As we tip over from the mad rush of December and prepare to ease into another year, I like to take a minute to appreciate the hush and calm that comes after the rush and bustle of various holidays.
This week after New Year I like to take a few moments to pause and regroup before diving into the new year. A chance to take stock, reflect, and think.
And so I’ve held off until now to officially promote the fruit of a few of my labors. If your resolutions for 2016 include making time for thought-provoking reading that doesn’t break your stretched-too-far-after-all-those-gifts budget, I want you to know that over at my other blog, EdibleTorah, we now have 4 ebooks for you to choose from. Each one of them is available for Kindle (on Amazon), Nook (on Barnes&Noble) and also as a free PDF download.
“The Edible Torah”
“The Edible Torah” was my first ebook, and it lays out the why and how of hosting a pot-luck Shabbat experience. It remains one of the things I am most proud of, simply because I was able to put pen to paper and get it created in the first place.
The Condensed Guide to the Weekly Torah Readings
This book came out shortly after The Edible Torah, but was almost done on a dare from my good friend Jeff Fink. He challenged me by saying that there were innumerable commentaries and summaries of the weekly Torah portion but he had never found something concise enough to use as a quick reference, let along get the sense of the ark of the narratives. He all but threw down the gauntlet and challenged me to do something with the 7 years’ worth of EdibleTorah invitations.
The next weekend, I had the book more or less sketched out. A week later, it was published.
“Technically, These Are Some Random Thoughts”
Around September every year, Jews all over the world celebrate Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. However, it’s not – to put it in business terms – a year-end review. It’s a job interview. the month before Rosh Hashana (called “Elul” in Hebrew) is the time for getting one’s balance sheet in order. To help with that, a bunch of folks from all walks of life participate in #BlogElul: A daily prompt provides the theme and people riff on that – sometimes a few hundred words, sometimes an image, sometimes a poem or just a single sentence. It’s something I’ve done for a few years now. I thought I’d add a twist and also do an I.T. Professional’s version of #BlogElul and post the essays on my technology-specific blog: http://www.adatosystems.com. A reflection on each of the daily prompts and what they mean in an I.T. context. You’re probably thinking “Leon, this is a Jewish thing and completely outside the scope of my experience or interest as an I.T. Professional.” To which I emphatically reply: Yes and no. If you have worked in I.T. for more than 15 minutes, you’ve likely been involved in a large development project, system roll-out, or upgrade. And as the date for the big cut-over approaches, there are usually daily status updates. Consider this the notes from my status updates before the roll-out of “TheWorld v.5776”.
“Echoes of Elul”
Back in 2009, I wrote an essay titled “Interview Season” where I shared my thoughts on what the Yomim Noraim (Days of Awe) meant to me. Some time later Rabbi Phyllis Sommer began her now-famous “BlogElul” writing challenge. The idea of #BlogElul resonated with the thoughts I had put down in my essay, so I was inspired to participate that year, and each year since.
With a few years under my belt, I decided it was time to bundle up those efforts into this anthology.