May 19 2014
I got an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Boston University this weekend. BU is the alma mater of Nina Tassler, one of my bosses at CBS, and it was a great honor to not only receive the degree, but I also gave the convocation address at the School of Fine Arts. The School of Fine Arts includes graduates with degrees in music, theater, and the visual arts.
My Macca-friend and his wife drove up from New York to be with me for the weekend, and I had my first ever totally Shabbat-observant hotel experience. This involved the front desk letting us into our rooms rather than us using electronic card keys, taking the stairs rather than the elevator everywhere we went (including a Graduate Women In Science and Engineering luncheon which was on the ninth floor of a campus building), and making kiddush and HaMotzi (the blessing for bread) in our hotel rooms.
It was a very fun weekend and it was also very emotional. Speaking for the graduate women in science and engineering was a particularly interesting part of the weekend, with me sharing my experience about gender bias and misogyny in academia and them nodding along in agreement, to the astonishment of some of the older professors who couldn’t believe that kind of stuff still goes on! Read the rest of this entry →
May 20 2013
From the time of the end of Passover until Shavuot (which ended last Thursday night), many Jews place restrictions on their behavior which I have written about before during the period of counting the Omer (49 days from Passover to the giving of the 10 Commandments at Mt. Sinai).
Historically, this period was also one of a horrible plague that struck the students of the great Rabbi Akiva, and so certain mourning rituals were adopted during this period such as no weddings, no purchasing new clothing, and no listening to live music. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 10 2012
As I posted last week, The Yeshiva University Maccabeats have a new Hanukkah video out. In addition, four of my favorite Maccabeats have now formed a new group separate from The Maccabeats called StandFour. They put out an awesome Hanukkah “mash-up” of three popular songs written with Hanukkah-lyrics which I am loving upside down and backwards.
What I wanted to focus on, though, was something I touched on in my post about making the holidays meaningful by giving. And how taking active steps to not “just” make the holidays about the consumerism and the gifts reminds us and shows our children that giving is the true spirit of the holiday season. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 3 2012
As many of you know, I have had a several years-long obsession with the Yeshiva University Maccabeats. They are an all male a cappella group who released a Hanukkah video, “Candlelight” two Hanukkahs ago that went viral and sort of changed the face of Modern Orthodoxy and how gentiles and Jews view Orthodoxy. They sang for President Obama, they sell T-shirts (I own several and a hoodie), every Jewish kid knows who they are (and most of the kids’ moms too…). They’re wonderful and talented and sweet. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 18 2012
Passover has passed over. All of that cleaning, refraining, and restricting is over and done for another year. Phew! Right? Wrong.
Passover is the beginning of a journey of the Jewish people towards the ultimate gift that we received only after (because of!?) slavery and our liberation through the narrows of Egypt. That gift is the Torah. We commemorate receiving the Torah 50 days after Passover on Shavuot, which falls this year on May 27. The 50 days are called Sefirat Ha’Omer, or the Counting of the Omer, since sheaves (omer) of wheat were brought to the Temple during this time after Pesach. Read the rest of this entry →