Venting… B’Ivrit

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Sukkot at Harvard Div

Chag sameach tribe! I’ve stopped and started a million + 1 posts to share with you the wonderful world of divinity school yet…here we are.  I’ve decided instead of trying to recount everything up until this point I’m just going to throw you into my mad world –head first.

I need to vent.

Continue reading “Venting… B’Ivrit”


Trump & the Evangelicals

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I’ve been trying to get into the head space of what draws the uber religious voter to Republican nominee Donald Trump. This week we will glimpse into the world of Evangelical Christendom via the words of Shiksaism’s FIRST GUEST WRITER the  fabulous social worker and all-around gal about town: Casey Burke.

   I have been asked to pen a post for Shiksaism, as I am one of the only “evangelicals” The Ex-Shiksa still knows. I use the quotes, because I no longer consider myself an evangelical. But I know that world, and what motivates people there, and can, though I cannot relate, understand why people for this section of society would stoically vote Republican despite the nominee.
From childhood, we are told to be in the world, but not of the world. That blessed are the persecuted, so much so that we might create our own persecution. One of the first things you realize when you leave the church’s bubble is that the world is not a dangerous place. People who are different are not bad, and one can be good without being a Christian. One doesn’t need to believe in the divinity of Jesus to know that he was a good guy, a prophetic voice, and someone to be heard.

I get very sad when I think about the fact that many evangelical Christians in the U.S. appear to ready to support Donald Trump to run their supposedly Christian nation. One simple passage in their Bibles will tell them that this man is not a Christian. That he uses the moniker only out of convenience, to get votes, to sow fear. To win over James Dobson. I can lay down some Beatitudes. A little Greatest Command. A little justice, a little mercy, a little humility. Jesus even speaks directly to how you should treat refugees, and prisoners, and the poor.

I try my best to be objective in all things. My training as a social worker has taught me how  to listen without judgement and it is my nature to find the good in everyone. I want to understand people and their motivations and what has led them to their present day. And can most times accept what they tell me and move forward. But I cannot abide by the current stances of the Republican Party. Driven by fear and paranoia, you find a reason to ban refugees, most whom are women and children traumatized by decades of war, from your borders because one them might be hiding hatred for the United States. But you have sown the seeds of that hatred with your actions driven by fear and paranoia. You shout down people who are only shouting to begin with because your bigotry has kept you from hearing them when they have tried to speak. You turn a blind eye to the incarceration and killing of young black men with your war on drugs and your war on crime, but cannot see that this is a war of your own making. Shouting about how people must suffer the consequences of their actions, when really they are suffering the consequences of your actions.

 I am also a very hopeful person. I have “hope” and “love” literally tattooed on the inside of my arms. I know people can change and believe that the world can change. If we would all just shut up for a moment–just one–and listen to each other. Stop calling each other names and acting all a fool. Take a class. Read a book. Watch a documentary. Turn off your phones and your computers and talk to someone. Take a chance that something or someone out there might quiet your mind and give you peace.

by  Casey Burke.









Today’s News…

IMG_6754A lot is going on in the world J wise. Check out the links below and please note that these articles do not necessarily reflect my opinions.

  1. Orthodox parents embrace their openly gay son
  2. Former Rabbi indicted for taking bribes
  3. Israeli coming of age movie
  4. Katy Perry wears a Yalmulke dress
  5. Why some people are against a 2 state solution
  6. Cars vandalized in Paris
  7. Urban Outfitters is at it again…

Days Like This…

Why can’t every day be like this one? 61 degrees, the sun is out, I woke up relatively early and I am presently sitting in an outdoor cafe situated on Tel Aviv’s Lincoln Center lookalike plaza (the spliff I indulged in on my balcony earlier also is assisting in the awe of this moment).

Musings & observations over the past 24 hours. Continue reading “Days Like This…”

Quantum Yom

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The opening credits of the television show Quantum Leap say the following;

“Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Doctor Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished… He woke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own, and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on this journey is Al, an observer from his own time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. And so Doctor Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home…” Continue reading “Quantum Yom”



I returned Sunday afternoon from a final weekend retreat with my AVODAH fellowship. The retreat was incredible and I couldn’t have asked for more (sans maybe an extra day). The home cooked meals were amazing, conversation deep, country surroundings gorgeous and the individuals that comprise my fellowship are honestly just amazing human beings that do so much to make the world a better place.

