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Category Archives: From the Rabbi
Please join us as we celebrate the new Hebrew month of Kislev on Monday, November 4, at the home of Julie Zieff. Come for food, study, conversation and fun! For directions and RSVP, please contact Deb Vozella in the office at 978-927-3211, ext. 14, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Sunday the second grade class, along with a few adults, picked tomatoes and cucumbers from our garden for Beverly Bootstraps. They also had a chance to sample some of the harvest – and it was delicious! Over the summer produce was also used for our Monday Night Suppers at The First Baptist Church. Thank you to all who planted, weeded, picked and donated – especially Jim Younger, Ruth Helman, Sandy Friedberg, Chuck Hirshberg, Sarazita Freedland, Jason, Miranda and Allegra Breitkopf, Kim Valkenaar, Louise Oram, Tiffany Young and Phil Freed. We look forward to next year!
“Before the white head (a person with white hair from old age) you should rise.” (Leviticus, 19:32) The High Holidays inspired me to feel even more gratitude than usual for the elders in our community. We witnessed some of them read haftarah, call the notes of the shofar, have aliyot, and volunteer as ushers. Others were conspicuously absent from our sanctuary on those holy days, either because they were too ill to attend or have passed away. We feel and acknowledge their absence. Deb Vozella recently told me about her practice of closing her eyes to really take in the voices of our older members as they daven (pray) in order to appreciate their presence in her life and in the life of TBA. Their voices, with traditional Ashkenazic Hebrew, have the power to stir our souls. Examples of Ashkenazic Hebrew are Shabbes (instead of Shabbat) or bas mitzvah (instead of bat mitzvah). The Ashkenazic pronunciation was used by Jews of Eastern and Central Europe. Sephardic pronunciation was used by Jews of Mediterranean regions, including Spain, Greece and North Africa. Ashkenazic Hebrew was more common in American synagogues until the middle of the 20th century. After 1948, there was a shift … Continue reading
Please join us as we celebrate the new Hebrew month of Cheshvan on Monday, October 7, at the home of Deb Vozella. The theme this month is ethical wills. We will reflect on our lives and the values we pass down to others. Please join us for food, study, conversation and fun! For directions and RSVP, please contact Deb in the office at 978-927-3211, ext. 14, or at email@example.com.
I’m very happy to report that, as I’ve grown older, I’ve become increasingly grateful to my parents. I’m happy to report it because, as most of you know, I am myself the parent of a boy named Leo, who, though very affectionate for a three-year-old, doesn’t often take the trouble to thank his mommy and daddy. I mean, can you believe that our sweet little toddler has never once thanked us for making sure he always gets enough vitamin B-12; or that he doesn’t watch videos that are inappropriate for a kid his age; or even for paying his pre-school tuition, which ain’t cheap. In fact, he doesn’t even remember to thank us for dessert unless we remind him. But, as the years pass, I realize how much I once took my parents for granted; so maybe, someday, Leo will realize it, too. The fact is, each year, I think of something new to thank my parents for; this year, for instance, I thanked them for Kenyon College. Kenyon is my alma mater – a small, liberal arts college perched on an idyllic hilltop in central Ohio. Its campus is often listed as one of the most beautiful in the … Continue reading
Well, as you all know, Yom Kippur is a day for confessing our sins. And while I – like nearly everyone, I should think – usually prefer to confess as discreetly as possible, I’m going to confess something publically this evening. The thing is, I discovered I’m guilty of a sin of which I never, ever would have considered myself capable: I am a bully. I never would have considered myself capable of it because, for one thing . . . look at me! I’ve always thought of bullies as huge, hulking figures – you know, like Bluto in those old Popeye cartoons. What I forgot was, there’s someone in my life who regards me as big and strong: Little Leo, my three year old son, who measures every bit of 39 inches tall. Now, please – nobody call 911. When I say I’ve been bullying Leo, I don’t mean that I’ve been yelling at him, or, God forbid, spanking him. What I’ve been doing is rushing him. I first became aware of my sin after reading a beautiful essay that has been making the rounds on Facebook lately. It was written by Rachel Macy Stafford, a blogger and author … Continue reading
To me, one of the best things about Rosh Hashanah is, believe it or not, honey. Could there be a better a symbol of good fortune than honey – with its translucent golden color, its rich, luscious texture and, of course, its flavor of sweet perfection? It’s no wonder that the splendid taste of apples and honey, and challah and honey, are symbols of our hope for a sweet new year. In truth, there is a great deal of symbolism in many of the foods we eat on this day. As most of you know, the challah loaves that we serve on Rosh Hashanah are traditionally not braided as they are the rest of the year. Instead, the dough is formed into round spirals, which symbolize the circling seasons of time and of creation – for Rosh Hashanah is the birthday of both. But many people don’t know that there are other symbolic foods – quite a few of them, really — that some Jews traditionally eat on the New Year. In the Talmud, the fourth-century Babylonian rabbi, Abaye, tells us that, at the beginning of each year, we should make it our practice to eat each of the following: … Continue reading