An Ancient Call


In working on my book about “kosher” backpacking, one thing stands out – Judaism isn’t really big on the outdoors.  Even Sukkot, which to me screams “outdoor holiday,” is commoditized and safely packaged, even among the Ultra-Orthodox.  Sure, there’s camp, but take your kids to one, and it’s not about outdoor adventure.  It’s about Zionism,

Staying Warm


“…a regular snowstorm has commenced, fine flakes falling steadily, and rapidly whitening all the landscape. In half an hour the russet earth is painted white even to the horizon. Do we know of any other so silent and sudden a change?” Thoreau Leah and I decided to rename our property עץ קר, or “cold tree”,

On Nebulous Religious Identities


Hempfield School District in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, made national news recently, and not in a good way. Before I continue, both of my parents, my uncles, my aunts, most of my cousins, all graduated from Hempfield School District.  My nephew presently is a student in the district.  Many of my friends, non-Jewish and Jewish alike,

On Suicide Hotline Posts


A number of friends have, more than likely with good intentions, posted a viral social media message with a suicide hotline attached. I won’t repost it.  To me it’s representative of the detached engagement we have from our fellow humans in spite of our “connectedness.”  Our generic ministrations only highlight the lack of an immediate,

On Veterans Day and Elections


I posted this on social media: …I don’t want anything after Tuesday anyway. I want everyone to think about these kids putting on the uniform now, for the first time. They’re so proud, so eager to serve this nation. In the wake of this divisive election, while we’re still talking about bigotry and stupidity, kids

Yanni, or I Miss My Dog


Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s most famous poem came to mind recently.  Laugh, and the world laughs with you, or something like that, cry, and you cry alone.  Grief has been bad.  It’s been isolating, I think, for all of us. I took Herschel to the vet on Friday.  He tried so hard to pretend to be

Seeing Things in the Woods


The cougar sighting appears in my forthcoming book, THE KOSHER BACKPACKER, a self-help book on being an observantly Jewish outdoors enthusiast.. In 2002 or 2003, I saw a cougar in the Adirondacks. Max, my black Labrador Retriever, and I were coming down Bennies Brook Slide from Lower Wolf Jaw, and in the middle of the

A Shabbos Prayer


Tevye and Golde sang: “May the Lord protect and defend you. May He always shield you from shame. May you come to be In Yisroel a shining name.” When it’s just us in the car, Amelia demands Manilow. There’s something disconcerting about a 12-year-old who likes Lorde and Pink and whatever else is contemporary singing

About Brian

Brian Kresge

Brian Kresge

Writer, President of Bangor's Congregation Beth Israel, soldier, programmer, father, musician, Heeb, living in the woods of Maine with three ladies and a dog.

About Leah

Leah Kresge

Leah Kresge

Director of Education for Congregation Beth Israel in Bangor, Maine, special educator and former school board member, mother to Amelia and Nezzie.

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