Alan Morinis. Re-examining the Hanukkah exhortation, “A great miracle happened here,” not as the miracle of the oil lasting 8 days, but as a spiritual miracle—that the Maccabees lit the wick despite knowing they did not possess enough oil. While recalibrating Hanukkah through a spiritual lense, Morinis explains its potential to open our hearts. Winter 2013.
Vered Harris. Personal reflection on how the author’s “soul is woven from the threads of the stories of all those who came before me.” Winter 2013.
Geoffrey Mitelman. There is mounting evidence that “religion” and “science” are not adversaries but potential allies which, working together, can improve our lives and our world. Cover Story, Winter 2013.
Gabe Snyder. A teen shares poignant lessons about faith at Auschwitz which he internalized on the URJ’s L’Dor v’Dor program. Winter 2013.
Alan Morinis. Reflection on how, at moments of experiencing yirah—which the author defines as feeling awe, fear, and reverence all at once--our hearts are open to discovering the essential meaning of our lives. Summer 2013.
Cary Kozberg. “Persons with dementia are ‘messengers from God,’ helping us to reflect on what it means to be human.” Adaptation from the URJ Press book Broken Fragments: Jewish Experiences of Alzheimer’s Disease through Diagnosis, Adaptation, and Moving On. Spring 2013.
Daniel Reisel. The biblical story of Moses breaking the tablets “teaches us that even God agrees that to seek truth means to question authority. Quite literally, it means to break the rules.” Spring 2013.
Leah Hochman. Analyzing “The God Survey” responses of 4300+ Jews worldwide who took the magazine’s online theology survey adapted from Rabbi Mark Dov Shapiro’s original survey of his congregation. Spring 2013.
Theodore Bikel, Susan Caro, Rachel Cowan, Stacia Deutsch, Emily Goldberg, Lawrence A. Hoffman, Liz Lerman, Richard N. Levy, Cynthia Roosth Wolf. Nine Jewish thinkers reflect on the teachings that inspire them to take an accounting of their souls, how they take stock of their actions, and the life experiences that have prompted them to seek change. Fall 2012.
Rick Jacobs. In his inaugural column, the new URJ President discusses how Reform Judaism provides a compelling way for Jews to get to God. Summer 2012.
Mark Dov Shapiro. The rabbi of Sinai Temple in Springfield, Massachusetts reflects: “Does God exist? What does God do or not do? Last Yom Kippur I sent a survey to my congregants to find out what they believe. The results surprised me.” Includes his congregants’ anonymous reflections about “I have felt close to God…”, “I have felt distant from God,” and “If God was accepting questions, I would ask….” as well as “6 Jewish Perspectives on God,” “How To Continue the Conversation at Home and Temple,” and a link to a North-American wide survey exploring the God beliefs of Reform Jews. Summer 2012.
Alan Morinis. What can each of us do to foster nefesh—soul love? Spring 2012.
Rex Perlmeter. Nurturing love in the face of tragedy. Spring 2012.
No byline. How a labyrinth that began as an Eagle Scout project has become an integral part of the spiritual life of Congregation Kol Ami in Flower Mound, Texas. Spring 2012.
interview with Alan Morinis. The breaking of the wedding glass sends the message: To fully experience joy, one must also be able to feel deep sorrow. Part of Focus “Happiness.” Winter 2011.
Abraham J. Twerski. How to alleviate the cause of enduring happiness—neglect of the human spirit. Part of Focus “Happiness.” Winter 2011.
Janet Alyn. Lynn Stahl’s inclusive prayer at a community-wide function embraced every member of her audience; how to follow her example. Winter 2011.
Evan “Happy” Braude. “Engagement gives meaning to my life, and from meaning I derive happiness.” Part of Focus “Happiness.” Winter 2011.
Mike Holzer. Reflecting on the melakh elohim moments, or messenger of God moments, in the author’s life. If it hadn’t been for his childhood wish to play the shofar, his whole life would have turned out differently. Fall 2011.
Charles R. Krivcher. Personal reflection of a High Holy Day encounter with a mirror that led to an epiphany regarding the author’s relationship with God and personal responsibility in prayer. Fall 2011.
Eric H. Yoffie. The URJ president discusses ways to find God while acknowledging that we mortals are often engaged in a never-ending quest. Summer 2011.
Naomi Levy. Rabbi Isaac Luria said that every human soul is given a Divine mission to repair some aspect of this broken world. Meet Alan Rabinowitz, a renowned conservationist and wildlife explorer, whose severe childhood stutter kept him from speaking to people until age 19. Spring 2011.
