Sunday, December 13, 2015

Moments of Overwhelming Joy

This past Shabbat, I had two moments that made my heart sing with joy.

As we were standing up for the last stanza of Lecha Dodi (we greet the sabbath bride by opening the back door to the sanctuary), Myles (a child in the community) ran to open the Ark doors, not the back door to the prayer space. His choice, even by accident sent the message that is where we should greet Shabbat, the place that holds the words where we are commanded to keep Shabbat ... I was taken aback.

The second moment was when Myles opened the Ark for Aleynu and Leah (a 3 year old) immediately went to take one of the paper Torahs out. No hesitation. No looking at her Mama to make sure it was okay. Savannah, Myles' younger sister (almost 2) also wanted one and started to cry until Myles took another paper Torah out of the ark and handed it to her. 

The look on her face read, "This is Mine!" I hope she fights for the Torah as strongly as she did at that moment.

Leah, simply stood there, holding the Torah like you would a baby. She was gentle, protective. May she always view the words of the Torah as needing to be protected and loved.

Myles, after looking at me for confirmation, took another paper Torah out of the Ark so he could hold God's Words close as well. May he always know who is safe to turn to, when he is in doubt.

I teared up and felt such joy that these children have such a love for Torah and Judaism and such affection and more to the point, such familiarity that they would reach into the Ark and take what is rightfully theirs. 

I could not be more proud. 


What happens when you have a big project and need lots of people to pitch in?
Make it a COMREL (community relations event), offer LOAs (letters of appreciation) and give them tools. Or use their own. 

And the chapel grounds are starting to look amazing !!!!

Chanukkah Around the Island

Chanukkah is one of my favorite holidays. Here on Okinawa, we have candle lighting at a different home each night.

On the second night of Chanukkah, I lit candles and led the prayers at the Navy Chaplain Corps Ball. It was a Shehecheyanu moment.

We were very honored to host the UDPs from Schwab and Hansen as well as the Chief of Navy Chaplains on the third night. 

Each night brought us together, banishing the shadows with each additional candle light. 
Each night reminds us of our struggle to be authentic Jews in the military. Chanukkah reminds of us a similar struggle in our own history. 


I have worn a jacket once since coming to Okinawa. The first was to hike Mt. Fuji and the second was during my trip to Seoul.

After having not seen snow for over 3 years, I was assaulted with this cold flaky white stuff falling from the sky. Thank you, Seoul for reminding me what winter is. 

It is snowing.  

Entrance to Tunnel 3

South Korean Soldier - my new friend

Can you find me? I am hiding in the DMZ.

Saturday, December 12, 2015


The Chief of Naval Chaplains asked us to answer #WhyIServe.
Diversity Makes Us Stronger

Thank you Lance Corporal Seminar Class 4-15 for participating in the photo shoot.

Global Day of Jewish Learning

Once again, the Jewish community participated in the Global Day of Jewish Learning. Thank you, Rabbi Steinsaltz for your vision of bringing the Jewish people together to study beautiful facets of our tradition.

This year, we were the first 

As is our custom on Okinawa, we held the program at Starbucks. 

Not Everybody Likes Us

A military presence can be an area of ​​contention. There are those who protest outside Futenma's front gate every morning from 0700-0730. I am respectful and drive right in. When driving up to Schwab for training, we passed the protesters who stay out there ALL DAY. There are even port-a-johns. This goes on every day.  

I don't know what their flags say. I am thankful I can't read Kanji.

Rain or shine.