Recent twitter entries...

Dancing Brings Joy... Even in the Face of Sorrow

A new Portal Manager and contributor to the Catholic Portal at Patheos, Elizabeth Scalia, writes over at the First Things site on the blog The Anchoress.

Recently she wrote a post about a Holocaust survivor who danced at Auschwitz and several other locations of horror in Europe with his daughter and three grandchildren.

There have been some broad criticisms of him as well as of his daughter, mainly accusing her of exploiting him and making claims that he "appears" to have dementia (which is false, according to his daughter). I don't feel that he is ill or sick for wanting to celebrate his life, especially in a place that knew so much death. I don't feel it is disrespectful, and frankly, I think it is wrong for us to judge this man. He lived through it, we have only read about it. If he chose to spit on the grounds or dance or cry or laugh... he has certainly earned the right to do so without the armchair critics attacking him or his family.

He seems like an incredible man who is intensely loved by his sweet family. I wish him a long and happy life, G-d willing. There are actually three videos in this series. I recommend them all. In the third, he goes back to the time in his mind and recalls the conversations they had with passing villagers while piled into the box cars, conveying them to their death.

Here are the videos:

I would like to thank the Academy...

Not really...

But I do want to thank my friend Matthue Roth for his kind words! He blogged here and here about his article on The Future of Judaism at Patheos.

And in the process... said this about me:
A few weeks ago, Talia Davis wrote to a bunch of Jewish techy and thinky folks and asked us what we thought about the future of Judaism. Talia is the force of nature behind the religion blog’s Jewish site, and when she chops down a tree, we hear it.
Aww! :) I feel special now. Thanks Matthue!


Is this the future Israeli Jewish women are doomed to live?

For a long time Women of the Wall has been a flash point in Israel and it has finally bubbled up and almost over.

Anat Hoffman, leader of the group Women of the Wall, was just arrested for carrying a Torah near the Kotel, the Western Wall.

These women have been beaten for having strap marks on their arm from Tefillin. Not even people witnessing them wearing it, just the leftover marks.

Would a stone by any other name, mean the same thing?

I was struck (no, not literally) by an image I recently came across on Flickr. It was of Palestinian men collecting rocks... well these were rocks on steroids, huge chunks of concrete, to hurl at Israeli soldiers and settlers who might wander down their streets.

Comparisons to Hitler

One of the Patheos guys has been writing a series on the Tea Party and different implications of it. (To read his great, albeit right leaning, perspectives on the Tea Party click here.)

In this last article, I was linked to some pictures of when Bush was in power. Now I am NOT a Bush fan and I did vote for Obama... It doesn't mean that I think Obama is the messiah or anything but I realized a couple of things looking at these pictures.

1. It doesn't matter what side of the aisle you are on... when your guy isn't in power and you don't like it, you get hateful (and that you is the broader "you).

2. It doesn't matter if it is 2003 or 2010... they are still after the Jews. I don't know why we have this target tattooed on our foreheads. I don't know why people who like to demonstrate hate Israel and the Jews (or why they can't learn to spell... is IsrAEl not IsrEAl) but there it is.

Recently, I did an interview with Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi about the future of Judaism. Reb Bahir posed the question to him, currently Jews make up a very small portion of the population. Do you think we will grow or shrink? Reb Zalman said, "How big is your gall bladder? But you have to have it, right? What about the pituitary gland?"

Point taken. We are all vital parts to the society and trying to kill the Jews just because we are Jewish isn't right. Period.

The Bonds of Sisterhood

I don't know if I can say that I was never a joiner... really I felt like I was always on the outskirts of the groups I was in... Cheerleading, Drama Club, Youth Group... but I was always looking for some broader connection. I think a lot of this came from my family. When I was very little we lived with my grandparents but as I got older, my dad found work away from the Northeast and we were our own unit. My aunts and uncles didn't visit and my mom's family was just significantly older. My best friends were my closest family, my parents and brother. But I always wanted sisters and I wanted to be a part of something bigger than me.

I just returned from the 74th biennial Gamma Phi Beta convention. There were 850 women present who were MY sisters. I didn't meet all of them but if I ended up by the pool, in an elevator, or on a bus to Harry Potter world with one (or 10) of them, we always had something in common to talk about. Not only am I a part of something bigger than my small unit, I am a leader in that bigger picture. I take pride in the women who I call MY girls. They have adopted me as a big sister, mom, mentor, and annoying adult who interferes sometimes. And I am so thankful for those women. (GO BETA RHO!) :)

I find myself still searching because I am looking for that bigger picture with my faith as well but the connection I find within Gamma Phi Beta is a special one. No matter where I go in the world, there is a good chance that one of my 170,000 sisters is probably there and took a picture with any crescent moon present!

I joined Gamma Phi Beta at Jacksonville University to connect to something bigger than myself, bigger than the theatre department. It wasn't always easy (being a collegian never is) but it has paid off in spades. Recently, I met my fourth little legacy/faux niece and we are waiting on number five any day! I have a group of women I graduated with whom I call my dearest sisters and who will serve as my children's aunties, as I never had any blood sisters. I have cried on their shoulders, attended their weddings, held their babies, and inducted their husbands into our boy club. I met women from all over the US and Canada that shared my love of pink, crescents, and carnations last weekend, many of whom I will stay in touch with for the next two years until I see them again at our 2012 convention in DENVER. Which, by the way, will be our 75th.

I honestly don't know what Frances E. Haven, Mary A. Bingham, E. Adeline Curtis, or Helen M. Dodge were thinking when, in 1874 they decided not to be Alpha Phi's and create Gamma Phi Beta. We can guess and wonder and I am sure they could never have envisioned what GPhi looks like today but I am SO thankful for our founders.

Dear Pop. A Letter From My Father to His.


I asked my father, Rebahir Davis, to write a piece about how his father inspired his Judaism for Patheos. His response was overwhelming to me as it brought back a flood of memories of my grandfather. However, it also gives a beautiful insight into the evolution of Judaism. 

Please take a minute to read it here - - comment on the article, share on Facebook or Twitter, etc. Thanks!