Tisha b’Av, A Holy Day of Sadness

A Jewish worshipper prays at the Western Wall during prayers marking Tisha B'Av, in Jerusalem

Tish b’Av, a holy day of sadness, commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples, a day when we read the Book of Lamentations and on which many fast. Is there any benefit to living in the past, focusing on tragedy? Or can we perhaps learn a lesson from tragedy? Rabbi Michael Bernstein of […]

YouTube Is My Siddur (or, Why I Can’t Stand Prayer Books)


By Rabbi Patrick For many years, I have struggled to find a siddur that reflects the poetry of my life. I have trouble finding a book that speaks with honesty about human life, about Jewish life, and at the same time understands that humanity is not a species that lives in the literal, but lives […]

What your kippah tells me about you

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What you wear is often a symbol of who you are as a person. So too is the kippah. Velvet? Clearly religious. Knit? Clearly Amalek (according to some unruly folks). The worst is if you wear the rayon skullcaps they give you in shul outside of a religious setting. It’s like wearing short pants and […]

I was diagnosed with a chronic illness and here’s what I learned

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Last December, I was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis. It’s basically Multiple Sclerosis, but without the publicity (bad joke, but it’s somewhat true). As a Jewish spiritual leader and as a patient with a chronic illness, I’ve learned a few things I’d like to share. It’s OK to feel bad You have earned the right to […]

Parshat Pekudei (Jodie Foster, Adult ADD and Zen Buddhism for Jews)

2011 Torah

Editor’s Note: It’s #FlashbackFriday with this old video from PunkTorah, originally posted March 2009! The insights I got from watching the really bad Jodie Foster movie Contact, suffering from adult ADD and Zen Buddhism made me better understand Parshat Pekudei.

Parsha Mishpatim, Rapid Fire Jewish Banjo + Mitzvot (Torah Video Mashup)

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Laws, laws and more laws. But it’s a heck of a lot less boring when they’re read over an eight year old boy playing banjo like a you-know-what!