Sabbatical 2020-2021

On Shabbat, the 12th of December, the second day of Chanukah, we spent a glorious day in Zion National Park in Utah, going on three hikes in five kinds of weather – from light snow to gentle hail to mist to heavy rain and finally to bright sunshine.. (More photos below.)

Zion National Park, Utah, December 12

Our plan for this two-and-a-half-month mini-sabbatical was to cross the country by car to spend time with our family in Eugene, OR, by way of Phoenix and Los Angeles and the Bay Area, where we also planned to visit family members. As Calfornia’s COVID restrictions became more and more severe, we decided to bypass the state on this leg of the trip with the hope that we could visit our families in the Bay Area and Los Angeles on our return trip in January.

Our trip began on November 30, leaving around 10:30 on a rainy day that got rainier as we headed for our first destination: our friends’ (and former Temple members) Sherry Dubester and Rick Nathan’s country home in Gloucester, VA. We had planned this to be our longest day in the car – about 9 hours of driving – and we arrived around 8:30 pm – remarkably, the time we had estimated when we departed from home.

Dec. 9 – Monolith Garden Trail, Cerbat Foothills Recreation Area, Kingman, AZ

Driving across the country during this time means forgoing lots of customary travel experiences like visiting museums, checking out regional food, strolling and shopping in historic or charming neighborhoods. And there is the inevitable stress of driving long distances, staying in a different place almost every night, and making travel choices in a time of great caution and risk. But these limitations have been more than made up for by the fabulous natural wonders that we have been privileged to enjoy. State and Regional in parks in Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. The Painted Desert in the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. The lesser-known West Rim of the Grand Canyon on the Hualapai Reservation. Hoover Dam and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Zion National Park. River canyons, rain forests, and hot springs in Oregon. (Below is a list of places where we hiked or visited or soaked; we have included them as much for the music and poetry of the place names as for their geographic significance.)

And we had a restful and enjoyable hiatus in Phoenix visiting (at a distance), eating, hiking, baking, and relaxing with Linda’s brother, Neil, our sister-in-law Vicki and our nieces Leah and Lauren.

Because we thought we were going to be spending Chanukah with family in California and then in Oregon, we didn’t think to bring a Chanukah menorah and candles. But we were able to join in remote candle lighting and singing either with our family – Shira, Ruhi, Jacob, the grandkids (and sometimes their community) in Oregon, or Ari and his housemates in Boston, or both. And we arrived in time to celebrate the last night of Chanukah in person with Ruhi and Jacob, the grandkids, and Shira.

We are fortunate that our trip went so safely, that we were able to maintain appropriate precautionary measures, and that we arrived in good health to be able to be with our family in Oregon. We are abundantly grateful to our Temple Sinai community for the opportunity to take the time off for this sabbatical.

List of Places where we hiked/visited:

Dec. 1 – Wahrani Nature Trail, Lanexa, VA

Dec. 2 – Natchez Trace State Park, TN

Dec. 3 – Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, Little Rock, AR; Lake Thunderbird, OK

Dec. 4 – Santa Rosa Lake State Park, NM

Dec. 5 – Petrified Forest National Park, AZ

Dec. 6 – Piestewa Peak, Phoenix

Dec. 9 – Monolith Garden Trail, Cerbat Foothills Recreation Area, Kingman, AZ

Monolith Garden Trail

Dec. 10 – Dolan Springs Trail, AZ; Grand Canyon West Skywalk; Sil Daw Ba Nyu Wa Trail, Hualapai Ranch (Cabins at Grand Canyon West)

Grand Canyon West, Dec 10

Dec. 11 – Sil Daw Ba Nyu Wa Trail; Hoover Dam; Valley of Fire State Park, NV

Dec. 12 – Zion National Park: Riverside Walk; Upper, Middle, and Lower Emerald Pool Trails; Canyon Overlook Trail

Dec. 13 – Snow Canyon State Park, Utah; Cathedral Gorge State Park, NV

Dec 14 – Cave Lake State Park, NV

Dec. 15 – Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, OR; Deschutes River Trail, Bend, OR

Dec. 16 – Smith Rock State Park, Terrebonne, OR

Smith Rock

Dec. 17 – Belknap Hot Springs, McKenzie Bridge, OR

Rabbis’ Dispatch from Cape Town, November 2019

Dear Friends:

We have been enjoying our stay as guest rabbis in Cape Town, South Africa, and appreciate the opportunity that Temple Sinai gives us to bring our Bread and Torah project to such far-flung places.

