Header

Fighting for the Americans, Captured by the Germans, Freed by the Soviets

How a Jewish-American soldier in WWII survived in a POW camp—and even managed to celebrate Passover under the Nazis’ noses

Header

The Last Thing He Taught Me and the First Thing I Learned

How I stopped worrying and learned to lie to the most important man in my life

Header

The Last Things He Saw

Chasing the ghosts of my uncle, who was killed in action in Normandy during WWII

Header

Lost and Found

How I lost my Mormonism and came to embrace the Jewish way

Header

Sex and the Religious Girl

Growing up in a religious family where premarital sex was forbidden and sex wasn’t discussed, I wasn’t taught how to deal with the dangers I’d face

Header

From Radiohead to Klezmer

My winding journey through music mirrored my journey of Jewish discovery

Header

Divided by a Common Language

For me, learning Hebrew was a way to fit in as a Russian immigrant growing up in Israel. For the kids in my Hebrew school class in California, the language meant something entirely different.

Header

Confronting Memories of Nazi-Occupied France

A trip with my grandmother to her French hometown revealed a complex narrative of forgotten stories, newly discovered facts, and misremembered details

Header

Transgender and Jewish

When I decided to physically transition from female to male, I didn’t consciously consider how my relationship to Judaism might change as a result

Header

My Crushes on Rabbis

My youthful admiration for religious teachers, and my desire to please and even emulate them, ultimately helped me connect with myself as a Jewish adult

Header

On Being Prepared

How I found myself—and my Jewish identity—in the woods of Tennessee

Header

What My Cabbie Taught Me

In Jerusalem, I developed an unlikely friendship with a taxi driver. I owe him much more than what’s on the meter.

Header

The Holocaust History My Family Never Learned

My grandfather lost all his relatives in the Holocaust—and then hid those memories for the rest of his life

Header

Praying for Today

Becoming disabled made me question everything I thought I knew about Judaism. Then it brought me back to the religion in a way I’d never thought possible.

Header

Chanting My Way Up the Family Tree

How learning to ‘leyn’ Torah helped me connect with long-lost ancestors

Header

God of the Poconos

Finding religion at sleepaway camp

Header

Finding My Jewish Home—in Rome

A trip to Italy helped me connect to my roots in a way I never had in New York or even Jerusalem. Maybe it’s something in my DNA.

Header

When the Bronx Was Burning

As a child accompanying my father to funerals in the 1970s, I witnessed the death of the borough’s Jewish community, one person at a time

Header

Rediscovering My Judaism—in Africa

I went to Ghana to study drumming. But I learned much more about the religion I’d cast aside, including how to reclaim it.

Header

Summer of My Israeli Soldier

It was supposed to be a romantic summer in Jerusalem. But religion and politics kept getting in the way.

Header

My Last JDate

A three-part story about love, loss, and all the music in between

Header

Both Sides Now

A recent visit from an old friend left us both wondering about the choices we made about family and career

Header

Border Crossings

I didn’t truly appreciate the sense of security that citizenship can provide until I became an immigrant myself as an adult

Header

The End of the Exile

When I was ordained as a rabbi, I felt ignored and misunderstood as a gay man in the midst of the AIDS crisis. It took me 25 years to come home.

Header

The Valley of Dry Bones

I learned how to be a Jew at a black church

Header

Stuck in the Middle

I grew up in a family that always voted for Democrats. Then I joined an Orthodox community filled with Republicans. Where do I stand? Somewhere in between.

Header

Don’t Mess With Mister In Between

In an essay from ‘My Father’s Guitar and Other Imaginary Things,’ learning to understand the bargains we make with God—and ourselves

Header

Coming Home

As I interviewed Israelis about their vision for the future, I tried to untangle my own relationship to the place where I once lived

Header

Better Late Than Never

I’m sorry for the things I did all those years ago

Header

The Traveler’s Prayer

Stuck in a parking lot, I finally found forgiveness—and forgiveness found me

Load More...