Guest Appearance on the Drinking & Drashing Podcast

I am excited to share my appearance on the 17th episode of the Drinking & Drashing podcast.  The episode is available here (as well as many different services):

If you’re interested in checking out some clips from the episode, here are several:

Briefly Discussing the Origin Story of & The Jewish Drinking Show:

Sacred Space(s) in Esther?:

Esther, Purim, and Ecclesiastes:

Libations in Parashat Tetzaveh:

Getting Vaccinated Along with Most of the Staff

Most rabbis do not get to receive the opportunity to be amongst the first to receive a vaccination against COVID-19, yet, as a chaplain working at such a facility, I have the wonderful opportunity to receive this vaccination.

Receiving the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 on Thursday

I was very excited on Thursday when I received the first dose of the vaccine, as it is an important first step to not only getting our facility opening up and protecting both my family and me, but also on a much broader scale of opening up society and getting things open again.

I was shocked and deeply disturbed to hear that so many staff have refused the vaccine.  In fact, when we first had sign-ups, less than 40% of the staff had agreed to receive the vaccine. I was deeply shocked that we ultimately had just a little bit over 60% of the staff getting vaccinated on Thursday. However, this is apparently better than the state average, as nearly 60% of staff at such facilities have refused the vaccine (42% of nursing home staff in Ohio have agreed to get vaccinated, according to the numbers shared with me in a letter published to our residents and families by our building administrator).

It is deeply concerning and worrying that so many people have refused to take this important first step in getting out of this pandemic. Clearly, we still have a long road ahead of us….

New Pirkei Avot Series

I am excited to announce I have created a new series on Pirkei Avot, a collection of dozens of rabbinic wisdom sayings from many centuries ago. This series is taking place in the form of brief videos of me discussing each and every text in the collection.

Having kicked-off this series on Monday, the YouTube playlist for chapter 1 of Pirkei Avot is available here. I plan on creating separate YouTube playlists for each of the chapters of Pirkei Avot.

The series involves a new video releasing every day, Monday through Friday, so far, each of them lasts several minutes. Although I have created them for the enjoyment and edification of the residents at the senior living facility where I am currently serving as the chaplain, it is, of course, also available for other folks out there, as well 🙂

Podcast Guest on Designated Drinker Show

I am excited to share that I was the featured podcast guest on a recent episode of the Designated Drinker Show. Appearing on the podcast’s 152nd episode, which was released two weeks ago today, the discussion covered rabbinical school training, Hanukah, and The Jewish Drinking Show.

The episode also featured a cocktail designed for the occasion, which was created by the show’s in-house mixologist, Gina Chersevani, which is a New York Sour (and my first time ever drinking such a cocktail):

  • 2 oz rye whiskey or bourbon

  • 1 oz simple syrup

  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice

  • .5 oz red wine

 In a shaker tin, add whiskey, simple syrup and lemon. Fill 3/4 with ice, top and shake vigorously until tin becomes frosty. Strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Over the backside of the spoon, slowly pour the wine on top of cocktail. L’chayim!



Newest Podcast Episode Now Out on Eruvin 64-65

One of the lengthier discussions on wine and drinking in rabbinic literature occurs in the Babylonian Talmud on Eruvin 64-65, which happens to also be the pages of the current Daf Yomi cycle for today and tomorrow.

So, for my 47th episode of the podcast and video show, I discuss an introductory overview of the drinking texts on pages Eruvin 64a, Eruvin 64b, Eruvin 65a, and Eruvin 65b:

And here is the podcast episode:

Finally Seeing the Emotional Toll of Lockdowns During COVID-19 on Seniors

Having been in my current job for four months now, I have finally begun to see for myself the effects that the lockdowns at the senior living facility where I work have been taking upon the residents.

While I had heard from others in the building when I had first started that the social isolation had caused people to deteriorate more quickly than they previously had been, I just their word for it. However, now it’s something that I am actually seeing for myself.

Sure, keeping residents safe from COVID-19 is a laudable objective, yet keeping them cooped up is not only causing physical deterioration and mental deterioration, but emotional deterioration, as well; and that might be the hardest of the three to witness. My heart breaks for them and their loved ones in these tough times of COVID-19.

I hope the federal and state health authorities can adjust their regulations going forward, because I don’t think this is going away anytime soon.

Death & Dying – Not Always Like TV & Movies

Thursday marked exactly three months of my having been in my current position as a Director of Pastoral Care at a senior living facility and one thing that has struck me is that dying and death are much different here than it is as portrayed on television and movies.

This particularly comes to mind, as a longtime resident breathed her final breath the other night. But her passing was the furthest thing from sudden, as she was not only a centenarien,* but also had been on hospice for over a week, with her octogenarian (octogenarien(?)) daughters having spent all of last week with her and having gotten to say their final goodbyes.

Having a week getting to say one’s goodbyes to one’s parent is something I’ve realized is not uncommon around this place, especially when the person has been placed on hospice. I also recently experienced this with a Holocaust survivor whose daughter said her final goodbye to her and then she was placed on hospice. But then she ended up living another week and a half – she was definitely a fighter.

Whereas it is depicted in television and movies as having a certain sadness around death, especially owing to the shock and suddenness of a loved one’s passing, with an older demographic, it can be far from sudden. To be sure, there is some sadness around the departure from this world for the family, which they mourn, but it is almost more of the finality of it, than necessarily any sense of surprise.

Dying and death can certainly be a long drawn-out process and, as I’ve witnessed, sometimes even family members get impatient with their loved one hanging on for longer than expected. The family members have said their goodbyes multiple times, and then have the opportunity to say them again.

It has been an enlightening first three months, experiencing dying and death, not just for the residents, but also for their family members.



*Yes, I’m aware the spelling for a man who is 100 years or older is centenarian, but the person under discussion was a woman, so just wanted to be genderly correct.