without a net (or, as the kids say: Big Personal News)

person jumping off cliff
it's me, hi

Hi! Sorry for the radio silence for a sec. There have been some.. ✨tech moments✨ over here.


As we bring in 2024, there are some big changes afoot in these parts.

1. I've moved Life is a Sacred Text 🌱 out of Substack.

There’s a lot to say, but it can functionally be summarized as: Their increasing tolerance of white-supremacist, neo-Confederate, and explicitly Nazi newsletters, and their co-founder Hamish McKenzie’s choice to respond to a mass letter by Substack writers by saying that he’s happy to profit off of them and refuses to enforce his Terms of Service is my breaking point. I’ve moved to the nonprofit Ghost1.

If you’re already a subscriber, you should be automagically moved.

If you’re not yet a subscriber, or not yet a paid subscriber, please level up here:

If you're one of these people that uses the Substack app in particular and are annoyed about this, and other, exoduses (exodi?) because that was a convenient way to do your reading– I hear great things about Feedly as one place to read All The Newsletters in one place.


(announcement numéro deux, le prologue):

I’ve decided to leave my work at National Council of Jewish Women.

I’m genuinely proud of the work that I did there, and so, so, so grateful for all of my extraordinary colleagues and collaborators who made any/all of it possible.

But now it’s time for a shift.

2. Life is a Sacred Text, and my other public writing and teaching, will be my primary focus now.

There are a lot of reasons for this.

Writing and public teaching have always been an important part of my rabbinate. Always.

And what it is, what it seeks to do, has been and continues to be a lot of different things.

And for a lot of reasons (some of which I’ll talk about in a sec, some will emerge in my writing over time, some maybe.. not) this feels like the right time to try to focus on that work—to see what happens when I actually allow myself the time and space to see what’s possible.

My mother was diagnosed with cancer at age 48, and died at 51. I know that this is a known phenomenon: sometimes people get squirrelly when they reach the age that their parent was when they died, especially if it’s a same-gender parent.

And here I am, about to turn 49.

That is to say—every year that I live past this one is a blessing. Every year any of us gets is a blessing, but for me, this is an intensely personal clock.2

So for me, because this year has meaning, I feel as though I am forced to ask: What feel like the work that is uniquely mine, and undone?

And at the same time, I have been getting the memo from—well, every aspect of my life, it feels like—that I cannot continue on as I have been. That it’s time to change, to focus on my health, on balance, on slowing down and on, at the same time, giving myself over fully to this more public work.

Thanks to the support of everyone in the Life is a Sacred Text House of Study, I am able to make my writing work the focus, now, here.

I want to make writing here my focus.

I want to be able to deliver substantial, piping hot Torah and history to your inboxes on the regular.

I want to get through the backlog of half-finished essays I have in Drafts—so many!! you have no idea!! —and take us all on a journey through Numbers and Deuteronomy. Oh, y’all, I have such killer stuff that I’ve been itching to do with you.

I want to have more Ask the Rabbi posts in the House of Study, and other more interactive things, and go back to bringing good, juicy text studies, and throw in the occasional free-for-all Zoom call and other possibilities. Maybe video missives? Play around more with podcasts or virtual teaching or ???

I don’t know. But I do know that I want to experiment, try new things. I want to know what I’m capable of with this amazing format and in conversation with you all, and with a little more bandwidth with which to goof around.

Oh, and I might have a collection of essays to work on, too. Not sure. And a few other writing-related and other media projects that have been on my mental back burner since forever, saved for “someday, when I get time.” But I'm intentionally also not rushing into anything but this, first– the temptation to pile things on is great, and learning a different way of being and doing will take time.

Candidly: I am also curious to know what I might write if I actually allow myself this. If I allow myself to be this free. What (parts of myself and/or truths) have I been holding back, out of fear? Out of my own avoidance? Out of concern for ruffling feathers? I’m done being afraid.

My obligation—to myself, to all of you, to God—is to the truth, the best I understand it.

The whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

צִדְקָתְךָ֣ צֶ֣דֶק לְעוֹלָ֑ם וְֽתוֹרָתְךָ֥ אֱמֶֽת׃

Justice, your justice is eternal; Your teaching (Torah) is truth. Psalm 119:142

So that’s where I gotta stay. Justice and truth. That’s my lane. That’s Torah.

I can tell you some of what will happen next: The next few weeks will involve getting things up and running on this new platform, visiting my brand! new! nephew! (and his parents, who are pretty great), getting my feet under me again.

And then? It’s gonna be 🔥🔥🔥.

Here’s what I can tell you: I know a bunch about the ride that’s coming, and it’s going to be wild. And hopefully a lot of fun.

Anyway, if you want in on this, sign up.

And if you’re a free subscriber who wants to start supporting this work—especially since it’s now going to be

✨ 100% NAZI-FREE ✨

you can do so here:

And as always, if you want in to the House of Study but paying isn’t for you, email lifeisasacredtext@gmail.com. And if you want to subsidize the folks who get comped, you can do that by subscribing at one of the higher tiers.

Thanks for being on this big, terrifying, exhilarating journey with me, and thank you, truly, for supporting me in whatever way (reading, subscribing, cheering from the sidelines).

It means more than you can know. ❤️

  1. Yes, I know they host one newsletter in particular that isn’t great. But it’s a nonprofit and, among other things they actually enforce their terms of service, from what I understand, and for my needs (including: the already existing size of this project, the fact that I’m too old and tired to go dinking around in HTML every single time I want to write, and my refusal to work on a platform that bills itself as the AI newsletter forum, it’s the best for my needs. Believe me, I agonized, and I did the research thoroughly. Doing my best to try to live in integrity in a world in which all choices are compromises.

  2. God willing, I’ll have many years ahead of me! But none of us ever know, do we?


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