Mourning a Pet Dog

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For the sake of transparency, allow me to admit that I am an Orthodox rabbi who does own a pet dog. She is a truly wonderful creature: Tame, gentle, loving and tender, she seems to think that everyone on two legs is her best friend and avoids as much as possible the four-legged alternatives. Approaching… Read More

Finding Lessons in the Redwood Forest

The tree is a sustaining metaphor in Judaism. It stands at the center in the Garden of Eden, perhaps the first metaphor authored by Adam and Eve. The Torah is referred to as a tree of life, it’s teaching an illumination of meaning and happiness. The first Psalm reads that the happiness of the individual… Read More

Relevance Defined

Relevance. We use this word a great deal at the Jewish Federation of Howard County. Recently, a community leader asked me what it means. I thought it was an excellent question, one worth exploring. In order for people to donate to any cause, they want to have some sort of meaningful connection to it. What… Read More

BBYO Targets Eighth-Graders

This winter, the Baltimore Council of the BBYO will look to bring the BBYO experience to Jewish eighth-graders. The teens will have an opportunity to make friends who go to different schools, to learn about the BBYO and maybe even to hold leadership positions in the organization. Most importantly, the goal will be to bring… Read More

Returning Home

When I was a little girl, I remember my mother gently telling me that there is a G-d and He loves us. She would say that her mother told her the same thing. This simple knowing formed the foundation of what I believed about the world, filling me with an innate sense of security. In… Read More

An Outrage That Is Not Academic

The American Studies Association, a scholarly group supposedly dedicated to the study of American culture and history, recently voted to boycott Israeli institutions. On one level, it is tempting to ignore its decision. The ASA is a small, marginal organization whose impact on academic affairs, much less American foreign policy, is negligible. Moreover, it is… Read More

A Homecoming

I grew up Jewish. Simply Jewish. My late father, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, raised us in an observant Orthodox household. Our lives were filled with beautiful ritual, and we celebrated the wonder of a familial spiritual connection. That said, we also danced along the fine line of progressive Judaism. My father’s Torah was an expression of… Read More

Celebrating Trees

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Tu B’Shevat, the “New Year for trees” that falls on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat, occurs in less than two weeks, on Jan. 16. Trees get their own New Year for a very practical reason: There is a Torah prohibition regarding eating the fruit from trees for the first three years…. Read More

A Real-life Solution To The Agunah Problem

I have testified unsuccessfully in Annapolis three times over the past 20 years before committees of the Maryland legislature to urge the enactment of a modified version of the “get bill” that I personally drafted in 1982 at the urging of the late Rabbi Moshe Sherer, chief executive of Agudath Israel of America. The “get… Read More

Inclusive Community

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When a family member has a disability, meeting his or her needs and the difficulties that may arise from them can become a focal point for the family. These challenges are often in addition to the ups and downs of typical families and can add a new level of stress and concern to everyday life…. Read More