Unexpected relationships can lead to deep and lasting learning and growth.
After a son discovers his father's box of Chassidic folktales, he reflects on his upbringing, the enduring importance of tradition being passed down for generations, and the legacy he must carry forward (in translation).
Many people may only attend services on special holidays or days of sacred obligation. Jane Gross, a single New Yorker now in her 60s, relays her own story of trying to reconnect with community for the Days of Awe and finding new comfort in her solitude on Yom Kippur.
For the Jewish High Holy Days, two poems by Esther Cohen paired with photography from Matthew Septimus. They offer words that sound like music, and postcards that become visual prayers and emblems of hope.
What unites us all is that we all have mothers. A poet traces the path of her life through her Rumanian grandmother and the women who followed.
"Ritual does for behavior what poetry does for words." When the hope of youthful enthusiasm turns grim and gray and the spiritual challenge of uncertainty beckons, a rabbi finds hope in ritual as poetry in action, recognizing the spirituality in the routine, recapturing the sacred in the mundane, and rediscovering beauty in the ordinary.
What do we mean when we use the word freedom? Matthew Septimus and Esther Cohen celebrate the many Haggadah possibilities with a poem and a picture.
Holidays like Passover create occasions for encounter, however strange they may be. And those encounters may lead to friendships that create new possibilities.
Experiencing the ineffable is a winding path, a journey with as many pivots and tacks as straight lines. And sometimes you find your course in a dentist's chair, contemplating why the this matters and realizing you just need to show up.
On night six of Hanukkah, poet Esther Cohen and photographer Matthew Septimus light a candle to the woman who lives fully and dances with the valleys.
Our photo-poem for this Hanukkah evening, a reflection on the sacred ordinariness of holy people and holy places — even at a supermarket in upstate New York.
"People prefer winners and losers. Maccabees rising against Greeks." The third photo-poem in our series from Matthew Septimus and Esther Cohen on the stories of success we tell each other.
A prayer for the poet who doesn't pray. The second in an eight-part series from a photographer and a poet exploring the sacred in the mundane.
The first of eight vignettes by photographer Matthew Septimus and poet Esther Cohen on holy people and holy places that transcend the ordinary.
During the High Holy Days, a daughter remembers her father and the blessing he was as he aged — with memory and a poem.
A compilation of tweets from our conversation on the legacy of Gershom Scholem. It overflows with gems of wisdom you'll be glad you read!
How does one leave home in peace? Shari Motro reflects on how we all can find our way back, using the abundant lessons of the relationship between Pharaoh and Moses in the Exodus story. On the other side of it all, forgiveness and gratitude resides.
In our increasingly secular lives, we find ways to get at a purer distillation of who we are at the broken center of ourselves. A meditation on paying attention and finding prayer in quiet places and through unlikely sources.
The daughter of an evangelical pastor finds comfort in the questions of an Orthodox rabbi — and his ability to change his mind on women's issues because of his relationship with his daughter.
Is this Hasidic man posing on a bed for an American Apparel advertisement a sexualized image? Sarah Imoff argues why the media fails to see the context and places the model — and the tradition — on a pedestal.
In this photo essay, Joy Ladin reflects on how gender is a covenant she has broken "with others and a covenant with myself."
A Jewish Arbor Day, this Jewish holiday is experiencing new life as Jews become more ecologically concerned.
The Chief Rabbi of the UK says that the plasticity of our brains should lead us into a whole new study about "deep practice" and developing attributes such as gratitude in our daily rituals.
A cache of old documents recently discovered in Afghanistan reveals a thriving intellectual culture among Persian-speaking Jews — and a treasure trove for historians and Persian linguists alike.