Author Archives: Gail F. Nalven

About Gail F. Nalven

Jewish Educator, Rabbi, Tefillah Leader, Songleader, Teacher, and Freelance Jew

My Father’s Chest of Drawers: Parashat Shelach

If you told me that my father would outlive my mother, I would have said you were crazy. After all, he was eight years older than her and suffered with Parkinson’s and macular degeneration for years. But somehow, he managed … Continue reading

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Rethinking Memorial Day

Memorial Day. I’ve always heard that it was the unofficial opening of summer. As much as the media talks about the beaches–open? closed? – in my memory, New York City rarely has summertime weather at the end of May. This … Continue reading

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A Long Strange Week It’s Been

This morning I took my the traditional walk around the block that occurs at the end of shiva. According to Rabbi Peretz Rodman, “The walk outdoors serves two purposes: It announces to the world that the mourner is re-entering the … Continue reading

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What a Difference A Week Makes: Loss in the Age of Covid-19

Just two weeks ago, we had a luncheon in a restaurant to celebrate my spouse’s birthday. When people arrived, we joked about not kissing and hugging. When we parted, most of us forgot about the new protocol and joyfully hugged … Continue reading

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Celebrating Freedom

The Gay Pride March in NYC always takes place on the last Sunday in June. This year it fell on June 30th, the last day of the month. As the world came together to recall the changes in the last … Continue reading

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ON BEING AN AMERICAN: WHEN HATE SPEECH HITS HOME

As I write this, it is the midterm elections in the United States. Nothing is more American than voting and I see myself as a patriotic American. I have voted in every election since I turned 18. My first election, … Continue reading

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I’M ANGRY

I’m angry. I am so angry. And I’ve had it. Shabbat is one of my favorite times of the week. Sometimes, I am teaching or leading some sort of service. Sometimes, as today, I can have a leisurely day. Avoiding … Continue reading

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Eliza, Coming Out of Mitzrayim

There is nothing like good art. Art that makes you think. Art that has nine lives. Last week we saw the new production of My Fair Lady at the Lincoln Center Theater, here in NYC. It was wonderful. This story … Continue reading

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The Year of Repairing Gail: My Adventures in Healthcare

When I was young, my parents were not big on attending doctors. We went for our annual exams for school, but they didn’t run for every ache and fever. Take an aspirin and go to school was their philosophy. While … Continue reading

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My Grandmother’s Bilkalach

One of my warmest childhood memories is of the time that I spent at my grandmother’s house in The Bronx. On Sundays, after Hebrew school, we gathered with aunts, uncles, and cousins for all sorts of special foods, lively conversation, … Continue reading

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