Sabbath

Sabbath.   It’s late summer, Friday...

Self-Portrait Love

Spiritual Exercise   Make a self-portrait...

Being Loved

Being loved  I thought it was going to be a...
Self-Portrait Love

Self-Portrait Love

Spiritual Exercise   Make a self-portrait on an index card, a piece of paper, etc. *** I’m going to assume that you did a drawing, although my spidey-sense tells me that you didn’t. *** I want you to imagine a four-year old hands you a picture, drawn as well as a...

read more
Being Loved

Being Loved

Being loved  I thought it was going to be a much rougher day for Emmett than it was. I guess it proves that you can’t really predict how people are going to react and the importance of quality time together. More than that, this story reminds me of a quote by Rumi –...

read more
Lamppost Logic

Lamppost Logic

Lamppost logic A man encircles a lamppost over and over as a police woman approaches. “Sir, can I be of any assistance?” He explains that he lost his wallet, and they both search for some time. Finally, she asks, “Where did you last see it?” “In that dark alley.” “Why...

read more
Eulogy MJR

Eulogy MJR

A horse walks into a bar; the bartender says "Why the long face?", and horse says, "I have cancer." In our last cogent conversation, Michael asked me to give a eulogy at his funeral. And he asked me to start it with a joke. The aforementioned horse joke is not the one...

read more
Hello and Farewell, Jews. And, hello, you.

Hello and Farewell, Jews. And, hello, you.

HELLO, JEWS My four-year incarnation as a rabbi in the form most people would recognize began in 1997. I stood in front of 750-plus people to lead High Holy Day services at Temple Judea in Tarzana, California. This wealthy suburb of 40,000 named for the estate of...

read more
Patience. Dog

Patience. Dog

Walk number one After dinner, before bed. A summer evening. Emmett and I are walking JJ around the block. We are chatting. About Minecraft and magic tricks. We are buddies. > Em, can you help me think something out? > Sure. >People always say that they wish...

read more
Spiritual Building Block: OFNR

Spiritual Building Block: OFNR

Spiritual Building Block: OFNR  EXPRESS TRAIN Alberta street. A sunny, late summer afternoon. Portlandia boutiques. A sticker shop. A used vinyl shop. A tea and kombucha shop. I find a spot for our 2003 Odyssey and we start walking. I quickly turn back from Jane and...

read more
Labor Day. Together.

Labor Day. Together.

“You need to give me an overview of which way we are going.” Jane is driving. I am crocheting yet another hat in the seat next to her. Driving makes her feel a little more secure and in control. There are a few sermons in this. About perceived control. About knowing...

read more
The SIXTH Love Language

The SIXTH Love Language

A NOTE FROM THE FUTURE: Hi. This is Rabbi Brian in 2019. August.  The article below was written in 2014. It's wonderful. But, not how I'm thinking today. The difference is... THE 6th LOVE LANGUAGE There is another love language -- fidelity, faithfulness, doing the...

read more
Forgive Them (Follow-up)

Forgive Them (Follow-up)

MORE Thoughts about forgiveness Last week, I sent an article about forgiveness–imploring you to forgive people for their transgressions. This week, I wanted to follow-up and share responses with you. Bob S. During my 51-year career, I was often asked, “Bob, how do you...

read more
Forgive Them For They Know Not What They Do

Forgive Them For They Know Not What They Do

Making Mistakes “What does it feel like when you make a mistake?” It’s a question that Kathryn Schulz asks people. She’s an expert in mistakes. I imagine many of us are experts in making mistakes. She is an expert is what mistakes are....

read more
The Thirty-Five Year Gosub Redemption

The Thirty-Five Year Gosub Redemption

October. Portland. Bedtime. Annie’s room. 2018 "But I shouldn't be in that group," my daughter wailed over and over again. Annie was put in remedial fourth-grade math at the start of the school year. She hadn't learned her times tables. Her teacher explained that...

read more
God’s Laugher

God’s Laugher

And God Laughed Zoe approached me with a funny look on her face. “Rabbi,” she said, “I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave.” The setting was Magic Camp last summer, on the beautiful campus of Bryn Mawr college. My boy, Emmett, was in his first year at camp....

read more
Not To Complain (part 2)

Not To Complain (part 2)

Not-Complain, Part 2   Before I send each newsletter, I wonder, "Will they like this one?" I also often wonder about the staggering number of people who are certain they have just written a hit song. Last week's newsletter –NOT TO COMPLAIN–The 21-Day No Complaint...

read more
Not To Complain

Not To Complain

Not To Complain It would have been a comfortable chaise lounge, except it was in Dr. Black's brightly lit dentist’s office. He walked in and asked, “Rabbi, how are you doing today?” I usually give a thought-filled response. However, in this...

read more
Not Remembering Half RIght

Not Remembering Half RIght

September 11, 2001 A. Where were you?B. What were you doing?C. Who do you remember being with you?D. Who did you talk to?E. What did you say or hear? Let's assume you wrote out five responses. A. _______ B. _______ C. _______ D. _______ E. _______   Two of...

