Why Technology is Making it So Much Harder to Ask For Forgiveness on Rosh Hashana

As technology advances I sometimes wonder if we are becoming more primitive in our interpersonal interactions. This is not a new idea of course. Many others have raised this issue through research and inspiring videos that warn us to ‘look up’. The message is simple: instead of increasing engagement, technology is increasingly enabling disengagement. Turning Our…

Walls that sway: keeping our boundaries flexible

In biology class at school I learned that living organisms such as plants and bacteria have a flexible wall in order to survive. Whether a single cell or our own skin surface, our walls must adapt to outside pressure. It’s the only way to keep the barrier from breaking, ensuring the safety and viability of…

The three weeks of mourning and simcha

Everything that goes up must come down. That’s science. Judaism says everything that goes down has the equivalent potential to go up. Our biggest national tragedies and our biggest personal weaknesses can be catapulted into our biggest simchas and achievements. And so the three weeks of national mourning is fast approaching, when the energy of…

Train truths: sociology of public transport

I’ve been catching public transport most of my life. For the last five years it’s been a daily train experience. And an experience it is. It’s a microcosm of society stuffed into a small space. Forced proximity. Survival of the fittest at its best. Most people don’t like public transport. I do. As a curious…

Judaism, the limitless religion

To most people the word religion conjures up ideas such as restriction and obligation. As baalei teshuva we’ve heard it all before from our parents: “why would you want to limit yourself”, they ask rhetorically. And herein lies the profound beauty of religion. True religion that is.  Hold on to your seats.  True religion is…

Judaism is One. Jews are Many.

This post is about Judaism: what it is and what it isn’t. I’m going to be very blunt because quite frankly its time to make this really clear. You can call me ‘ultra ultra orthodox’, you can call me ‘unaccepting’, you can even call me ‘discriminating’. It’s all semantics. Literally. One of the things I…

Get out of my way or stop and listen?

Can you hear it? No? Probably because you’re running too fast, too tangled in your own thoughts. It’s all about you. Yes, I do it too. It’s the “get out of my way” syndrome. I’m a fast walker. I walk with a purpose, to get somewhere, to do something. There’s nothing wrongs with that per…

How to become a baal teshuva? Four easy steps (ok, maybe not…)

So many people starting out in becoming practicing Jews ask this question, “How do I become a baal teshuva?” In effect, we are asking “how do I do this?”, “what’s the process for becoming more observant?”, “what are the steps?”. I remember thinking when i was starting out converts seem to have it much easier….

Torah: What’s your source?

Having completed 4.5 years of university, one of the key messages I learnt was “you have to have a good source”. Whenever you are looking for the truth of a matter, you should always know who said it and where they got it from. This helps remove bias and means you don’t just believe what…

Torah Inspiration: choose life, choose good

You know you have a deep friendship when you can sit together motzei Shabbos and listen to shiurim until 5:30am. You also know that you have a bit of an addiction. Baruch HaShem, Torah can be very addictive. Is it the excitement of gaining knowledge? The depth of the wisdom? The connection within yourself to…

The German apology

I’ve never really understood people who don’t buy German products because of the holocaust. It always seemed a wasted effort for their piece of protest and act of remembering. But we must remember. In a few days its Yom HaShoah, the commemoration of the holocaust. Before tonight I had never met a German, let alone…

What to do on my Jewish birthday?

I’ve always heard that birthday cakes and blowing out candles is a non-Jewish thing to do on your birthday. Birthdays in general seem to be celebrated less in religious families, or so it seems. As you know, Judaism is all about giving to the other and inward simcha. Even on one of the most important…

I’m Baal Teshuva, now what? Ultimate connection.

We are essentially part of a process and a greater plan. And yet our very actions, our choices, dictate that process within us. At what point do our actions become us? At what point do we reconnect the spark of emes that we felt when it all began with the hard yards we travelled to…

A comical video on forgiveness and holding onto anger

I’ve always believed in the great power of forgiveness not just because it helps the other person but also because it has an enormous impact on ourselves. People who can’t forgive live in their own jails of anger and resentment. A living inner jail. Even though Yom Kippur is over for another year, the lessons…

Freedom is emuna

Only when you are somehow inhibited in your ability to be, to act, to live do you realize just how internal freedom really is. Despite being completely restricted from dating and moving on with my life because my husband refuses to divorce me through the Jewish gett, I haven’t felt so free for as long…

what I’ve learnt during the three weeks

Everyone has droughts and at other times the world floods you with inspiration. The last few weeks were meant to be some of the saddest in the Jewish calendar. For me they have been all about breakthroughs and inspiration. Fueled by learning from some incredible Rabbis (thanks Rabbi Kelemen and Rabbi Katz), I’ve managed to…