On Joy

Joy and thriving are not the journey but the destination. According to Archbishop Desmund Tutu, “if you set out to be joyful you're not going to be joyful”. Joy happens when we follow patterns adapted from virtues and live in attunement with people and in harmony with the greater world.

The Dali Lama and Desmond Tutu identified eight pillars to help us live lives of Joy.

Emotional Reflection

A wave crashes on a person.  They begin to drown, and then breathe as the wave passes.  They can either be afraid to go into the water for the rest of their life or they can try and look at the experience in a novel way.  We all experience life, but the key is how we interpret it.

Enjoying the Passage of Time

“The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time. Any fool can do it, there ain't nothing to it.” These words were sung by James Taylor. While he probably did not have Shabbat in mind, he might as well have been talking about the heart and soul of the Sabbath: time.

What is time actually? Time is the fluid in which we all swim. Time is an intangible thing. Time cannot be found or created. Time is not an abstract concept. Time is real. Time is as real and fundamental as air is to our existence. Time is what gives events and things meaning.

Material Things

What is the role that material things should play in our lives? What is their place in our spiritual make up? In “The Sabbath” by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel he articulates a paradigm for how humans relate to their surroundings. This paradigm is expressed through the concepts of space and time.

Hello from Camp Eisner

Yesterday Jodi and I went up to camp Eisner and Crane lake to visit our kids up there. I do not know who was happier to see who, us or them. All I can say is it is such a treat for Jodi and I, as the educator and Rabbi for this community, to have such wonderful kids to visit!

Jewels of Elul

Craig Taubman is a singer/songwriter and music producer based in Los Angeles, California. For several years now Craig has offered "Jewels of Elul", daily reflections delivered by email, in preparation for the High Holy Days. Craig writes:

A few months ago, I went out to lunch with Bruce, an old friend, who asked me what it would take to bring back Jewels of Elul? I answered, “Time and money.” He said, “What if I gave you the money?”

Dialog, Disagreement and Listening

For the past few days I have had the privilege of studying at a workshop at Yale Divinity School entitled: Joy and the Good Life. There were about 200 learners and scholars, and pastors, and one Reform Rabbi (yours truly) at the conference. We gathered together to discuss what the good life is and how to achieve it.


Ritual allows us to express abstract concepts through concrete acts. Ritual can play just as important a role today as it did in the time of the Temple. Our ancestors figured out ways to use ritual to bring us into alignment with God and our own spirituality.