Dan Ornstein http://wamc.org en Rabbi Dan Ornstein: “Saying Grace” Over Grace After Meals http://wamc.org/post/rabbi-dan-ornstein-saying-grace-over-grace-after-meals <p>Moving from New York City to Raleigh, North Carolina upon ordination was my first serious foray out of a somewhat insular northeastern cocoon and into “real” America.&nbsp; I was not exactly sheltered until then. I grew up in an ethnically diverse Queens neighborhood, and the inner city public high school I attended was a testing ground for class and racial coexistence.&nbsp; Still, I thought I knew what difference was until I discovered how different difference could be in the same country, less than five hundred miles south of where I grew up.&nbsp; The Raleigh and East Carolinas that I remember from the early nineteen nineties were a study in contrasts.&nbsp; The city is part of an urban powerhouse of cosmopolitanism that attracts people and businesses from all over the world.&nbsp; Yet it also boasts some of the world’s most rigidly conservative churches and it sits in the midst of the American tobacco farming industry, a very traditionalist, hierarchical culture.</p><p> Thu, 13 Feb 2014 20:50:00 +0000 Dan Ornstein 83833 at http://wamc.org Rabbi Dan Ornstein: My Masterpiece http://wamc.org/post/rabbi-dan-ornstein-my-masterpiece <p>She walks up to me after morning services, her face uplifted and bright.&nbsp; “I wanted to let you know about some great news I got from my son,” she grins.&nbsp; Those few moments after morning worship before I go back to my office are usually when members of my synagogue tell me their worst news about sadness, illness, death.&nbsp; Her promise to tell me about something happy intrigues and relieves me.&nbsp; “He has been writing since he was sixteen,” she begins.&nbsp; “After more than twenty years of writing professionally, he sold a screenplay for a new movie.&nbsp; My husband and I wi Wed, 25 Dec 2013 17:35:00 +0000 Dan Ornstein 80500 at http://wamc.org Rabbi Dan Ornstein: Informed Voting As A Religious Obligation. http://wamc.org/post/rabbi-dan-ornstein-informed-voting-religious-obligation <p> Thu, 21 Nov 2013 08:50:00 +0000 Dan Orstein 78198 at http://wamc.org Rabbi Dan Ornstein: A New Internet Idea: Google Divine Images http://wamc.org/post/rabbi-dan-ornstein-new-internet-idea-google-divine-images <p>Below is my imaginary letter to Sergei Brin, the co-founder and owner of Google. Thu, 17 Oct 2013 19:50:00 +0000 Dan Ornstein 75787 at http://wamc.org Rabbi Dan Ornstein: Searching For Khaled http://wamc.org/post/rabbi-dan-ornstein-searching-khaled <p>I was a twenty-one year old junior in college when I met Khaled Nusseibeh.&nbsp; We were both undergraduates at Columbia University in New York thirty years ago, and my memories of him and our brief friendship are now quite old and likely distorted. Thu, 19 Sep 2013 19:54:08 +0000 Dan Ornstein 73996 at http://wamc.org Dan Ornstein: Anxiously Remembering to Live http://wamc.org/post/dan-ornstein-anxiously-remembering-live <p>A half-hour north of Albany outside the town of Stillwater you will find the Still Point Interfaith Retreat Center, in my opinion, one of the Capitol District's most beautiful and serene rural settings.&nbsp; Sheltered and almost completely hidden by a wooded thicket, Still Point is exactly what its name implies: a place of blessed silence and spiritual respite, whose chorus of rustling leaves, birds, and crickets sings a song that drives out the whining musak of daily life from my ears.&nbsp;</p> Thu, 15 Aug 2013 19:30:00 +0000 Dan Ornstein 71497 at http://wamc.org Dan Ornstein: Buying Two Stairways To Heaven http://wamc.org/post/dan-ornstein-buying-two-stairways-heaven <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A few months ago as we drove to an appointment, one of my daughters and I bonded around the British rock band, Led Zeppelin's 1971 classic, "Stairway To Heaven."&nbsp; With some uninterrupted time and the windows rolled up tightly in the car, we let loose.&nbsp; Every word, melody change, and voice inflection of lead singer Robert Plant's that we could remember, we imitated.&nbsp; We even tried to imitate those famous instrumentals that build the song up in a crescendo from a quiet renaissance style recorder solo to a battle of </span>angsting<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, angry guitars and screaming lyrics.&nbsp; Finally, we put our voices together to echo Plant's heartrending </span>acapella<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> solo: "And she's buying a stairway...to heaven."</span></p><p> Thu, 18 Jul 2013 19:46:37 +0000 Dan Ornstein 69526 at http://wamc.org Dan Ornstein: Music As Preschool Teacher http://wamc.org/post/dan-ornstein-music-preschool-teacher <p></p> Thu, 16 May 2013 19:31:15 +0000 Dan Ornstein 64756 at http://wamc.org Dan Ornstein: At The Seder - Giving A Voice To The Voiceless http://wamc.org/post/dan-ornstein-seder-giving-voice-voiceless <p></p><p>Each Passover season for the past twenty one years, the Jewish residents of our region's group homes for developmentally disabled adults have been coming to our synagogue for a model Seder, or Passover meal, prior to the holiday.&nbsp; Our volunteers spend a long Sunday afternoon cooking, setting up our social hall, and serving between twenty five and thirty people and their overworked, underpaid aides.&nbsp; Over the years I have learned that some of the residents have families who look after them, yet some of them were abandoned by loved ones or forgotten in the family shuffles caused by aging, physical distance and death years ago.&nbsp; Their disabilities are a spectrum of severity, a variety of developmental delays, neuro-motor and communication disorders.&nbsp; From what their helpers tell me, our Seder is one of the highlights of their year.&nbsp; We welcome everyone as they come through the door. We play music and sing, we tell the story of the ancient Israelites' liberation from Egypt, we eat a nice meal together and we have fun. We are a noisy bunch performing a boisterous narrative about redemption for people whose voices, literally and symbolically, are imprisoned or extinguished.</p><p> Thu, 18 Apr 2013 19:43:14 +0000 Dan Ornstein 62585 at http://wamc.org Rabbi Dan Ornstein: Springsteen Raised a Cain http://wamc.org/post/rabbi-dan-ornstein-springsteen-raised-cain <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Bruce Springsteen stands out almost without equals among the musicians who touch my soul. I rarely regret his outsized melodies, gritty voice, and emotionally explosive poetry that explore working class struggles and the general human condition with such passion and compassion.&nbsp; I am especially drawn to Springsteen's use of biblical and religious imagery in songs such as </span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">Adam Raised A Cain</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, from his album </span><u style="line-height: 1.5;">Darkness On The Edge Of Town</u><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p> Fri, 15 Mar 2013 16:33:24 +0000 Dan Ornstein 59982 at http://wamc.org Rabbi Dan Ornstein: Springsteen Raised a Cain