1. I write my own Torah. It’s called the Gnorah, an allusion to my nickname, Gary Gnu, the name of an obscure television antelope which I have never seen. The Gnorah is a very libertine version of the Old Testament, with lots of musical numbers, singing prophets, and horny eleven-year-old takes on biblical themes. Exodus becomes Sexodus, for instance. Henry Miller would be proud.
    — 

    From the essay, ‘The Mother Tongue Between Two Slices of Rye.’

    G-d bless Gary Shteyngart.

     

  2. Are you an exceptional high school or college student looking for a transformative weeklong interfaith experience this summer? Apply to participate in the Interfaith Youth Initiative at Brandeis University in Boston from July 31-August 7. More info and application here: http://bit.ly/1x7310W. 

     


  3. A stunningly moving TED talk by Andrew Solomon. Watch til the end.

     


  4. NONJUDGMENTAL OPENNESS

    Over time, as the thinking mind begins to settle [through the practice of meditation], we’ll start to see our patterns and habits far more clearly. This can be a painful experience. I can’t overestimate the importance of accepting ourselves exactly as we are right now, not as we wish we were or think we ought to be. By cultivating nonjudgmental openness to ourselves and to whatever arises, to our surprise and delight we will find ourselves genuinely welcoming the never-pin-downable quality of life, experiencing it as a friend, a teacher, and a support, and no longer as an enemy.

    — Pema Chödrön, in Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change
     


  5. All my friends would sleep until the hour when kings arise and then head to their studies, but I would be up from the crack of dawn working with cold hands on disgusting leather.
    — 

    From “The Fishpond,” based on B. Taanit 24a in Ruth Calderon’s A Bride For One Night: Talmud Tales

    Ruth Calderon will be speaking at Hebrew College’s 89th Commencement on Sunday. This line from her new volume seems particularly timely upon having completed my first year of rabbinical school. (And because today is the 15th anniversary of my becoming a Bat Mitzvah!)

    Its simplicity and humility struck me with the realization that I am incredibly blessed to have this opportunity to study. Even the basic access to books and education is something truly to be cherished.

    Though learning a sizable body of knowledge can at times feel otherwise, it is quite obviously a gift. What a refreshing way to approach my studies. Thank you, Ruth!

     

  6. A semester’s worth of Talmud in four minutes (Baba Metzia 58b).

     


  7. Angela Patton’s TED talk is not only deeply moving and inspirational, but also sheds light on our problematic prison system from a unique perspective: little girls.

     

  8.  


  9. I’m not flying Delta because I’m interested in Delta. I’m flying Delta because it’s convenient or I got the miles on it. The idea is to get somewhere. I’m practicing Judaism because that’s my airline, because I was born into it and I think it’s got a deeply profound, ancient and relevant toolbox for a good life, but the end goal is a good life, not to be Jewish. To be human. To be there for myself and others. And that’s a totally different proposition.
    — 

    Amichai Lau-Levie

    Excellent NYT profile of his Lab/Shul experimental Manhattan synagogue. Read more: http://nyti.ms/PNdfnd.

     


  10. Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now.
    — 

    Jack Kerouac

    Read more: http://t.co/aSPstucDXd