COVID-19 could kill us, but it shouldn’t also bring shame upon us or our infected loved ones. And it won’t. Unless we play into the growing stigma that is at once immoral and dangerous to our mental health. If we play into that stigma, then COVID-19 will do both: shame us unfairly while increasing the chances it might kill us.
I feel this sense of deja vu as we began to cancel plans and hunker down. Yes, the coronavirus-compelled communal self-quarantine descending upon our county, state and country felt vaguely familiar. Here's how we get through then and will now.
Rabbi Allan Smith, mentor to thousands of Reform Jewish youth, died. He had a profound influence on my life, and on the direction of the Reform Jewish movement.
In a speech at Hebrew Union-College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Or Ami congregant Seth Front kvells about the positive impact that Congregation Or Ami interns and rabbis have had on their daughter Amanda.
A year after the Borderline shooting and the SoCal fires, we reflect on the first person experiences, and explore Torah's insistence that we take action in the face of danger, including mass shootings and changes in climate.
Don't Wait: Lessons from my father-in-law Murray Novembert. (Yom Kippur sermon)
A poem about facing the moments over the High Holy Days - small but meaningful - when my dad won't be there.
A poem about those moments when I'm not feeling the sadness in the midst of the mourning.
Poem about when a friend visited me during my dad's shiva.
Standing for Kaddish that first time is surreal. This poem captures the multitude of feelings as I stood in temple to recite Kaddish for my father Ken Kipnes.
I am still a mourner. A poem about how my body - tears, trembling shoulders, welling up of emotions - remind me that I am still a mourner. Remembering my father, Ken Kipnes.
Where do I find a minyan in Disneyland when I need to say Kaddish for my father? Outside It’s a Small World, after all! There, my students ensured I had a community for Kaddish.
Low level sadness, right beneath the surface, is the constant guest in the heart and mind of the mourner. This poem reflects those feelings during shloshim for my father, Ken Kipnes, Papa.
A video that explores what it feels like to be a mourner, featuring my poem - The Secret Life of a Mourner.
A video that explores what to say to a mourner. Of particular significance for me since my father Ken Kipnes died.