Teaching religious school students how a Torah scroll is made

The Cape Town Progressive Jewish Community – also known as Temple Israel – has an interesting organizational structure. There are three separate synagogues, in three different parts of this city of 4 and a half million people, affiliated as one congregation. Each synagogue has its own council; the three members of the rabbinic team circulate among the three venues. The two larger synagogues have services every Shabbat evening and morning; the smaller one has weekly Shabbat evening services and once a month on Shabbat morning.

We have either taught or lead services at all three places, each lovely and distinct in its own way, and participated in the Mitzvah Day activity at Gracie Love in a Bowl, a “soup kitchen on wheels” based at a local organic farm and retreat center.

Challah workshop for 160 people — biggest ever!

We have also made pita on the braai (barbecue) at a Havdalah event, spoken about Women and Safrut (scribal craft), done a bagel workshop and a Torah project presentation with the religious school, taught a class on tefillin, and given divrei Torah at services.

Coming up are a scribal talk at a nursing home, a challah workshop at a Jewish home for people with intellectual disabilities, a hands-on Community Torah project event sewing two panels, and more service-leading. You can follow our activities on Instagram at breadandtorah.

Mitzvah Day at Gracie Love in a Bowl

Mitzvah Day at Gracie Love in a Bowl

We have received a warm welcome and met many wonderful people. Cape Town is an incredibly diverse city and that diversity is reflected in the membership of the congregation. We have been able to explore the beautiful surroundings as well as to meet with a humanitarian organization that works with disadvantaged people in the townships: Mosaic – Training, Service, and Healing Centre for Women. The chairperson of the Board of Mosaic is a member of Temple Israel.

With Rabbi Emma Gottlieb at Hout Bay

With Rabbi Emma Gottlieb at Hout Bay

We look forward to returning home next week and sharing more of our experiences with you.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Rabbis Linda and Jonathan

New Zealand Adventure February 2017

For a first report on our February 2017 trip to New Zealand, click here.

Welcome to Bread and Torah!

!שׁלוֹם  Shalom! We are launching our new website. Please give us your feedback.

Rabbis in Argentina and Chile 2012

Reserva Ecologica, Buenos Aires

On May 28 I arrived in Buenos Aires to visit our daughter, Shira, who is studying here for the smester.

Upcoming and Recent Programs

Bread and Torah Weekend, Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley, MA, May 30-June 1, 2025

Bread and Torah Workshops in England and Germany, March, April, and May 2025 – stay tuned!

Bread and Torah Weekend, Temple Emanu-El, Providence, RI, March 21-23, 2025

Bread and Torah Scribal and Baking Workshops, Skidmore College Hillel, Saratoga Springs, NY, September 8, 2024

Bread and Torah Scribal and Baking Workshops, Cornell University Hillel, Ithaca, NY, September 4-5, 2024

Bread and Torah Workshops, Mahaz Farm Fellowship, Hegyion Orchard, Covesville, VA, August 4-5, 2024

Bread and Torah Shabbaton, Bethlehem Hebrew Congregation, Bethlehem, NH, July 19-20, 2024

Scribal Program, Camp Young Judea Sprout Lake, Verbank, NY, June 10-11, 2024

Pre-Shavuot Bread and Torah Weekend, Temple Emek Shalom, Ashland, OR, June 7-9, 2024

Parchment Making Intensive, L’Shem Kedushat: Demystifying Jewish Sacred Arts Retreat, Deerfield, MA, May 16-19, 2024

Torah Panel Sewing Session, “Celebrating 40 Years of Jewish Women Clergy in the Capital District,” Temple Israel, Albany, NY, March 31, 2024.

