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My grandmother’s candlesticks

I ENTERED the classroom of 32 seventh graders at the worst time imaginable — seventh period on a Friday afternoon, the weekend before winter break. I knew the deck was stacked against me. I had been warned by the very enthusiastic teacher who asked me to read my short story as part of her unit on ethnic literature, that this class was a “rowdy” group.

I came prepared with two grocery bags, one filled with boxes of donuts and soda and the other with my copy of Chicken Soup for the Jewish Soul and my grandmother’s candlesticks.

I knew one thing for certain; Even if the students didn’t understand my story, they would appreciate the Jewish tradition that learning should be a sweet experience.  Munching on donuts while listening to me read would capture their stomachs, if not their hearts.

I scanned the overcrowded classroom; typical adolescents sporting pimples, nose rings, hair gel and Attitude. When the teacher introduced me as the local Tucson author who wrote a short story called “Grandmother’s Candlesticks,” eyes rolled, chairs tilted back and notebooks opened in preparation for some serious doodling.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:05 )

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View From Denver

Flight of the alone to the Alone

Flight of the alone to the AloneWHAT is prayer? It is the defeat of the illusion of human community. For the human condition, as the Greek philosopher Plotinus said, is the flight of the alone to the Alone. Prayer is the periodic hopscotch to the ultimate loneliness, and the ultimate union. Prayer prefigures the conclusion of life and animates the path of life. Prayer is paradox, for we pray from out of our inescapable existential aloneness in order to transcend it. We pray for everything that connects us. For children. For...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:05 )

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View From Denver

Where is G-d?

Where is G-d?WHERE is G-d? The Kotzker Rebbe answered, “wherever you let Him in.” It’s a poignant response, but it really answers a different question, “where is G-dliness?” “Where is G-d” is a philosophical question with a poetic and profound answer in Rashi, based on a phrase in this week’s Torah portion. Due to its pithiness and poetry, this is my favorite Rashi in the Torah. Exodus 33:21-23 reads: “ . . . Behold! there is a place near Me; you [Moses] may stand on the rock. When My gl...
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View from Central Park

Smitten by winter’s charm

I can’t imagine anything coming closer to Disneyland for snow sports enthusiasts than the SnowSports Industry of America (SIA), this year celebrating it’s 60th anniversary. Its snow show was hosted at the beginning of the month at the Colorado Convention Center, and it was awesome! For us Coloradans who have Snow White or Heidi living within us, the show was a joy. The event was kicked off with a Send Off to Sochi ceremony, highlighting the symbiotic relationship between the SIA and Olympic...
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Voice from Israel

Vienna and Jerusalem

On a recent trip to Vienna, I found myself wandering the streets of the Innere Stadt late at night. I was struck by a certain incongruity. Everything above eye level was German to the core: its language, its architecture, and its ever-present tributes to great kings, princes, composers, and artists. Yet at street level, storefronts, kiosks, and conversations expressed a wide variety of languages and places of origin. Vienna’s multiculturalism is no accident. For most of the second half of the...
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Shabbat Times

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