Friday, July 4, 2014

Day In The Life: Cabin, Cabin, Cabin TENT!

I'm back at camp, serving on faculty. People always ask me just what it is that I do all day at camp, so  I'm going to try to give you a snapshot of a day in the life of a faculty member at camp. This was yesterday....

7:45am Tefillah (services) -- this morning led by one of the tzrifim (cabins). We also read a little Torah. All in 14.5 minutes! (Followed by breakfast....scrambled eggs!)

8:40am Shira (song session) and my 3rd cup of coffee...

9:00am Limud (learning) -- Our study theme for this group and this session is the "North American Jewish Experience." Our campers are learning about early Jewish immigration to the United States, and they had an Ellis Island simulation a few days ago. Today they were talking about what it was like to make decisions in the "new world" -- decisions about Jewish identity and how they could be both modern Americans and committed Jews.

10:30am  A little work in my "office" (i.e. my room in the Lodge) while the campers were having swim time

11:45am Ivrit (Hebrew) - a lesson about the Hebrew words of camp. Taught thru a modified game of Duck Duck Goose....tzrif tzrif tzrif....OHEL! (cabin, cabin, cabin....TENT!)

12:30pm Faculty Lunch and discussion. Pizza!

1:45pm Menucha (Rest time)

3:00pm walk to drop the chaverim campers (the little ones, our faculty kids) down at the lake for a boat ride with the babysitters

Then work on tomorrow's and later-on-in-the-session programming on my laptop with other segel (faculty) members

5:00pm - Meeting with a tzrif (cabin) to help them prepare to lead tefillot (services) later in the session. 

6:15pm dinner (stir fry!) followed by a quick change into longs-and-longs (long pants and long sleeves) in readiness for tonight's special event

7:00pm All Camp Tefillah followed by an awesome concert with Rabbi Noam Katz:

Then some late night meetings and a little socializing with the other faculty....

11:55pm off to bed so we can start all over again!

Camp is a lot of work and a lot of fun...doing holy work here in this beautiful setting.

Read more about our work at camp over here on the OSRUI blog, with this really nice post from my friend and colleague, Rabbi David Locketz.

Friday, April 4, 2014

#blogExodus: Free

Free of hairbrushes
Free of pony tails
Free of braids
Free of a veil behind which I can hide....

Want to join in? We're sharing #BlogExodus for the next 2 weeks. All you have to do is use the hashtag and there are suggested prompts on the graphic above (feel free to grab it). Maybe you just want to post on your Facebook or Twitter about these topics...or maybe you want to try #Exodusgram, posting photos related to these themes? I'll be posting my #blogExodus posts here, at this blog, my #Exodusgram pictures on my tumblr site,, and who knows what else!? It's going to be a busy fortnight!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

#blogexodus 2: Tell

We tell our stories. 
That's what we do. 
It's who we are. 
It's why we exist. 
It's as near as breathing. 
People ask how we can share our lives. 
I could we not. 
We tell our stories. 
It was Elie Wiesel who said:
God created humans because God loves stories. 

Want to join in? We're sharing #BlogExodus for the next 2 weeks. All you have to do is use the hashtag and there are suggested prompts on the graphic above (feel free to grab it). Maybe you just want to post on your Facebook or Twitter about these topics...or maybe you want to try #Exodusgram, posting photos related to these themes? I'll be posting my #blogExodus posts here, at this blog, my #Exodusgram pictures on my tumblr site,, and who knows what else!? It's going to be a busy fortnight!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Believe #blogExodus

Feel free to grab this graphic
I believe that when friends share your pain, it really and truly is lessened, maybe only for a moment.
I believe that when you cry with others, the tears flow together to soothe the hurt.
I believe that I can't stand alone.
I believe that a hand held tightly can be a lifeline.
I believe that I will always find others to stand with me, even in the depths of my aloneness and pain.
I believe that the sun will rise and set, that time will move forward, that love will sustain us.

I believe that the only way the Exodus could ever have happened at all was because no one crawled into the hole of their pain and grief and despair at their life of slavery....but instead they held hands, they prayed, they sang and they lifted each other up out of the depths of that gaping hole....and they did something. Together.

