This has been an exciting week. While we were away, I celebrated my second anniversary of being the rabbi of Congregation Kneseth Israel. It has been my honor to serve the spiritual needs of this congregation that is 122 years old. Or maybe that is 122 years young, fiercely independent and modern, priding itself on lifelong learning, embracing diversity, building community and meaningful observance.
While we were away I was notified that Jewish Outreach/Big Tent Judaism liked my blog post about Big Tent Judaism and the book Playlist Judaism that Rabbi Kerry Olitzky wrote. They published it on their own site. You can read (or reread) it here. I am looking forward to reading Olitzky’s new book about new dues models coming out later this year from Jewish Lights Press.
While we were away, I had a book published. Tomorrow night, Congregation Kneseth Israel is hosting a party to welcome the book. If you are in town stop by at 7:00 PM. If you are not and want to order a copy, and can’t wait until my Massachusetts appearance, order from my publisher: Hallows House Press. I will be in Massachusetts speaking at a Habitat for Humanity event on September 11th, so if you want an autographed copy, consider waiting. Or order one now and then come get another one signed.
So what is it like to produce a book?
I am filled with gratitude. For the people who contributed their own wrestling. For my teachers and my students who enhanced my understanding of this text. For the people who encouraged me to take this little blog and turn it into a book. For Michael Murschel who saw the project and believed in it. For my congregation(s) who allow me time to write and dream. For Simon and Sarah who realize that this is a big deal and who hiked many of the mountains with me.
Writing a book is a little like giving birth–and this one had a long gestation period, the seed of which was planted with my Bat Mitzvah Torah portion which included the Thirteen Attributes of the Divine. A little like herding cats–there are 20 different voices that are heard in this book. People needed to get me their materials not once but twice. A little like a puzzle. Which voice goes where? How do the photos of mountain climbing fit into the book? What are the questions of the day? Does the book hang together and tell the story of Moses climbing Mount Sinai, tired, exhausted, frustrated, angry for a second time and does that help us with our own climb. Because ultimately that is what this book is, a way to propel us higher up the mountain, a way for us to encounter the Divine, just like Moses did, hidden in the cleft of that rock.
Come climb with me. Higher and higher.