Category: Midrash

Hebrew for “delving,” specifically of a religious text. In this context, the text is also life.

Living-Room Torah

INSIDE A MODEST HOME ON Sonoma’s East Side sits our town’s best-kept open Jewish secret. Dubbed the “France Street Shtibbl” (or, for non-Yiddish speakers, the “France Street Beit Midrash (house of study)”), our living room has hosted a semi-monthly (or,…

First Graf: Path of the Just

MUSSAR (מוסר) IS A HEBREW TERM usually translated as “ethical behavior/discipline,” or to put it more succinctly, the fine art and science of being a mensch. Its roots are almost as old as Judaism itself — according to Genesius, it’s…

A Torah of Fire

“If you have learned much Torah, do not take credit for yourself — for that is why you were created.” — Pirkei Avot IT’S OFTEN OVER MY HEAD, but there’s an eight-page “parsha sheet” (Torah-commentary newsletter) I have been following…

I’m Ed, He’s Johnny

FOR MOST OF this year, I have been co-hosting a weekly radio show with my rabbi (and showhost), Steve Finley. It’s billed as the Sonoma Valley Interfaith Ministerial Association Radio Hour, and is an exploration of different faith traditions and…

History Lesson: Chain

“Everything you do, here and at home, is part of Sonoma Valley Jewish history.” That’s what I used to tell the students in our synagogue’s Hebrew school, and it’s also one of the lessons from this week’s Torah portion, Ki…

Lamed-Vavniks, Unite!

Are you a Lamed-Vavnik? According to Jewish tradition, there are 36 exceptionally righteous (read: supermensch-like) people in the world in each generation, and without whom the world would cease to exist. (In Hebrew counting, 36 is “lamed vav” (lamed =…