read more
Rabbi Brian’s Public Diary

Rabbi Brian’s Public Diary

RABBI BRIAN’S PUBLIC DIARY   2019: ISSUE #19. @RABBI_BRIAN_1970       The outburst comes from the guy behind me in the TSA line at Portland airport. It’s late on a Thursday night.   We’d just participated in the spiritual exercise of removing...

read more
God is Not An Ass

God is Not An Ass

God is not an ass. (Love as much as you can.) In the mail the other day, I got a scary brochure entitled “Revelation Today: The End Time Is Near." Apparently, the Reverend Myckal Morehouse has an important message for me. He was prepared to provide free...

read more
Bible Conspiracy

Bible Conspiracy

Dan Brown's conspiracy book "The DaVinci Code" was good. This is like that, but Biblical.   This is a long, super interesting read.     *Background*  Someone sent me a meme of Jesus bungee jumping from a crucifix.  A month later, I read a book that  took this meme to...

read more
Tittynope, you’re inestimable

Tittynope, you’re inestimable

Tittynopes on my face The Grandiloquent Dictionary defines tittynope as a noun. Tittynope: A small quantity of something left over, such as uneaten meat on the side of a plate or dregs of beer left in the glass. A small portion of food remaining. (noun) I learned the...

read more
Something wrong in my thinking

Something wrong in my thinking

I’m having a hard time these days. In some ways, of course, I shouldn’t be. I shouldn’t be having a hard time. Or maybe it shouldn’t appear that I’m having a hard time. My bride and children are healthy. We have some money in the bank. I have a beautiful home, in a...

read more
Mourning

Mourning

Rabbi Brian on Mourning   What follows is a collection of the advice that I often give to people when they are facing a loss. These are my “go-to’s.” Take what you like and leave the rest. I hope you find comfort. -rB   Permission   There is no one...

read more
Something wrong in my thinking

Something wrong in my thinking

At 9:15pm, I exited the bathroom into the hallway between my kids’ rooms. After hearing myself thinking two thoughts, I knew something was seriously wrong.   At about 9:00, fifteen minutes earlier, Jane and I had put each kid to bed, read to them, kissed each one...

read more
Wisdom Biscuit

Wisdom Biscuit

What's in a name? I loved the title WISDOM BISCUIT. It fit what I was thought I was doing... giving people something: good for you tasty satisfying Jane never liked the name. She was right. It's cute and ditracts from the importance of the message. So, I'm retiring...

read more
Anatomy of a soul

Anatomy of a soul

Soul Recently a neighbor came up to me and said,:  "A Jewish friend told me Judaism doesn’t believe in a soul and that when you are dead you are dead. Can you help?" I thought I would share my answer.   The first 3/4 of this article is a bit academic. The last...

read more
Have hope anyhow.

Have hope anyhow.

  Humanity Our world seems mad, frightening. Out of alignment. Brexit, windmill cancer, Mueller, global warming, and more.   I get really scared. I'm sure you do too.   You'd have to be especially disconnected to not feel the...

read more
How I forgave my son

How I forgave my son

  My son walked me face first into a telephone pole. I have thought about it and concluded that it was my fault. He didn't think I would get hurt. Neither did I. *In brief*   I walked, face-first, fast and hard, into a telephone pole.   Even though...

read more
How can I stop my thinking

How can I stop my thinking

  Lao Tzu said, “Stop thinking, and end your problems.”   What?   Are you freaking kidding me, Lao Tzu?   Stop thinking!   Ha!   You’re kidding, right?   No? You’re not?   https://rotb.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Stop-Thinking-Rabbi-Brian.png   *Considering it*  ...

read more
What is Free Will?

What is Free Will?

*One scheduled meeting, one chance meeting*     Zac, an SEO expert, changed my thinking about how I post videos, podcasts, and articles.    After an extended coffee-and-two-laptops-on-the-tables meeting at Fleur De Lis Bakery & Cafe near my house, I knew...

read more
Weeping your own tears

Weeping your own tears

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.   Dino   Dr. Dino Zanini mentored me towards a certification in group consulting through the AK Rice institute. Dino had a twinkle in his eye that expressed...

read more
Do not believe yourself

Do not believe yourself

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.   Anxious Two weeks ago, at 3:30 in the morning on a Thursday, I felt the beginning of a panic attack. And then it built on itself, as these things do. I...

read more
Faith and the Tooth Fairy

Faith and the Tooth Fairy

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.   Annie Annie lost a tooth—and her belief in the tooth fairy—on the Sunday before MLK day, still a few weeks shy of her tenth birthday. Her absolute faith that...

read more
Is this really who you want to be in the world?

Is this really who you want to be in the world?

