“So what are you going to talk about, Rabbi, with the world as it is?”
The world is burning. Climate catastrophes are continuing. Our democracy feels fragile in ways I don’t need to describe – you’re living them too. In many areas of the United States, rights are being attacked: my right to choose whether or not I carry a child, or that of women. There are people in Missouri like Rabbi Daniel Bogard. He pursues appropriate medical care for trans son.
It will take a long time to fix our world. The climate crisis isn’t going anywhere, and I don’t think a quick fix will do it for democracy or human rights, either. It can have a heavy emotional and spiritual toll.
In the winter, I found a new way to cope: by learning Arabic through Duolingo. This was done with a rabbi. Any time I caught myself doomscrolling, I’d open Duo and practice Arabic instead. The desire to learn came from his parents. A recent trip to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. It was my hope to go to Israel that motivated me to study.
It is very humbling to learn a language as an adult. After nine months I am able to say or read things like قهوة سيث طيب/ kahwa Seth tayyib, “Seth’s coffee is…