Want to join in? We're sharing #BlogExodus for the next 2 weeks. All you have to do is use the hashtag and there are suggested prompts on the graphic above (feel free to grab it). Maybe you just want to post on your Facebook or Twitter about these topics...or maybe you want to try #Exodusgram, posting photos related to these themes? I'll be posting my #blogExodus posts here, at this blog, my #Exodusgram pictures on my tumblr site,, and who knows what else!? It's going to be a busy fortnight!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Twitter for Rabbis: A Crash Course

Today starts the 125th Annual CCAR Convention.
Hopefully, that means that #ccar14 and #whatrabbisdo are about to become Trending Topics on Twitter.

If that above sentence made perfect sense to you, and you responded with a resounded cheer of "yes!" then you probably don't need to read the rest of this blog post.

If that above sentence made your eyes glaze over with the # symbols and the word on.

How to become a quick-study at Twitter:

1. Go to and set up an account. Choose a user name that isn't too long, isn't too complicated, and in some way helps to explain who you are. My username is imabima. (Get it?)

On Twitter, users are referred to by the user name, prefaced by the @ symbol. So my username is @imabima. The idea of "tagging" someone in a post actually originated in Twitter but expanded to Facebook.

2. Find at least 10-20 people to "follow." This isn't a huge commitment. It's not like being "friends" on Facebook. It implies no special relationship. You follow other people in order to have something to read and respond to as you use Twitter. Twitter is ideal when there are people having actual conversations back and forth rather than just putting ideas out into the world.

I suggest you start with these rabbis who tend to tweet at the CCAR Conventions (this list is by no means comprehensive):


(There are so many others who tweet....this is just a sample, based on the front page of those tweeting at the CCAR right as I type this post. Also, there are lots of other non-Reform rabbis and other interesting things and people to follow on Twitter. That's a different post for a different day.)

A single Twitter post is known as a tweet. The verb used to explain what you're doing when you post on Twitter is tweeting.

3. There are two main kinds of posts in Twitter: your own original tweets and other people's posts that you re-post, known as re-tweeting. "Re-Tweets" are usually prefaced by the letters RT. Most "good" Twitter users will do a nice balance or combination of their own tweets accompanied by RTs of other people's stuff.

4. Hashtags: This gets people a little wiggy. It's really less complicated than it sounds. Hashtags are a way to follow along a certain stream of conversation in Twitter, which can be a vast ocean of stuff. So in order to best follow what's happening at the CCAR, users will post their tweets with the extra phrase #ccar14. This allows people to follow just this particular stream of information surrounding the CCAR Convention and differentiates our conversation from last year's convention. You can get by on Twitter with ONLY this hashtag for the convention. You don't need any other ones. As you get a little more advanced in your can learn more about these things.

5. In real life: Add your twitter username (known as your "handle") to your name tag at the convention. Talk to other people about how they're using Twitter. Don't be afraid to follow people and to see that others are following you.

Twitter is worth exploring. There's a lot to be learned and gleaned from the vastness of its information stream. It does seem a bit overwhelming and daunting when you merely look at how many tweets there are per day, per hour, all over the world. For specific uses and purposes, it can be a really useful and educational tool.

I look forward to reading all the #ccar14 tweets!

Monday, March 24, 2014

#BlogExodus and #Exodusgram 5774

Yes, it's that time of year again.

Passover is just around the corner and so is Rosh Chodesh Nisan, which is just about one week away.
I've thought a lot about whether I wanted to offer up the #BlogExodus and #Exodusgram prompts again this year. And I almost didn't. But then I realized that whenever I put up the prompts, I share them with the reminder that it is entirely what you want it to be. So I decided to put forth the prompts and give it a try. Maybe I will write on all of them, and maybe I won't. But it's a start, right?

So here it is, this year's #BlogExodus and #Exodusgram prompts:

Feel free to grab this image and share it, use it, post it....add it to your blogs, whatever!
So what is this really about? #BlogExodus is really what you want to make of it. I've provided topics for the first 14 days of the month of Nisan. What you do with it is up to you -- write a blog post, tweet, Facebook, tumblr, or something that I haven't even thought of yet! Use the hashtag to share your post (I put it into the title). It's a great way to kickstart a blog or rejuvenate your languishing blog or just get yourself ready for the holiday of Passover! I will be posting my #blogExodus posts here on this blog and I will tweet them out at @imabima. There aren't any rules, so maybe you don't like the order of the topics? Maybe you want to write on only a few of them? It doesn't matter. It is what you make of it. 

