Hello Again

It has been a while since I last posted to this site. I have not forgotten which negative commandment comes next, nor have I abandoned the blog. These past months have  been a time of reassessing what I want to accomplish with this forum. For eight years now I have written about Liturgy, Halacha, Mishna and Mitzvot. There are still plenty of topics to cover but the world of Jewish education has changed over the years, and I have changed over the years as well. What started out as a new opportunity for me to teach a wider Jewish audience, is now in need of a facelift. I dedicated this forum to the memory of my father after his death and one of the many legacies he left me was never to be afraid to reinvent myself.
In 2003 blogging was new and exciting. Today we live in a world of Facebook, Twitter and Google+. In 2003 Jewish education was built around religious school and day school. Now we have Hebrew language charter schools, home schooling and private tutors. The world of Jewish education grapples with parents who are much older when they start having children and who don’t see themselves as part of the world of the synagogue anymore. If you are a follower of my other blog, “Jewish Common Sense” you know that even the very essence of the synagogue is changing. If the synagogue is the primary location of Jewish education, then how can these changes impact the way we deliver information about our faith?
I find myself grappling more and more with theology. What do we know about God? What difference does our understanding of God have in our lives? How does prayer, meditation and spirituality fit into this picture? I have been writing about Mitzvot for a long time but I never thought to talk about the whole notion of what it means to be commanded; a challenge made by the chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary a few years ago and a topic I have been teaching as part of my adult studies seminars.
Now you see why I have not written for awhile. I have been contemplating not only this blog, but the very foundation of what I am trying to share with my students. Over the past months I have taught bible in a new way, spent ten days on a silent retreat, began to prepare for my first lessons in the field of mysticism and offered my synagogue students the chance to explore in a deeper manner, the latest discussions in understanding about what we mean when we talk about God.
In one way or the other, it all goes back to how we understand Torah. What is the nature of these five books? What did they mean to our ancestors and how do we learn from these words today? I hope to use this blog to travel, chapter by chapter through the Torah and share with you some of the insights I have learned from my teachers, colleagues and students.
Forgive me if I do not complete the study of Mitzvot. I hope to make this new venture a chance to go back to the source of all that is Jewish, to learn not only Mitzvot but the entire range of what Judaism has to offer us as individuals, as Jews and as human beings.
I hope you will find this new journey interesting and compelling and that you will want to share your ideas and comments as well.

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