Two Evenings With A Soferet, Congregation Agudath Achim, Schenectady, NY, March 7 and 21, 2024

Inscribing the Sacred: Creating Torah and Art, Jacob Perlow Scholar-In-Residence, Skidmore College, February 26-March 1, 2024

Beauty and the Yeast: Babka and Beyond, Temple Beth Israel, Eugene, OR, January 10, 2024

Bread and Torah Program, Temple Beth Shalom, Spokane, WA, November 18-19, 2023

Scribal Torah Panel Proofreading Program, Temple Beth Israel, Eugene, OR, November 5, 2023

Scribal Parchment Making Program, Temple Beth Israel Religious School, Eugene, OR, April 30, 2023

Challah pop-up bakery, Temple Beth Israel, Eugene, OR, April 7 and May 12, 2023

Bread and Torah program, Woodstock Jewish Congregation, Woodstock, NY, March 12, 2023

Bread and Torah youth programs, Eshkol Regional Council, Israel, February 27 and 28, 2023

Dorson Shabbaton Scholars-in-Residence, Kol Ami, Tucson, AZ, February 10-12, 2023

Tu B’Shevat “Seven Species” Challah Workshop, Temple Beth Israel, Eugene, OR, February 3, 2023

Scholars-in-Residence, Congregation Beth Israel, Charlottesville, VA, January 13-15, 2023

Scholars-in-Residence, Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim (KKBE), Charleston, SC, January 6-8, 2023


Bread and Torah – Parchment Making and Bagel Baking Workshops, Skidmore College Hillel, September 11, 2022

Susan Ellis Waskow (ז”ל) Memorial Day of Communal Learning, Congregation Kehilat Shalom, Belle Mead, NJ, May 14-15, 2022

Bread and Torah Havdalah Program, Congregation Ohav Shalom, Albany, NY, January 25, 2020

Orliss Scholars-in-Residence, Congregation Beth Israel, Carmel, CA, January 10-12, 2020

Sherman Visiting Scholars, Visiting Rabbis, Temple Israel, Cape Town Progressive Jewish Congregation, South Africa, November 14-December 3, 2019

Bread and Torah workshops, Hazon Food Conference, Isabella Freedman Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT, August 14-15, 2019

“Scholars Near the Beach,” Bread and Torah Weekend, Jewish Community Center of Long Beach Island, NJ, July 12-14, 2019

Bread and Torah Program, Temple B’nai Israel, Willimantic, CT, March 23-24, 2019

Bread and Torah Weekend, Main Line Reform Temple, Wynnewood, PA, Jan 25-29, 2019

Bread and Torah Shabbaton, Congregation B’nai Israel, Northampton, MA, December 14-15, 2018

Teva Educators and Adamah Fellows Training, Isabella Friedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT  November 11, 2018

Alexander Schindler Scholars-in-Residence, Temple Israel, Westport, CT, October 26-28, 2018

Rabbis Linda and Jonathan teaching at the Maine Conference for Jewish Life, Waterville, ME, June 8-10, 2018

Bread and Torah Weekend, Temple Beth Israel, Eugene, OR, April 20-22, 2018

Bread and Torah Workshop, Beth El Synagogue, St. Louis Park, MN, March 8-11, 2018

Bread and Torah weekend, Comunidad Hebrea En San Miguel de Allende, San Miguel de Allende, México

Aaron Altschul Scholar in Residence Weekend, Temple Micah, Washington DC, Jan 19-21, 2018

Teva Educators and Adamah Fellows Training, Isabella Friedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT  November 5, 2017

Bread and Torah Shabbaton, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME & Beth Israel Congregation, Bath, ME, October 20-21, 2017

Hiddur Mitzvah, Camp Seneca Lake, Penn Yan, NY, July 9-10, 2017

Bread and Torah Shabbaton, Jewish Community of Amherst, Amherst, MA, March 17-19, 2017

Visiting Rabbis, New Zealand Bead and Torah Tour, Hokianga, Wellington, Auckland, Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand, February 8-26, 2017