It took me a few moments to get into the retreat groove. I’ve had a lot of things on my mind lately; friendships, career, love, money, Judaism, Israel and general life contemplation (very light subject matter). The weight of these thoughts have been dragging me down in unexpected ways and took me at least 12 hours from the time I arrived at the gorgeous Bailey Farms for my mind to settle down long enough for me to fully enjoy my surroundings. It took a Shabbat intervention.  I shut off my phone. This is something that I mean to do every Shabbat…but always proves difficult due to the 4 billion excuses I have on standby. I’ll admit that the first few hours were a bit 1st world hellish. I thought about my beloved white & gold phone upstairs tucked inside my duffle bag. How I couldn’t take any photos, text, Snapchat, swipe through Tinder, Facebook or check the time. I painfully eased into it…and slowly the thought flutters settled. I could see the stars, be present in conversations, learned the difference between a semi-colon and a colon, laugh, sing and gained some much needed perspective. Iphone what?

It made me realize what a privilege observing Shabbat is and how I should take full advantage of it. It rejuvenates me in both spiritual and temporal ways unlike anything else can. It’s not about being “Shomeret Shabbat” for me and not carrying items out of the eruv. It’s about being present in life and mindful of all that G-d has given me. It’s about not being a slave to anything or anyone and once a week from sundown to sundown we get to remind ourselves of this as Jews.



Well in the spirit of “I have still have so much to learn” I will confess a super moronic/awkward moment.

Last night I attended a Yom Hazikaron event hosted by JSpace and Dor Chadash at the club Marquee. One of the speakers was up on the podium and above him was this huge electronic display that I assumed (keyword; ASS-u-ME-d) stated his name: El Male Rachamim.  I said to my friend standing next to me “OMG that is my new favorite name El Male”. She looked at me quite puzzled and replied “Chriss…El Male Rachamim is the name of the funeral prayer”.


Below I have cut/pasted the words to El Male Rachamim from wikipedia.

Version for the Remembrance of IDF Soldiers

אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים שׁוכֵן בַּמְּרומִים, הַמְצֵא מְנוּחָה נְכונָה עַל כַּנְפֵי הַשְּׁכִינָה, בְּמַעֲלות קְדושִׁים, טְהורִים וְגִבּורִים, כְּזהַר הָרָקִיעַ מַזְהִירִים. לְנִשְׁמות חַיָּלֵי צְבָא הֲגָנָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל וְלוֹחָמֵי הָמַחְתָרוֹת שֶׁנָּפְלוּ בְּמִלְחֲמות יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְכל הַלּוחֲמִים בְּמַעַרְכות הָעָם שֶׁחֵרְפוּ נַפְשָׁם לָמוּת עַל קְדֻשַּׁת הַשֵּׁם, וּבְעֶזְרַת אֱלהֵי מַעַרְכות יִשְׂרָאֵל הֵבִיאוּ לִתְקוּמַת הָאֻמָּה וְהַמְּדִינָה וְלִגְאֻלַּת הָאָרֶץ וְעִיר הָאֱלהִים וכל אלה שנרצחו בארץ ומחוצה לה בידי המרצחים מארגוני הטרור.

לָכֵן בַּעַל הָרַחֲמִים יַסְתִּירֵם בְּסֵתֶר כְּנָפָיו לְעולָמִים, וְיִצְרור בִּצְרור הַחַיִּים אֶת נִשְׁמָתָם. ה’ הוּא נַחֲלָתָם, בְּגַן עֵדֶן (תְּהֵא) מְנוּחָתָם, וְיָנוּחוּ בְּשָׁלום עַל מִשְׁכָּבָם, וְיַעַמְדוּ לְגורָלָם לְקֵץ הָיָּמִין, וְנאמַר אָמֵן.

God, full of mercy, who dwells in the heights, provide a sure rest upon the Divine Presence’s wings, within the range of the holy, pure and glorious, whose shining resemble the sky’s, to the souls of the soldiers of Israel’s Defence Forces and the Underground fighters that fell during the wars of Israel, and to all the people’s campaign fighters who disdained their own souls to die for the Hallowness of the Name, and that with the help of the God of the campaigns of Israel brought to the rising of the nation and the state, and the salvation of the land and the city of God; and all those who were murdered in Israel or outside of it, by the hands of the terror organizations’ assassins. Therefore, the Master of Mercy will protect them forever, from behind the hiding of his wings, and will tie their souls with the rope of life. The Everlasting is their heritage, the Garden of Eden shall be their resting room, and they shall rest peacefully upon their lying place, they will stand for their fate in the end of days, and let us say: Amen