People I’m Grateful For

Fred Halliday

Aretha Franklin

Adam Schiff

Melissa Crabbe

Lori Pompa

Andy Levin

Deborah Waxman

Kitty Piercy

Yitzhak Husbands-Hankin

Arik Ascherman

Stephen Colbert

Harvey Milk

Bernard Lipnick

Leon Lissek

Walter Kania

Sheila Peltz Weinberg

David Teutsch

Linda Holtzman

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Harriet Tubman

Anat Hoffman

Sarah Silverman

Marjorie Berman

Jon Stewart

Jerry Curtis

Leonard Cohen

Fred Rogers

Melanie Oommen

Rosa Parks


Bob Dylan

Barack Obama

Michelle Obama


It’s Time To Decide Which America We Are

Can’t say it any better than Gretchen Kelly

Drifting Through

photo: DHS Office of Inspector General, June 10 2019

Will they hear the fireworks?

The children, shivering under a mylar blanket in a cold cell. Will they hear them?

This is America. We are in a place, right now, where we can’t say that our darkest days are in our past.

And it feels sick. It feels shocking. Unbelievable.

But it’s real. Our country is no stranger to hurting innocent people.

We are a nation of contradictions. We are fighters. A nation of liberators and emancipators. But we are also a nation that is soft-bellied and apathetic, practiced at not seeing the things we don’t want to see. Life can look perfect if we ignore what’s happening just outside of our peripheral vision.

Keep your head down. Sip your cold beer. Check the mail. Nod at your neighbor. Smile. Everything is fiiiiiiine. Indifference is one helluva drug.

We are one part Gilead, one part Stepford. The contrast is startling…

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“Let’s Go, My People!”–Remarks at the 2019 Women+s March Olympia

Great words from my friend & colleague, Rabbi Seth Goldstein

Rabbi 360

I was honored to be invited to deliver remarks as part of the opening program at the Women’s March in Olympia on January 19. Here is what I shared:

Shabbat shalom!

“A Sabbath of peace” is what we say today, but today is going to be a Sabbath of causing ruckus.

Thank you, it is an honor to be here with you today on this sacred occasion, a sacred day on our calendar but also a day made sacred and special by this gathering here today. I am humbled to be up here with these powerful voices of truth we have just heard and will hear.

In the Jewish liturgical tradition, we read the entirety of our sacred Scripture, the Torah, the first five books of the bible over the course of a year. Beginning in the fall, each week on the Sabbath we read a section, beginning with Genesis…

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This prayer from my dear friend, Rabbi Katie Mizrahi, stirred people deeply at the recent Reconstructionist Jewish convention in Philly.


Image result for jacob dreamJacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely YHVH is in this place and i, I did not know it. And he was amazed and said, Mah Norah Hamakom Hazeh, “How awesome is this Place! This is none other than the House of God, and the very gateway to heaven.”

Genesis 28:16-17

God was in this place but i, I didn’t know it.  Love.  Yes. Blessing. There unseen all along.

But also, darker things.  Dangerous things.

Hatred and Antisemitism were in this place and i, I didn’t (really) know it.

Mass media spewing lies into dark digital corners and until 2016 I wasn’t paying attention.

Downward-spiraling white people struggling and seething, and i, I haven’t cared enough.

Slavery’s legacy ripping through a broken criminal justice system this place.  And i, I’ve been white enough not to have to worry too urgently.

Immigrant children imprisoned (not just now but for…

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Starbucks #WaronHanukkah

and of course, with Hanukkah upon us, it’s time to bring this old blogpost out again too…

The Accidental Rabbi

We thought the red cups were bad enough in Starbucks’ ongoing War on Christmas. Then the hideous polar bear cookie controversy erupted.


As you all know, these hideous cookies, deliberately designed by Starbucks’ holiday season hating masterminds, depict a sweet winter-themed polar bear having had its throat slit by evil terrorists. Though Starbucks denies it, we know that their intention was for tens of thousands of unsuspecting customers to buy these cookies for their kids for Christmas, and then for their kids to freak out upon seeing what their parents were probably too busy to see: that these polar bears have been murdered and are still bleeding out.

