On plagues and hardened hearts (d'var Torah for parashat Vaera)
New essay in Religion & Literature: "Transformative Work: Midrash & Fanfiction"

Jewish Renewal and my red boots


I am utterly, endlessly, delighted to have sparked Rabbi Barbara (Shulamit) Thiede's essay Jewish Renewal's Red Boots.

Reb Shulamit and I were admitted to the ALEPH rabbinic ordination program at the same time. (Somewhere I still have the email which Reb Marcia, our dean, sent to the student e-mail list in which she invited them to welcome two extraordinary new talmidim). Reb Shulamit and I were in DLTI together; we took countless classes together; and last year we were blessed to receive smicha together.

And at this year's Ohalah conference, to which I took only two pairs of shoes (including the pair of burgundy-red knee-high Doc Martens which Ethan gave to me for my thirty-fifth birthday), she found inspiration in my footwear.

She writes:

What is Jewish Renewal?

It’s so very hard to describe something that ranges from starshine to sunshine, something that sparkles and sings and calls on the deepest spaces and places of the soul while making you laugh with recognition...

...[When we gather] we pray all at once together or in the spontaneous creation of a kind of complicated twenty-part madrigal. It's awesome, actually.

As are the Velveteen Rabbi’s red boots. They are the example you need to understand Jewish Renewal.

Curious? Read the whole essay at her blog Adrenaline Drash.

Thank you for honoring me with this essay, dear Reb Shulamit! And thank you also for speaking such wonderful truths about our transdenominational Jewish community, our values, and our vision for the world -- and the Judaism -- we hope to help midwife into being. Boots and all.