Under the Kippah • Thoughts from the Jewish Chaplain

Welcome to the “Under the Kippah” blog, featuring posts from the Jewish chaplain to Williams College.

You can contact Rabbi Seth with any questions or comments at [email protected].

An Extra Soul

I’ve been thinking this week about the Torah of new beginnings. It’s a new semester, a new beginning for all of you and all of your professors. And tonight marks a new beginning for me, too, the beginning of a new chapter for me at Williams. The poet… Continue reading »

Gratitude to Cantor Bob – and blog transitions

Cantor Bob Scherr served as Jewish chaplain to Williams College for fourteen years. During many of those years I knew him as one of my Wednesday morning hevruta (text-study-friendship) partners at the coffee shop on Spring Street. As a study partner he is wise, thoughtful, and kind. I know that he brought those same… Continue reading »

Passover Thoughts

Shalom Chaverim: I hope that vacation has brought you rest and renewal, and that wherever you are, you are experiencing some “spring” in your break.  Much of the snow has melted in Williamstown, but no one will confuse us with Florida these days. On the threshold of Pesach, I’ve been thinking about… Continue reading »

A Purim Message

Chaverim: There is a lot to be afraid of in the world today.  It seems every day we pick up a newspaper (uh…at least those of us who still read paper papers) to see that people are under attack simply for being who they are.  Christians are rounded up as minority citizens,… Continue reading »

Reaching Out to Comfort

Shalom Chaverim: Events of the world have presented us another challenge this week. When three young Muslim people were murdered in Charlotte, NC, as our stomachs turned, we wondered , Is this yet another hate crime? While we don’t know the details of motivation, we know that the innocent lives… Continue reading »

Our Hanuka Story

Hanuka has many meanings for many people.  For some, it’s all about the latkes; for others, it’s all about candles and songs from childhood.  We don’t usually tell children the details about this tense chapter in Jewish history, when the pro-Hellenists and the anti-Hellenists engaged in a civil war that threatened Jewish… Continue reading »

Shabbat in a Challenging Week

My Friends: Probably like you, my heart ached this week when I heard that senseless violence had struck innocent people at prayer.  I kept thinking that a tallit often feels to me like a uniform, that helps keep me in focus, that protects me from wandering attention.  The Torah tells us that the… Continue reading »

Guide to Yom Kippur 2014

How to make this the most meaningful Yom Kippur ever! NOTE:  KOL NIDRE SERVICES BEGIN AT 6:15 Why do we fast?  The Torah tells us, v’initem et nafshotechem—repress your instincts.  We often eat without thinking.  So we take one day… Continue reading »

Shana Tova: A Good New Year

Chaverim (Friends): A High Holy Days midrash tells of a prince who runs away after an argument with his parents. After many years, scouts of the anguished king and queen find their son, now a peasant in a far corner of the kingdom.  He says that he has forgotten how to… Continue reading »