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.     Let me re-cap the newsletter in 2019 thus far. Issue 02/40 – Spiritual Tool: Acceptance. My stolen computer set the backdrop for learning about the...

read more
Spiritual Tool: Acceptance

Spiritual Tool: Acceptance

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.   In the most recent issue of the 77% Weekly, I wrote about the spiritual practice of asking for help. I got a number of responses, like the following from...

read more
Help. It’s what the strong ask for

Help. It’s what the strong ask for

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.       Help: it's what the strong ask for My friend Dave has been in my life and the world of ROTB since his wedding in 2013. I love Dave.  In his eyes and...

read more
Tmocintre Roi changes everything

Tmocintre Roi changes everything

Tmocintre Roi changes everything Tmocintre Roi – a spiritual fitness tool I want you to understand – can be best explained by an incident that happened last school year.  Last school year, most mornings, I walked Annie to the corner of 37th and Klickitat from where...

read more
Complaining as a spiritual practice

Complaining as a spiritual practice

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.       Complaining as a spiritual practice   What do these things have in common? Phones Spam Fatigue Prices Internet Weather School/Work These...

read more
Struggling With God

Struggling With God

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.         Struggling With God       Rabbi B, In your videos and podcasts, you don't exactly tell us what you mean by what you term "the baggage-laden...

read more
Angels on my doorstep

Angels on my doorstep

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.         Angels at my door   The setting. And, names.   It’s Yom Kippur, the Jewish holy day. The holiest day of the years. I’m home. I’m in my...

read more
You are not a Jedi

You are not a Jedi

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.         No, Katie, you are not a Jedi.   I received the following email from Katie.I’ve changed details (like her real name and any...

read more
We shall overcome

We shall overcome

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.     WE SHALL OVERCOME The gunman. I will not use his name. He has woken in me an eternal truth that comforts me. Some are born with darker skin, gay, or...

read more
Disorganized Grief

Disorganized Grief

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.   Introduction When anti-Semitic violence occurs, Brian and I are surrounded by lots of love and support. Many non-Jewish friends are horrified and they tell...

read more
Hope. Delayed.

Hope. Delayed.

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE. A celebration of life and religious service ended with eleven people killed and six wounded. Unimaginable. Unimaginable. Unimaginable. I spent Saturday fluctuating...

read more
Go Over The Line

Go Over The Line

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.     Fuck! I crossed a line. I didn’t need to do that. Really. I didn’t. I didn't need to put that "bad" word there so big. I didn't. This is not an...

read more
I guess it’s up to me

I guess it’s up to me

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.     The universe is how it is. Do something. I pick up trash while I jog. As a guy, I feel safe being outside before it is light. This allows me to jog...

read more
In the air. Fear.

In the air. Fear.

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.       Part One: It's real   The smell of fear In 2008, research scientists at Stony Brook University attached moisture absorbing pads to two...

read more
She is helping. Kinda.

She is helping. Kinda.

The 77% Weekly NewsletterSPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.   Our kitchen had become a mess, as it often does, and I asked my nine-year-old daughter for help. She put a chair in front of the refrigerator, took down...

read more
You are tense. I am sorry. But, that is not my problem.

You are tense. I am sorry. But, that is not my problem.

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE. You're tense. That's yours. I’m at Trader Joe’s checking out. This is not the first “a-ha” moments I’ve had checking out at Trader Joe’s. Luis, a jovial man I’ve...

read more
Annoyance on my back

Annoyance on my back

The 77% Weekly Newsletter SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE. Often after school, Emmett comes downstairs to my home-office and sits on the back of my chair. He climbs up and wedges himself between my back and the back of the...

read more

Q
&
A

“Do you need another email?”

No. You get enough emails already. Probably you don’t need one more email. In fact, you probably need to get fewer emails, not more.

“Do I really have time to read a weekly newsletter about spiritual-religious health? Might signing-up for this newsletter make me feel guilt in some way? What’s the catch?

Think about my 10-year old and his guitar lessons. He practices, if I exagerate, 30 minutes a week total. His lesson is 30 minutes a week. So, all told, he touches a guitar fo an hour a week. Now, think about you and your spiritual practice. Might you consider reading the newsletter to be your guitar lesson. What you are getting by subscribing to the newsletter is the chance to spend 5-10 minutes 3-4 times a month to your spiritual practice. Do the math, you have 15-40 minutes of time you are starting at a screen to devote to your spiritual well-being. Also, as I know that people don’t learn in guilt, I am both dogma and guilt-free.

“Why 77% Weekly”

I send it every Monday morning, except the last Monday of the month. 52 weeks a year – 12 last Mondays = 40. 40/52 is 77%.The newsletter got it’s name. I think you work too much. Many of us do. (You probably agree.) So, I want to remind you that you only need a 77% to pass.

“I thank you?”

I really didn’t know what to put in that button. “I thank you” seems appropriate. After all, albeit small, you are trusting me. So, for that I thank you.

Few problems are solved by an email your in-box.


This is an exception.

40 curiosity-satisfying, soul-nuturing messages (with a little spunk) from Rabbi Brian. Raw, honest, vulnerable reflections on faith/religion/spirituality. Without being dogmatic, pompous, or woo-woo. Or overly Jewy-McJewish.

Wonderful! You did it. Look for an email soon! (Unless you want to work on your patience, of course.)