if you do that. The uninsured rate in this country has been cut in half, and the mental health relief people like us receive from this law, just from not having to worry about how to stay insured, is enormous. These aren’t just stats. This is real. Thanks for listening.
Thanks to my kids, I’m a 40-something dad who hears a lot of pop music (and, because of my daughter’s love of it, country music too). Most of it isn’t my cup of tea.
But some songs pop out for me, often if they do innovative and twisty things with influences from earlier rock / folk / funk / pop music (that I happen to like.) Creating new religious/spiritual/literary/homiletical/linguistic art from earlier rabbinic and biblical texts is the basis of midrash, and engaging in that activity is sometimes called “drashing.” I like the way a lot of songs today drash on earlier music.
Elle King’s Ex’s & Oh’s. I hear echoes of Nancy Sinatra, Cyndi Lauper, Melissa Ethridge, and even her contemporaries, Adele and Amy Winehouse – both of whose music serves as midrash on a variety of earlier styles.
Cee Lo Green is doing it for me too:
I’m hearing so much wonderful early 70’s Motown, or maybe 60’s – I’m not an expert on this stuff. Al Green. James Brown. My wife even says a bit of Marvin Gaye.
Neko Case, drawing on vintage country and folk, as well as some 90’s REM sensibilities, mixed with some torch worthy of K. D. Lang, released Hold On, Hold On in 2009:
As we enter into the part of the year in which we read the Exodus story in our synagogues, here’s an excerpt from a chapter from my recent book, Moses: A Stranger among Us, that I hope you’ll enjoy. The book is a terrific resource for clergy of all faiths, especially those looking for good stuff for sermons, and it’s also a really accessible and usable scholarly work on Moses. What follows is part of Chapter 10, “Moses” – the quotation marks are intentional, as in someone making air quotation marks as they say the name Moses.
Since 1985, a group of Christian Bible scholars have worked on what has been known as the Jesus Seminar. Their web site states, “. . . the Seminar was organized to discover and report a scholarly consensus on the historical authenticity of the sayings . . . and events . . . attributed to Jesus in the gospels.”
Even though their work involves questioning the historical accuracy of how the New Testament presents Jesus, many of the Jesus Seminar professors are also Christian pastors invested in a living Christian faith. By closely analyzing the New Testament texts and reviewing other available historical information, these scholars have sought to develop theories about who the actual, historical Jesus may have been, and which sayings and actions attributed to him are most likely to be authentic.
In part, what they seek to do is better understand how their religion evolved in its first two centuries of being. They want to better
understand the various early Christian groups that produced the different gospels, for instance, and how each of them may have shaped or added to the teachings attributed to Jesus over the years.
It’s important to bear in mind that in the ancient world, the common practice was for disciples of a great master to add to his (or occasionally, her) sayings and teachings. When faithful disciples would add to their master’s sayings, they would often attribute the new sayings to him, out of respect and loyalty to the school of thought that he had founded. Disciples and students were not eager to claim personal authorship of new ideas for themselves, nor did they have the need modern Westerners often have for historical accuracy.
When rival groups of disciples of the same master would interpret the master’s life and teachings differently, they would be sure to develop additional sayings in his name that reflected their varying ideological perspectives. In this way, a master’s teachings would sometimes develop over time along different ideological lines, in some cases evolving beyond what the master himself would have condoned or even imagined. This was a practice that was so normal that it was not noteworthy in the ancient world. (The Islamic studies professor, Omid Safi, commenting about similar processes that have played out in Islam, writes: “There might have been one historical Muhammad, but there have been many memories of Muhammad.”) – from his book, Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters
In Jewish tradition, scholars see the same pattern having played out among the early rabbis. There are many teachings and sayings attributed in the Talmud to great sages like Hillel or Rabbi Akiva, for example. Both men had many disciples and developed popular schools of thought. It is likely that over time, sayings accrued to them that they never actually uttered. Sometimes different groups within a developing religious tradition would join together to consolidate and canonize an official version of their sacred texts. This usually involved discussion and compromise, as the different groups would each want their own texts and traditions included in the canon. In the ancient Middle East, the canonizers of sacred texts were not operating within the framework of modern Western writing, and therefore they were quite comfortable putting multiple and even contradictory written traditions alongside each other as part of the finalized sacred canon.
The canonizers of the New Testament, like the redactors of the Torah that I discussed in chapter 6, were not threatened by presenting their contemporary readers with a Bible designed as a composite text that includes multiple accounts of the same story, complete with contradictions and logical or narrative conflicts. This is why there are four gospels in the New Testament, not just one. The New Testament even presents two gospels that have conflicting genealogies of Jesus’s ancestry (see Matthew and Luke).
As the scholars involved in the Jesus Seminar have continued their work, they have offered a new way of looking at Jesus as he is presented in the New Testament. They see Jesus as a literary composite figure, a combination of some of his own authentic teachings as well as the varying and sometimes conflicting teachings of others who came after him. Some of these scholars have even started writing about the difference between “Jesus” and Jesus. “Jesus” is the composite literary character we find when we take the entire New Testament as a whole that is made up of many component parts: different writings from different communities with different agendas, writings that were joined together by editors and canonizers. Jesus – without quotes – is the historical person who lived, taught, inspired large numbers of people, and died about 2,000 years ago in Roman occupied Judea.
Needless to say, the written use of “Jesus” as a way of making a distinction that is important to the Jesus Seminar scholars was bound to upset some Christian religious traditionalists. One of the most common criticisms of the Jesus Seminar from some Christian conservatives is that their entire endeavor is heresy. Once they deconstruct traditional Christian belief to the point that Jesus becomes “Jesus,” the conservatives argue, they’ve left the fold. Many liberal Christians, on the other hand, disagree, and don’t see a threat to their tradition through this kind of historical inquiry.
In rabbinical school we were required to take a course on Christianity taught by a local Methodist minister . . . who is also a Jesus Seminar scholar. Rev. Dr. Hal Taussig shared how the research he has done into who the historical Jesus might have been has deepened his appreciation for the best aspects of his religion. In addition to the interest he expressed in discovering which sayings and teachings are most likely to have been authentic to the historical Jesus, Dr. Taussig also has found great value in identifying the sayings that were most likely attributed to Jesus by others during the decades following his death. This information reveals insight into how spiritual life developed in early Christian communities under different circumstances. What Dr. Taussig modeled was a way of relating to one’s own religion with an attitude of excitement and curiosity about what kinds of truth and beauty one might see if one is willing to look behind the curtain of the myth, letting go of dogma and approaching the past with a sense of curiosity and adventure. It’s in this same spirit that I have chosen to write this last chapter not on Moses, but rather on “Moses.”