#Exodusgram is a little more interpretive. While I love Instagram (I'm imabima, of course), I know some people don't. So maybe you want to share Exodus-themed photos via Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, Pinterest or....whatever! My #Exodusgram posts will go up on Instagram and then be shared to my tumblr, Whatever you do, don't forget to tag with #Exodusgram so we can all share.

The themes are really up for your own interpretation. I was thinking broadly and openly about what makes Passover special and interesting to me. I hope it will translate into creative and inspirational posts from all of us!

Are you going to join in? Leave me a comment here or send me a tweet or just...jump in!
At some point in the middle, I will probably do a "roundup" post and I will retweet all the #BlogExodus and #Exodusgram posts through Twitter via @imabima. If I miss your posts, let me know so I can go back and be inspired by what YOU have to say!

*Yes, I know that I put the Shabbat dates there. I don't blog/tweet/Facebook on Shabbat but I will post on Fridays before Shabbat and on Saturdays after Shabbat is over. You can, of course, do it any way you like!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Books Read in 2013

I don't have it much in me to write a long post about the books I've read this year.

I love to read. Even throughout all of the terribly difficult times in the hospital with Sam and all of the stress of the last few weeks of his life and the horrible hole that he left in our lives…reading brings me solace and comfort. I can lose myself in a book. Sometimes, though, the knowledge that I'm going to peek my head back out and find things unchanged…sometimes that makes it hard to get lost…

I don't keep track of when exactly I finish all the books, but I know that I went through some lengthy "dry spells" this year...periods when I didn't read anything beyond my Facebook feed or an Entertainment Weekly magazine…here's my list for 2013. I can't even imagine tomorrow, but I know that the sun will rise and set and I know that I will eventually pick up another book to read. 

And so it goes…

  1. The Panther by Nelson DeMille
  2. Havana Real by Yoani Sanchez
  3. Game Changer by Margaret Petersen Haddix
  4. The Fault in our Stars by John Green
  5. Cuba: A History by Sergio Guerra-Vilaboy
  6. Two Whole Cakes by Lesley Kinzel
  7. Earth Unaware by Orson Scott Card
  8. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
  9. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
  10. One More River by Mary Glickman
  11. Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
  12. I Love Mondays and Other Confessions From Devoted Working Moms by Michelle Cove
  13. Friendkeeping by Julie Klam
  14. Curse of the Thirteenth Fey by Jane Yolen
  15. Second Person Singular by Sayed Kashua
  16. Beautiful Creatures by Garcia and Stohl
  17. Memoir of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks
  18. Relational Judaism by Ron Wolfson
  19. Wisdom for People of All Faiths by Evan Moffic
  20. Saying No & Letting Go by Edwin Goldberg
  21. A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy
  22. The Still Point of the Turning World by Emily Rapp
  23. The Round House by Louise Ehrdrich
  24. Son by Lois Lowry
  25. Enigma by Robert Harris
  26. The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier
  27. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  28. The Selection by Kiera Cass
  29. The Elite by Kiera Cass
  30. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
  31. Liars' Gospel by Naomi Alderman
  32. Fly Away by Kristin Hannah
  33. Earth Afire by Orson Scott Card
  34. One by LeighAnn Kopans
  35. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
  36. Jerusalem Assassin by Abraham Azrieli
  37. The Passage by Justin Cronin
  38. Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss
  39. Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
  40. The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anotn DiSciafnai
  41. The English Girl by Daniel Silva
  42. Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews
  43. Indelible by Dawn Metcalf
  44. Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld
  45. Two by LeighAnn Kopans
  46. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
  47. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  48. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  49. How To Be a Friend to A Friend Who is Sick by Letty Cottin Pogrebin
  50. From Telling to Teaching by Joye Morris
  51. The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida
  52. I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  53. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  54. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  55. Lions of Lucerne by Brad Thor
  56. Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Melton

Previous book lists are over in the sidebar <--- of my blog.
Usually I keep my list on my blog but this year I did a terrible job of updating it and started using GoodReads to keep track of what I've read. So feel free to follow me over there.

I'm hoping to read some of the "best of 2013" in the first month of 2014. What did you read in 2013 that you liked best?