Monday Thought

ArticCynda, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

David, Goliath stereotype

Independence Day, you’ll remember, is a pre-9/11 film chock-full -of oblivious patriotic bravado that captures peak-1990’s chauvinistic sentiment; a product placement-laden blockbuster telling the mythic tale of America’s diverse melting pot of ethno-racial caricatures uniting to take down a Big Bad Other. It is also, to me, a Jewish film. I was six when it […]

Illustrated by Jasmina El Bouamraoui and Karabo Poppy Moletsane, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

A Trinity of Trauma-Healing: Science, Spirituality, and the Self

As a child, I was passed between hands, hearths, hospitals, and houses of God for healing. Since before I can remember, physicians, priests, parents, and my own persistence gathered separately in conversation to discuss my potential salvation. They were tasked to find creative solutions to the enigma of my health, the capacity of myself, and […]

Diacritica, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The Stoic’s Embrace of RNG

My father didn’t expect to fall out with the Army after 32 years of service. But, facing disciplinary action on the cusp of his retirement, he took leave while the Army reviewed his transgression—confidential information had leaked to the media under his leadership, and he took the blame. It was a blemish on an otherwise […]

Kepper66, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Testimony: Everything I Never Learned About Religion

The Town Andover, Illinois, where I grew up, is a small farming town settled by the Swedish. Most of the people I knew were either a Larson, a Johnson, a Nelson, a Swenson, a Swanson, or a Thompson. My childhood home stood on a 2 ½ acre lot, right off the only road that can […]

Stock photo courtesy Negative Space

Religion Is Becoming More Accessible. Here’s How.

“When you meet with faith leaders, everyday citizens and see the work that is needed — and is being done — it helps you understand belief systems and how they impact everyday lives,” says Eliana Abdo, project manager at interfaith women’s organization Nisa Nashim. Abdo also shares how recently a public pool dispute in the […]


It has been nearly 20 years since my co-worker Matinal asked me to hang out, with just him and his record player, even though he knew I had a serious boyfriend. Only a year later, I would no longer be in contact with him, and I’d be married to that boyfriend. Still, I remember that […]

Walters Art Museum Illuminated Manuscripts, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Building a personal canon of holy texts

I grew up thinking of a canon as a definitive collection of texts that had long ago been declared sacred. Resolute and unyielding, a canon was not just The Good Word, but The Last Word. In Sunday School, our canon was the Bible. In high school, it was literature written by dead white men: Hemingway, […]

My Own Personal Jesus

I identify as lapsed, but because I was raised (more or less) as a Roman Catholic, without even trying I always have a lot of thoughts in my head about Jesus. I know: Maybe I have extra thoughts in my head about JC because I am a Lapsed Catholic.  Anyway, I attended Catholic school from […]

Corinne Wasserman’s pot roast recipe, in her own hand (written on a Christmas card envelope)

For Corinne Wasserman on Rosh Hashanah

My mother grew up in two houses in northern New Jersey. I never saw the first and know it only by its address (which became its name). Despite some deep complications, the second still produces a profound feeling of warmth and love echoed only, in what is a very recent experience, in the sense of […]

A Mehndi ceremony.

How Mehndi Helped Me Embrace My South Asian Roots During the Pandemic

I have a love-hate relationship with Mehndi – a temporary skin decoration applied using henna that originated in ancient India. Henna is associated with positive spirits and good luck in my culture. Many people claim that Mehndi is the way to make the sacred visible to the naked eye, thus offering and receiving blessings from the divine […]