Ethical will: Raising individuals

Given that I put a premium on being true to one's self, one would be correct to assume that this value fundamentally informs my parenting priorities. As is nearly always the case with my ethics, this is no novel notion of mine. Let us look at Proverbs 22:6 together: חֲנֹ֣ךְ לַ֭נַּעַר עַל־פִּ֣י דַרְכּ֑וֹ גַּ֥ם כִּֽי־יַ֝זְקִ֗ין… Continue reading Ethical will: Raising individuals

Ethical will: Realize your creativity

The first verse of the Torah (Gen. 1:1) is as follows: א בְּרֵאשִׁית, בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים, אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ. 1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Here, at the outset, the Torah's very first mention of God is as a Creator. Now, fundamental to Jewish theology is the idea that humankind… Continue reading Ethical will: Realize your creativity

Ethical will: Be true to yourself

There is nothing new under the sun, including in this ethical will, but I feel it necessary to plant some flags. Also, in embarking upon this endeavor, I am taking my own advice by being true to myself. As this feels important to me, I shall respect that drive. To start: There are many voices… Continue reading Ethical will: Be true to yourself

The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 40

In less than a month's time I return to New Jersey for the unveiling of my father's tombstone, 10 months after his death. I've been preparing myself. Gravesite visitations never used to draw me, but I feel compelled to stand before his grave to tell my Papa how much I love him; and embrace the part… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 40

The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 31 Does the traditional recitation of kaddish do honor to the non-believer? I don't see why not, but there are those for whom this is a sticking point. Writer and poet Aurora Levins Morales was uncomfortable with the notion of reciting the traditional kaddish for her atheist father; she instead wrote a personal version of… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 31

The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 23

Dear Dad, Happy birthday. You would have turned 71 years old today but likely wouldn't have celebrated your birthday - it wasn't something that you thought important. When Eli was very little, Mom told me that she wished we had celebrated more special family occasions together during my childhood, including your birthdays and hers. From… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 23

The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 16

The kaddish d'rabbanan (the rabbis' kaddish) is recited by mourners during prayer services after sections of liturgy that take the form of Rabbinic discourse. As such, it contains a prayer for the well-being of Torah students: עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַל רַבָּנָן, To Israel, to the teachers, וְעַל תַּלְמִידֵיהוֹן their disciples וְעַל כָּל תַּלְמִידֵי תַלְמִידֵיהוֹן, and their… Continue reading The skeptic’s kaddish for the atheist, 16