William Berkson. Probing Einstein's religious upbringing and changes in religious perspectives over the years to understand what Einstein really believed and what he can teach us about faith. Winter 2010.
A conversation with Rabbi Mike Comins, Rabbi Kevin Kleinman, Rabbi Jamie Korngold, and Rabbi Owen Gottlieb. Our biblical ancestors first experienced God in the wilderness. What did they know that we need to rediscover? Fall 2010.
Russ Levine. Tashlich isn't so much a contrived solution to bring absolution of sin as it is a challenge from God. Fall 2010.
Jerome Groopman. "I deeply wanted to live, so I had to fight. Then I could tell myself that I had done everything possible. There would be no regrets." Summer 2009.
Faithann Brown. Personal story of an African American woman who found Judaism and came to understand God through study, reflection, worship, and, perhaps above all, questioning. Spring 2009.
Rabbi Eric Eisenkramer. I have discovered a kindred spirit in the Reverend John Maclean, who dedicated much of his adult life to searching for trout and for God, both of which can be equally elusive. Winter 2008.
A conversation with Rabbi Jack H Bloom on the false notion of God as a perfect Being and the ways God can learn from us mortals. Winter 2008.
Debra Cohn. Personal story on how the practice of mussar led the author to newfound acceptance of others and self. Part of Focus: Mussar-A Spiritual Practice to Elevate Character. Fall 2008.
Fran Zimmerman. Personal story on how the practice of mussar led the author to newfound compassion. Fall 2008.
Henry Wodnicki. Personal story on how the practice of mussar led the author to newfound equanimity. Part of Focus: Mussar-A Spiritual Practice to Elevate Character. Fall 2008
Gary Shaffer. Personal story on how the practice of mussar led the author to newfound freedom. Part of Focus: Mussar-A Spiritual Practice to Elevate Character. Fall 2008.
Art Grand. There are times when poker is about more than playing cards-moments when we admit that our lives are broken, and that without the help of our fellow Jews and God, we'll never make it. Fall 2008.
Leonard Felson. Part of Focus: Mussar-A Spiritual Practice to Elevate Character. Fall 2008.
Ellen Berk. Personal story on how the practice of mussar led the author to newfound humility. Part of Focus: Mussar-A Spiritual Practice to Elevate Character. Fall 2008.
Alan Morinis. This mussar discussion guide for congregations and families reflects on the Focus: Mussar-A Spiritual Practice to Elevate Character while offering new mussar insights and practical steps. Fall 2008.
Alan Morinis. Three stages of practice-attention, action, and transformation-can guide us toward our highest spiritual potential. Part of Focus: Mussar-A Spiritual Practice to Elevate Character. Fall 2008.
Leonard Felson. Reform Jews in congregations across the continent are now embracing a Jewish spiritual practice formulated in 19th-century Lithuania. Part of Focus: Mussar-A Spiritual Practice to Elevate Character. Fall 2008.
The range of Reform Jewish thinking on encountering God and wrestling with faith. Summer 2008.
Krista Tippett. Some say religion is the cause of our worst divisions, and a threat to civilization. The truth is more broadly and deeply rooted in the human psyche and spirit. Summer 2008.
Alan D. Bennett. This study guide for congregations and families, based on "Focus: Drawing Near to God," includes an overview, questions for discussion, and a bibliography. Summer 2006.
Rabbi Richard Levy. Ways to train ourselves to find God's presence in our lives every day, from sunrise to sunset. Part of Focus: Drawing Near to God. Summer 2006
Barbara K. Shuman. The paradox of the God wrestler: God can be as close as breathing, yet mysterious and unexplainable. Part of Focus: Drawing Near to God. Summer 2006
Rabbi Edythe Held Mencher. How to strengthen our children's spiritual lives and answer their God questions in age-appropriate ways. Part of Focus: Drawing Near to God. Summer 2006.
Rabbi Simeon J. Maslin. The author's personal reflection on "facing my father and finding my God." Part of Focus: Drawing Near to God. Summer 2006.
Rabbi Ted Falcon. Meditation on the Sh'ma, the central affirmation of our faith, can awaken us to the Oneness of the universe and the interconnectedness of all life. Summer 2003
Leonard Felder. Reciting a daily prayer when you rise in the morning and lie down at night can help you overcome adversity. Fall 2001
Rachel Naomi Remen. The things we can experience yet cannot prove may be the very things that ultimately sustain our lives. One such experience is a belief in God's existence and power, and with it, the development of an inner God within each of us. Fall 2001.
Rachel Naomi Remen. According to my grandfather...each of us has the capacity to uncover the hidden holiness in all events and all people... Winter 2000.
