Saga of our Souls


He was gone, just gone. This was my belief after my brother Kevin died in a car accident in 1986. He was 23, and I was 21. All that remained were the memories of a fun-loving, caring brother with an impish streak.

I sensed my brother’s presence by my side at times during those first years after his death. But I did not think he was in some new, better world. Jews, I was sure then, do not believe in heaven. Right? The answer, I am learning, is complex.

Sex and the Texts


First off, an admission: I stole the title for this blog entry from one of the handouts at the sisterhood retreat. Thanks, Rabbi Carey Brown. The title of her lecture also was too juicy not to cite as well: “Sex is Good! … Modesty and Pleasure Both.”

In my 40-plus years on this earth, no rabbi has ever talked about sex in context of the Bible or anything else in my presence.

Finding Our Voices


Breathe. Breathe. Relax.

The flute teacher I began studying with in high school kept saying those words, and eventually, it sunk in. The teacher showed me how to breathe from the depths of my soul – or rather my diaphragm. Leave the shoulders out of it. Breathe from your belly. Voice teachers gave me the same kind of coaching when I studied singing in my 30s. I learned to let the music flow. Music I played became less technical and more soulful. Internally, perhaps I became more soulful, too.

Sisterhood: Mahjong and Old Ladies or Something Else?


Mahjong. Bridge. Gray hair. Lots of gray hair.

Say Temple Sisterhood, and those images crowd my mind. In my 30s, when I first joined a temple, I avoided sisterhood events. I was sure I was not one of them.

But now I am 45. A mother of a 2-year-old, I’m juggling part-time work, child care, and home life with my need to become a bigger part of a Jewish community. Try the all-at-once approach, I decided, and signed up for the annual sisterhood retreat in early February.