Inspired and Reflecting

Wow, this week has flown by! Devorah and I are wrapping up our second week teaching at the Jewish Summer Fellowship, and it has been fantastic. We are teaching women between the ages of 19-30 who are exploring their Jewish identities in new ways. We have served as scholars in residence where we are teaching classes and fielding questions throughout the day. It has been intense, and a whole lot of fun too. So in between preparing classes, teaching, and fielding a ton of questions I've been reflecting back on the past year a bit and also filling my mind with new things.

I've been listening to some past episodes of my "Soul Searchers" podcast. Particularly the episode with Rami Teeter OC '20 where we get into a some pretty thoughtful conversations about how he was raised, and if G-d was a topic of conversation in his home, or schooling. This episode went on a bit longer than all of my others and it was worth every second.

What I'm Watching

Last summer I was fortunate enough to be invited to be a Fellow in a very special community. It is called the ROI Fellows. As a closing ceremony we took part in a really unique experience with an organization called Kooloolam. It is a group singing activity. Wherever I rewatch this video I get a little emotional. The experience of us all taking a song and learning it about 45 minutes and then singing our hearts out brought about this amazing feeling of unity that is quite difficult to articulate. I low key (well not so low key) want to bring this group to Oberlin and get us all together and just SING!!

A story that I read

Psychologist Barry Schwartz and political scientist Kenneth Sharpe in their book Practical Wisdom tell a story about a hospital janitor named Luke. In the hospital where Luke worked, there was a young man who'd gotten into a fight and was now in a coma, and he wasn't coming out. Every day his father sat by his side in silent vigil, and had done so for six months. One day, Luke cam in and cleaned the young man's room. His father wasn't there; he was out getting a smoke. Later that day, Luke ran into the father in the hallway. The father snapped at Luke and accused him of not cleaning his son's room. Luke could have snapped back "I did clean your son's room" but he responded by cleaning the room again, so the father could see him cleaning the room. What do you think you would respond?

One other important thing

Chabad at Oberlin, along with some other campuses is doing a summer fundraiser. We are hosting a raffle, where you can win $10,000 and some other great prizes. Tickets for the raffle are $36. Over $30 from each ticket goes directly to supporting the work Chabad is doing at Oberlin, like shabbos dinners, holiday programming, and all kinds of great classes, etc. So please think about grabbing a ticket (or a few). And if you win the $10,000 its a double win because you got $10k and you are helping to support the great Jewish community at Oberlin. Feel free to tell your friends and family about the raffle too!!! Last day to buy tickets is July 21st.

Good Shabbos,


Posted on July 11, 2019 .

An extra special weekend to be inspired

This week is a special one. This Shabbos marks the anniversary of my spiritual mentor and guide the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Additionally, Devorah and I have been serving as scholars in residence at the Jewish Summer Fellowship for Women in upstate NY. So needless to say this week has been filled with lots of personal content and inspiration. So here is some of the things I've been filling up with, and this week you might notice a theme around the Rebbe and his message.

What I'm watching
over and over again is the CEO of WeWork, Adam Neumann, tell his story of being one of the most successful people on the planet yet feeling so unfulfilled. One day he found something that changed his life forever, deepened his relationships, elevated his business, and made him feel like he had a purpose. Watch it here.

A quote I often revisit when reflecting of the greatness of the Rebbes guidance and leadership
"A true leader does not seek followers, he wants to teach others how to be leaders. He does not want control, he wants the truth. He does not impose his leadership on others, nor does he take away anyone's autonomy. He inspires by love, not coercion. When it comes time to take credit, he makes himself invisible; but he is the first to arrive at the time of need, and he will never shrink away in fear. He is so passionate about your welfare that when you consult him for guidance, it is like coming face to face with yourself for the first time." -Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

What I'm reading
Toward a Meaningful Life gives Jews and non-Jews alike fresh perspectives on every aspect of their lives - from birth to death, youth to old age; marriage, love, intimacy, and family; the persistent issues of career, health, pain, and suffering; and education, faith, science, and government. We learn to bridge the divisions between accelerated technology and decelerated morality, between unprecedented worldwide unity and unparalleled personal disunity.

Wishing you the most inspiring Shabbos, and I look forward to seeing you soon.

p.s. We will be in NYC for a few weeks this summer and if you are going to be there. please let me know. Devorah and I would love to invite you for Shabbos in Brooklyn or meet up for coffee or drinks in the city.

Posted on July 5, 2019 .

Weekend inspiration 6/28

A video that shows what true joy looks like
This little clip of an awesome kids choir from America's Got Talent. They are having so much fun, and the raw happiness at the end is worth the 5 minute clip

The book I am currently reading
Second Mountain by someone named David Brooks. I found this book in an actual book store (gasp!). When I walk into a book store I feel like it is a religious experience of it's own. I walk around and look at books until one seems to call me over. This one called me, but I kept walking away from it, but after an hour of wandering around the Barnes and Noble, I knew that was my book. And is has not disappointed. He's a "recovering conservative" with a new look on living a purposeful life. Check it out. I was hooked before I finished the introduction.
Filling my ears with this podcast
A New Conversation is a podcast started by my friend Peretz and his wife Chanie, they are the Chabad family at Brandies. Last year they starting rethinking their Chabad House and the role they have on campus. So far they have posted 12 episodes, you can pick which one is gonna be your first, so far they all been good and they are short, usually less than 15 minute.

Have a great Shabbos,

Posted on July 1, 2019 .

What inspired me 6/21

A quote that was sent to me and made me think
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” - Anne Lamott

An amazing story I heard (get some tissues ready)

This story of being in the right place at the right time, and how just a little love and caring can go a long way. Check out the short video.

The book I just ordered
Social Vision is about the only rabbi ever awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Despite wide recognition of the Rabbi's impact, this is the first volume to seriously explore his social ideas and activism. he not only engineered a global Jewish renaissance but also became an advocate for public education, criminal justice reform, women's empowerment, and alternative energy.

You might not know that I'm a bit of a podcast junkie.
This episode came out last summer, when I heard it I got hooked to the Unorthodox Podcast. It's pretty thoughtful, slightly irreverent, and talks about all kinds of stuff that impacts all corners of the Jewish world.

Have a great Shabbos,

p.s. Chabad at Oberlin is offering you a chance to win $10,000. We are taking part of a raffle where you can win some great prizes and all ticket purchase help Chabad at Oberlin directly. Grab a ticket or two (or more) also pass this link to your friends, parents, family members etc. Our goal is to sell at least 200 tickets. Get your tickets here

Posted on June 23, 2019 .