Author Archives: Gail F. Nalven

About Gail F. Nalven

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

Blogging the Torah: Parashat Vayeira, Ishmael, Isaac, and the Rabbi’s Bathroom

A few weeks ago a pipe burst in the ceiling above our tub. The building quickly repaired it and covered it up for a few weeks. When it came time to make sure that the pipe was holding, we decided … Continue reading

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Blogging the Torah: Parashat Noach, From Shelach to Lecha

This weekend I was in my happy place, singing with 75 of my closest friends at an annual program called Shabbat Shira held in the woods of Wisconsin. Held at the URJ’s camp Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute, this is … Continue reading

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IN MITZRAYIM: ON THE BANKS OF DENIAL

On the rare occasion that my spouse and I encounter someone who just doesn’t get it, whatever “it” is, we might say to each other, they’re in Mitzrayim, the biblical word for Egypt. We don’t even need to use the … Continue reading

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WHO REALLY MATTERS?

I have a confession. I was one of those people. When I first heard “Black Lives Matter” I thought, what do you mean? All lives matter. Unlike some of our former elected officials, I kept my mouth shut until I … Continue reading

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You Are My People. Really!

I’m angry. I’ve been angry for weeks now and just when I think I am getting over my anger, something else makes me even more angry. I realized that it has darkened my joy and seeped into surprising places. It … Continue reading

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Dayenu: When Is It Enough

Sitting at a friend’s seder table, full and content and a bit bleary-eyed, I was awakened by this lovely sermon that was to be given the next morning. Welcome, guest blogger Rabbi Rosalie M. Osian. Thanks for sharing your words. … Continue reading

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Blogging the Torah: Parashat Shemot, What Happened?

It seems almost appropriate that this week’s Torah portion is read on the cusp of a new year as it represents a transitional time for the Israelite people. We have just ended the book of Bereshit (Genesis). The Israelites have … Continue reading

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“The Other” Is You

In preparation for the new season of Downton Abbey, PBS ran a behind-the-scenes show the other night. I was struck by their insistence on propriety. Clothing, posture, and manners must adhere to the period. (Although, we have caught a few … Continue reading

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Blogging the Torah: Parashat Miketz, On Terror and Grain

This has been a difficult Chanukah for this world.  As we light our candles in the darkest time of the year, we struggle to find a way to overcome the darkness of this world with the light of goodness.  In … Continue reading

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No Turkey For You

Next week, Americans will celebrate the most Jewish of our American holidays: Thanksgiving. Each day in our Amidah, we say the words  “Moadim Anachu Lach, we are thankful to you God” for the miracles of each day and God’s wondrous … Continue reading

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