Bread and Torah, Temple Sholom, New Milford, CT, January 8, 2017

Bread and Torah, Congregation Beth Israel, Worcester, MA, December 9-11, 2016

Bread and Torah, Congregation Beth El, Bennington, VT, November 12-13, 2016

Teva and Adamah, Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT  November 6, 2016

Writing the Sacred: Scribes in Christianity and Judaism, Hayyim and Esther Kieval Institute for Jewish-Christian Studies, Siena College, October  30-31, 2016

Half-Torah, A Celebration of Reaching the Half-way Mark in the Community Torah Project, Temple Sinai, July 24, 2016

Visiting Rabbis, Bread and Torah, Bethlehem Hebrew Congregation, Bethlehem, NH, July 14-17, 2016

Rabbi Linda Motzkin, Women and the Making of Torah: A Soferet’s Story, Rabbi Seymour Siegel Memorial Lecture, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY, April 13, 2016

Bread and Torah, Haverford College Jewish Student Union, Haverford, PA, March 29, 2016

Bread and Torah, Congregation Beth Israel, Charlottesville, VA, March 25-27, 2016

Bread and Torah, Temple Beth Avodah, Newton, MA, March 13-14, 2016

Bread and Torah, Congregation Eitz Chayim, Cambridge, MA, March 11-12, 2016

Bread and Torah, Skidmore College Hillel, Saratoga Springs, March 1, 2016

Hazon Food Conference, Isabella Freedman Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT, December 29, 2015 -January 1, 2016

Schenectady JCC Gallery Scribal Arts Program, November 17, 2015

Teva and Adamah, Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT  November 15, 2015

Festival of Jewish Scribal Arts, Lev Shalem Institute, Woodstock, New York, Oct 2015 (see Tablet article on the Third International Gathering of Sofrot as part of this Lev Shalem festival)

Pre-Rosh Hashanah Challah Workshop, Schenectady JCC, September 2015

Torah repair in San Miguel de Allende, México, April 2015

Jewish Community and Cultural Center (JC3), San Miguel de Allende, México, March, 2015

Challah workshops in Valparaíso, Chile, Jan 2015

Congregation Beth Ahavah, Northampton, MA, Nov 2014

Skidmore College Hillel, Saratoga Springs, NY Nov 2014

Teva and Adamah, Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT  Nov 2014

Jewish Community Center, Utica, NY, October 2014

Bethlehem Hebrew Congregation, Bethlehem, NH, July 2014

Parchment workshop, Spring Street Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY June, 2014

Conference of sofrot, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, May 2014

Annual Interfaith Program, United Methodist Church, Saratoga Springs, NY,  April 2014

Congregation Beit Warszawa, Warsaw, Poland, March 2014

Torah writing workshop, Congregation Beit Kraków, Krakow, Poland, March 2014

Congregation Beth Orim, Budapest, Hungary, March 2014

Schenectady Unitarian-Universalist Society Youth Group (at Temple Sinai) March 2014

Smith College Hillel, Northampton, MA  Feb 2014

Temple Solel, Phoenix, AZ, January 2014

Temple Sinai, Pittsburgh, PA, Dec 2013

SyraJews, Syracuse, NY, November 2013

Temple Israel, Duluth, MN, June 2013

Capital District Board of Rabbis, Albany, NY, June 2013

Teva Seminar, Falls Village, CT, June 2013

Congregation Shir Ami, Newtown, PA, April 2013

Temple B’rith Kodesh, Rochester, NY, March 2013

Baking Workshop, Temple Beth Emeth, Albany, NY, March 2013

Smith College Hillel, Northampton, MA, March 2013

Congregation Agudat Achim Rosh Hodesh group, Schenectady, NY Dec 2012

Germantown Jewish Center, Philadelphia, PA, October 2012

Bread Workshop at Havurah Institute, Rindge, NH August 2012

Hevreh of Southern Berkshire, Great Barrington, MA, June 2012

Bread Making Class, Temple Sinai, Saratoga Springs, NY June 2012

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