Jewish Journal

Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben

  • Five Steps to an Ethical-Action Child

    February 26, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Everything teaches something. Here are five ways to help your children develop an ethical-action consciousness in their everyday lives.

    First, be an ethical-action cheerleader and acknowledge your children's positive behavior. Few learning experiences are as effective as being...

  • Leaving Mitzrayim

    March 28, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    It was my third seder of the week, but this one was unlike any other. It was a "Seder of Women's Voices," and I felt privileged to be one of the few men in the room among a 150 or so women. At one point during the evening, the woman sitting next to me casually turned and asked me a...

  • A Look Back

    December 20, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    When I was 16, my family moved from Santa Monica to Sacramento. I had just finished my first year at Santa Monica High School and had been selected to play drums with the school's jazz band in the Hollywood Bowl (which I did the night before we moved). I was certainly not looking...

  • From the Heart

    September 13, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Sometimes life seems overwhelming.

    For some, it's the stress of coping with raising their children in an apparently amoral world. For others, it is learning how to live each day in spite of enormous challenges to our bodies and our health. For others still, it is the experience of...

  • Universal Truths

    February 15, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    The words we find in this week's parasha have undoubtedly influenced more individuals in the Western world than any other in the entire Torah. They are called in Hebrew aseret hadibrot (the ten utterances), but most people know them simply as the Ten Commandments.

    They have provided...

  • Sibling Rivalry

    December 14, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    I have three sisters, two older and one younger. My youngest sister, Debbie, was born when I was 8 years old. In the months leading up to her birth, I remember clearly the anxiety I felt over the possibility that it might turn out to be a boy and I might end up with a brother.


  • The Ten Most Important Things to Teach Your Child

    November 30, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    "Parenting is the scariest job I have ever had," a father told me last month as he stood proudly watching his child participate in the "Moving On" ceremony of my synagogue's Early Childhood Center. "With little or no preparation at all, you are thrown headfirst into the role of...

  • The Oldest Diary

    October 5, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    There is something otherworldly about the experience of a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. It is perhaps the preeminent spiritual-cultural paradox in all of Jewish life. When girls and boys focus so intensely on this personal lifecycle event, each possesses a transcendent, timeless and eternal...
  • The Power of Words

    August 3, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    When John woke up that Sunday morning and could neither move nor speak, he realized that something terrible had happened. Somehow during the night he had suffered a stroke. He struggled in a panic to get out of bed and succeeded merely in rolling off and landing in an awkward sprawl...

  • Torah Portion-Standing Up

    June 1, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    I could hardly believe it. There I was standing in front of a tiny prison cell in the maximum security prison on Robben Island, nestled quietly in the harbor of Cape Town, South Africa. I stood in silence, staring at the cell with its three rough wool blankets, its one lonely wooden...

  • The Reality of Desert Life

    April 13, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Draped in a deep, earthen-red shukah, adorned with circles of brightly beaded necklaces and head-to-toe with body paint made from ochre and sheep fat, the Masai warrior keeps a silent vigil in the midst of the relentless equatorial heat of East Africa. His life is a mission from his...
  • A Mixed Multitude

    February 24, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    I am writing this column while sitting in an Internet cafe in San Jose, Costa Rica. This Shabbat I will be officiating at the bar mitzvah of Eduardo Lev, a 13-year-old Costa Rican Jew whose parents are members of Congregacion B'nei Israel, the only liberal synagogue in the country....
  • Wishing

    January 6, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    "Don't wish for fish, fish for fish." These words of sage advice were taught to me by my Grandpa Manny. He was a man of action. He was filled with exuberance for life with a twinkle in his eye and a word of encouragement and inspiration for everyone.

    Grandpa Manny was the one who...

