Strive for Justice



Social action isn’t simply the intellectually correct response to a world that is frequently unjust.

Nor is it simply the currently-popular moral high-ground, the last remnant of religions demystified to appease followers after the Enlightenment.

And it most certainly ought not be something we do to boost our self-absorbed and frequently-insecure egos, whether by getting our names inscribed on a plaque for donors or by deluding ourselves with the notion that we are somehow “better than” those who face injustice.

Rather, we were (and continually are) commanded to Strive for Justice.

Everyone who has encountered The One has heard that command, for we cannot experience The One without being shaken from the deepest recesses of our souls by the deafening near-silence of The Unity.

The Unity from which we came.

The Unity toward which we move.

The Unity that inspired every religion.

The Unity that keeps whispering of our Oneness and urging us to acknowledge:

Together, we must Strive for Justice!

About the featured photo

I took the picture a few months ago when I visited the Allen County Courthouse in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The courthouse has been restored and has amazing paintings and stained glass throughout the building and courtrooms. It’s a National Historic Landmark, and if you’re ever in that area, I recommend taking a look at it!
The photo, along with Deuteronomy 16:20, was the inspiration for the text, which I wrote.
shavua tov, jen

G-d whispers




When G-d calls, He does not do so by way of universal imperatives. Instead, He whispers our name — and the greatest reply, the reply of Abraham, is simply hineni: ‘Here I am,’ ready to heed Your call, to mend a fragment of Your all-too-broken world.
——–Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

This Shabbat, may we each stop long enough to listen for Gd’s whisper and, then, may we find the courage respond when we are called.
shabbat shalom, jen

the physical life of another



“Spiritual life is superior to physical life. But the physical life of another is an obligation of my spiritual life.”

            —-Rabbi Israel Salanter


Saint Francis

He stands there on the corner again with the sign that says he’s homeless. But today, today is different. Today he’s got a crutch and a cast on his left foot.
I wonder if he remembers when I’ve given him granola bars. I wonder why he remains homeless. But I play with my phone, hoping he won’t stop at my open car window, as I have no granola bars and I don’t hand out money on the street.
“Hey, girl, how are you today?” he asks. As I look up into his smiling face, I can’t help but tell him he’s wearing a beautiful smile for someone with a banged-up foot. His smile broadens at being seen, and he tells me he’s trying to get a couple of dollars to get some food and catch the bus back to the shelter. I make small talk about how he ended up so far from the shelter, and then the light changes so that I can drive away.
I turn the corner, feeling proud of myself for sticking to my rule about not handing out money. But my pride is short-lived because, despite the music from my earbuds, from far away and yet so near, Saint Francis scolds me: “He’s an image of Gd — feed him!!”
So tomorrow, tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow I’ll bring him dinner.


This year I’m directing my tzdakah to organizations that help feed those who do not have the resources to feed themselves.  If you don’t already have a charitable cause that is dear to you, I invite you to join me by donating to a food bank in your area.
     praying a day arrives when every person has an access to nutritious food,  jen

Why Saint Francis? 

The stories I’ve read about Saint Francis and the quotes attributed to him suggest he saw holiness in every creature and person.  And, as a young man, Francis got into trouble for giving his rich father’s money to poor people.  So, when my conscience berated me for not feeding a hungry man, I immediately thought of Saint Francis. 

I understand that Francis’s motivation for helping the poor was that Francis wanted to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, while my motivation comes from the Torah’s commands to pursue justice and to leave the corners of the fields for those without food.  

But I feel no need to quarrel about the theological specifics that motivated Francis’s behavior. Instead, I think of him as a man who tried to do Gd’s will.