Monthly Archives: October 2011

Everybody Has a Prayer Chair

If there was ever any doubt that Oprah Winfrey wanted America to get religion, I think the Sunday programming on her new television network has quickly dispelled it. Each week, her show ‘Super Soul Sunday’ starts at 8:00 — in the morning. Not only does it air on Sunday morning, but it also stays on for three straight hours. Those of you familiar with church services will know: that’s much longer than a Catholic mass; that’s practically Baptist worship. It requires a serious standing commitment. Continue reading

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Sacred Traces

Since fall has finally settled upon us, I’m starting to savor memories of our recent summer vacation – not because I am pining for warmer days, but because summer in Reykjavik, Iceland is very much like autumn here in New York. In the photographs we took this August, I’m standing bundled in a gray scarf and woolen jacket with cheeks ruddy from the wind. The weather tends to get nippy at the edge of the world. My husband and I started planning a trip to Iceland after the two of us watched some footage in a documentary film where the camera panned a desolate graveyard beside a simple country church there. The stark beauty of it was striking. “What an amazing place,” I told my husband. “Let’s go.” Continue reading

Shalom Near and Far

The first time I stepped into a sukkah hut, I was a new student enrolled at an ecumenical divinity school across the street from a Jewish theological seminary where we could cross-register for classes. Although my school was avowedly Christian, it prided itself on graduating students who were Jewishly literate, and our neighbors across the street were often enlisted to assist us in this endeavor. They had generously served as consultants on this particular sukkah I beheld with outsized admiration. Here was a lovely little hut where we Gentiles could join in celebrating Sukkot, the Jewish festival of thanksgiving. Continue reading