Now Starbucks has opened a new front in this culture war – a War on Hanukkah. These seemingly innocent and religiously pluralistic gingerbread cookies were spotted in Starbucks shops across North America last week, during Hanukkah.

ginger death

That’s right. Starbucks now is taking the…

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What Must Be Admitted about the War on Christmas

It’s time to bring this post out again…

The Accidental Rabbi

You may have noticed recent news stories describing the latest salvo in our nation’s ongoing War on Christmas – Starbucks Corp has been enlisted to de-Santa-fy its Christmas themed red/green holiday season beverage containers, and has launched a shock and awe campaign designed to place nothing but plain red cups with green trim into the hands of tens of millions of customers. As the War on Christmas enters its second decade, I fear this latest attempt to turn the tide in this ill-conceived war is doomed to fail before it even begins.

Facebook is buzzing with memes claiming that the West is finally starting to win the War on Christmas, but we're not fooled. How many more lives will be lost in this campaign, launched hastily by the Bush Administration and continuing on in various guises through the current Administration? Facebook is buzzing with memes claiming that the West is finally starting to win the War on Christmas, but we’re not fooled. How many more lives will be lost in this campaign, launched hastily by the Bush Administration and continuing on in various guises through the current Administration?

What concerns me most is that we should have won…

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Enumerating Good Things

This is an experiment. I’m going to start each work day this week by enumerating 7 good things going on in the world, and 7 good things going on in my personal life.


  1. There’s a planned Philly rally this week for Jewish & Muslim youth who want to support each other during these times.
  2. HIAS is working hard to help refugees.
  3. There’s a renewed appreciation and level of support for independent journalism.
  4. Millions of people openly express their opposition to Trump & his policies daily.
  5. Rev. William Barber is doing inspiring work.
  6. Other liberal democracies are stepping up to lead with good values even though Trump is not.
  7. Indivisible is making an effort to resist in an organized way.


  1. Melissa loves me.
  2. Sparky is my dog.
  3. I’m working for a progressive religious movement.
  4. The days are getting longer.
  5. My son has new shoes.
  6. Sherry Diamond is caring and helpful.
  7. Trader Joe’s frozen entrees are delicious.


Oh well, I didn’t do it for 3 days. But I might as well try again.


  1. Mr. Fleury is a great teacher and mentor for my son.
  2. I am appreciated at my work place.
  3. I have a warm safe place to live.
  4. I get invited to Shabbat dinner at friends’ homes.
  5. Many people care about me.
  6. I can be very, very funny.
  7. I have an exciting book I’m getting closer to finishing.


  1. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals firmly rejected Trump’s Muslim travel ban.
  2. I’m hearing that Republicans are getting inundated with cards, calls, emails, and other messages from progressives.
  3. All the Senate Democrats voted as a bloc against DeVos’ confirmation, and with 2 Republicans forced the VP to have to cast a tie-breaking vote.
  4. There are some Israelis and Palestinians who are working together to aid Syrian refugee children currently living in shelters on the Greek isle of Lesbos.
  5. It’s possible that Trump’s administration will screw lots of things up in a way that backfires bigly against their authoritarian and alt-right backers. I don’t know if it’s merely possible, or if it’s probable, or unlikely but still possible – but I do know that the chances of it are non-zero.
  6. California, Oregon, and Washington state are really emerging as a regional block that is organized around a progressive vision of America.
  7. Many Jewish-American organizations came out strong against the “Regularization Bill” passed by the right wingers in the Knesset earlier this week.

What I Can Do For You!

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:
  • interfaith collaboration
  • writing, especially for advocacy
  • essays / non-fiction writing / research-based journalistic pieces
  • 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:
  • Israel/Palestine peacebuilding
  • collaborative business projects that build positive bonds between Palestinians and Israelis
  • Jewish / Muslim coalition building and mutual advocacy
  • LGBT equality
  • 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 inexperiencedcropped-rfk-2.jpg
  • 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)College_row_at_wesleyan
  • 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.