This week's portion: thinking about sacrifice
The heartbreak of Itamar

Thanks... the folks at Bnai Or for the music, the delightful hand-drum and guitar and even wee triangular mandolin, and the chance to offer a d'var Torah and then to share some poems from 70 faces which sparked excellent conversation;

to my dear friend Kris, who watched Drew on Shabbat morning so I could be a focused and present guest at Bnai Or;

to my dear friends Ora and Yossi, who brought a havdalah candle and guitar to my sister's house at the end of Shabbat so we could make havdalah, for the sweet singing and the Thai food and the connection;

to my sister for hosting Drew and me, and especially for watching him on Sunday while I went to meet more people and have more conversations about Torah and poetry and Judaism;

to the women (and one man!) of the Sisterhood of Temple Aliyah in Needham, for welcoming me into such a beautiful home with coffee and pastries and fruit, for listening attentively as I spoke about my journey to the rabbinate and as I shared poems, and then for asking wonderful questions about feminism, theodicy, miscarriage, liturgy;

to the folks at the Jewish Connections group at First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Arlington, and especially to my host Lori, for inviting me to share poems -- listening with such focus -- and then asking great questions about my spiritual practices, my favorite blogs, how I balance looking out and looking in, and more.

Rachel reads

"Rachel reads," photo by Lorianne DiSabato.

It was an exhausting but honestly wonderful weekend. I'm home now, trying to find the right balance between looking at the news of what's happening in the world (and finding myself pretty heartsick -- I may write about that later) and buckling down to begin learning Esther trope and doing the other work which is on my plate today. Anyway: thanks to everyone who came to each of these 70 faces events. It was a joy to share this weekend with you.