Rabbi Stuart A. Pollack. Judaism acknowledges three types of intelligence: intellectual, emotional, and spiritual-yet many Jews place too little emphasis on the third. Pollack offers three suggestions to help us nurture our spiritual intelligence. Spring 2000
Rabbi Richard Levy. Got did not give us the puzzle box with the picture on the cover. Figuring out how to connect all the pieces is part of the purpose of our existence. Spring 2000
Rabbi Jan Katzew. It is not enough to elevate our world through social action. Equally important is the act of internal, spiritual mending. Winter 1999.
Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin. How we can take the evil within (yetzer hara) and make of it a ladder that can spiritually uplift us. Summer 1999.
Rabbi Harold Schulweis. In past decades, religion and medicine represented opposing camps: faith vs. facts, Pentateuch vs. penicillin. But today's scientists and doctors carry a new banner: "Faith Heals." Spring 1999.
Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut. Tackles perhaps the toughest theological question of all: How can Jews believe in God after Auschwitz? Summer 1998
Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut. We take many things "on faith." Why not give belief in God the benefit of our doubt? Fall 1997.
Rabbi Richard Levy. Discusses how we can integrate Judaism into all areas of our lives by re-forming some of the mitzvot (ways into the holy life) given to us at Sinai. Fall 1997.
Adam Fisher. "We should not let the siddur act as a barrier between us and effective prayer; it should help us become closer to God." The author discusses successful approaches to prayer. Fall 1996.
Barbara Levine. The writer asked God to heal her speech impediment. Instead, God freed her of the need to have a perfectly functioning body in order to find fulfillment and joy. Part of Focus: Medicine & Faith. Summer 1996.
Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn. In his last days, the author reflects on his mortality, alternative treatment choices, and the ways in which coping with dying proved to be the ultimate test of his theology. Part of Focus On: Medicine & Faith. Summer 1996
Interview with Dr. Bernie S. Siegel. The author of the best-selling Love, Medicine and Miracles talks about his personal awakening, transition from doctor to healer, and the role of spirituality in his healing. Part of Focus On: Medicine & Faith. Summer 1996.
Rabbi Alexander M. Schindler. A poetic adaptation of excerpts from Rabbi Schindler's farewell address at the UAHC biennial in Atlanta, December 1995, urging a return to synagogue: "A Reform Judaism of substance is a life path/that links the past to the future/through the wilderness of our lives." Spring 1996.
Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin. The author argues that authentic Reform spirituality involves God, holiness, social action, and the land of Israel, and suggests four ways to incorporate Jewish spiritual values into our daily lives. Fall 1995.
Menachem Z. Rosensaft. Asking, "How can we believe in a God who is both omniscient and omnipotent?" the author reflects on who God is and where we can find examples of God's power, even in the darkest places. Spring 1995
Introduction by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman. Authors: Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn, Rabbi Daniel B. Syme, Barbara K. Shuman, Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut, Emil L. Fackenheim, Rabbi Ben Kamin, Rabbi Helene Ferris, Rabbi Floyd Herman, Sherry H. Blumberg, Daniel S. Schechter. These rabbis and Jewish lay leaders offer a variety of perspectives on what God expects from us as Jews. Fall 1993.
Rabbi Margaret Moers Wenig. The author compares God to an aging woman whose children depart to begin their own lives, neglecting their mother, unappreciative of the fact that she provided them with life; God's love is always available to her children, despite these wrongs. Part of Focus On: Women & Change. Fall 1992.
Rabbi Bernard M. Zlotowitz. In the biblical and rabbinic periods, God was viewed as being directly involved in human matters; modern thinkers believe God's power is limited by the laws of nature which he created. The author discusses ways we can make prayer work within our modern worldview. Summer 1992.
Rabbi Lawrence Kushner. Discusses ways to use Jewish religious traditions to feel oneness with God. Spring 1992
Susan Sobel-Feldman. Reflects on her lifelong search for God-beginning as a child exposed to the contradictory Catholic and Jewish perspectives of God and the afterlife, and into her adulthood, where she comes to see that although God will not prevent suffering, His presence will always help people cope with hardships. Part of Focus On: God. Winter 1991
Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut. Discusses the Reform Movement's changing relationship with God throughout history. Part of Focus On: God. Winter 1991.
Sherry H. Blumberg. Offers advice on how parents can talk to their children about God. Part of Focus On: God. Winter 1991.
Rabbi Rebecca Alpert. Explores the way gender is assigned to God - and the problems that arise when God is portrayed as solely male, including the notion that humans are subordinates to God, rather than God's partners in creation. Part of Focus On: God. Winter 1991
Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn. The author shares his belief that God exists within the universe. Part of Focus On: God. Winter 1991