  • Right Place, Right Time

    November 18, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    I remember how foolish I felt at first. There we were, my wife Didi and I, creeping around at midnight, quietly threading our way through low shrubs and overhanging trees where the beach met the foliage about twenty yards from the water. It was nearly pitch dark with only the light...
  • The Power of Gratitude

    September 30, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Three months ago, at age 19, my daughter made a decision that has changed her life forever. All of us make them, although often we have no idea at the time just how profoundly we will be changed.

    For me, it happened at age 20, right before my junior year of college, when I suddenly...

  • Justice, Justice for All

    August 12, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    When I was a junior in college, I spent the year in Jerusalem, studying at the Hebrew University. That year in Israel, more than any other single experience, determined the direction my life would take. I found myself taking every Judaic studies class I could, and I loved them so...
  • Lessons in Leadership

    June 24, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    When I was 16, I was elected president of my synagogue youth group. I will never forget that feeling of euphoria that accompanied the victory. But I also remember how I felt the very next day after the excitement and thrill of the victory had already started to wear off. I was...
  • Stand Up To Be Counted

    May 13, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    A young woman called, asking if I would be willing to visit with her 95-year-old grandmother. She seemed to be slipping away from life more and more each day, and had been asking to speak with a rabbi. I didn't know the woman or her family, but I figured anyone who lives to be 95...

  • ‘Build Me a Sanctuary’

    February 18, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    We still don't like to talk about it much. The idea of Jewish domestic violence makes most of us nervous. Whenever I mention it to my congregation, people seem to furtively look around as if I am revealing a family secret and one of the neighbors might be listening at the door....

  • Ice Cream or Bread?

    February 4, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    I remember the argument like it was yesterday. There I was, a 10-year-old kid growing up in a Reform congregation in Santa Monica, arguing with my best friend (another 10-year-old from the same synagogue) about the laws of kashrut for Pesach. Well, actually, the argument was really...

  • A Divine Voice

    January 7, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    God spoke to me once when I was 12 years old. Although it happened years ago, I remember it as clearly as if it were today. Revelation is a tricky thing. I am reminded of the Midrash that when God gave the commandments at Mt. Sinai, God speaks to the Children of Israel in a divine...
  • Climbing Jacob’s Ladder

    November 26, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    When I was 16, my family picked up and moved from Santa Monica, where I had been born and raised, to Sacramento. The move came on the heels of the best and most exciting year of my life. My first year of high school had been an amazing whirl of new and old friends, educational...

  • Moses’ Musical, Poetic Ethical Will

    October 1, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    One of my favorite things to do is write children's songs. Over the years, I have written lots of innocuous little ditties for kids as a way of teaching them about Jewish holidays and rituals, ethics and values, and how to treat families and friends. Long ago, when I was just...
  • Parenting by Example

    September 3, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    I remember how amazed I was by the story. Tom and Pauline Nichter and their 11-year-old son, Jason, were on the nightly news, speaking with reporters from the police station. They had found a lost wallet on the street; it contained more than $2,000 in cash, a credit card, a passport...

  • Torah Portion

    August 7, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Parenting Instructions

    By Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, Ph.D.

    Ever since my book "Children of Character -- Leading Your Children to Ethical Choices in Everyday Life," was published last year, I have been frenetically...

  • Torah Portion

    July 2, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Water and Women: The Sustenance of Life

    By Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben

    I grew up the only boy in a family with three girls. Although this definitely didn't make me an expert on women, it did give me a firsthand knowledge of how women...

  • Torah Portion

    May 21, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    I grew up as a hyperactive child. Of course, noone ever called it that at the time. They didn't yet have suchclinical labels for every childhood behavioral challenge.

    I was just considered to be a problem child. Icouldn't sit still in class and I was constantly (read: daily)getting...

  • Torah Portion

    April 2, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    A few summers ago, we went on a driving trip tothe Grand Canyon. I remember one particular day, as I stood near sometourists high up on the edge of the canyon, and looked down into adeep and beautiful gorge that seemed to stretch on forever. Amid allthe "Oohs" and "Aahs," I overheard...